Fourth-line left winger Tyrell Goulbourne made his presence felt in his initial NHL shift Saturday afternoon, delivering a crunching check that led to the first goal in the Flyers’6-3 win over St. Louis at the Wells Fargo Center.
The play set up Scott Laughton’s early goal and set the tone. The Flyers swarmed the net for a good part of the afternoon and won for the third time in their last four games.
“That great. That’s what we need from a guy like that,” winger Jordan Weal said of Goulbourne, his former teammate with the AHL’s Phantoms. “He’s a physical presence. I played with him in Allentown last year, and when he’s running around throwing his weight and creating havoc, it just gets the whole bench and the whole arena going.”
Laughton, Claude Giroux, Weal, Sean Couturier (two), and Wayne Simmonds scored for the Flyers, who host Buffalo in a Sunday matinee before an NHL-mandated break keeps them from practicing again until Friday.
Giroux, who also contributed a pair of assists, had his 10th multiple-point performance in his last 19 games.
St. Louis got to within 4-2 when Paul Stastny took a one-handed pass from Vladimir Tarasenko and scored just 12 seconds into the third period. But Simmonds secured the win with a power-play goal as he directed Shayne Gostisbehere’s point drive with 8 minutes, 42 seconds remaining.
The Blues pulled their goalie with a little more than five minutes left and got to within 5-3 on Colton Parayko’s goal with 4:31 to go. The Flyers then missed a half-dozen shots at the empty net before Couturier scored with 14.9 seconds left.
Goulbourne, recalled from the Phantoms, leveled 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman Alex Pietrangelo with his second check of his first shift, and Laughton picked up the loose puck and beat Jake Allen to the short side with 17:45 left in the first period.
“I just saw the puck underneath his feet and tried to knock him over,” said the 5-11, 195-pound Goulbourne, whose mother, aunt, and girlfriend traveled from Edmonton to watch his NHL debut. “I wasn’t really worried about the puck there. I just wanted to get that first hit under me.”
Goulbourne (team-high four hits in 5:23), who actually checked 6-4, 206-pound Jay Bouwmeester into the boards earlier in the shift, said he had dreamed of playing in the NHL since he was 5 years old.
“It was amazing. I can’t really explain how it felt. I was scared before the game,” he said with a smile. “My legs were shaking. It felt really good after the first hit.”
About 4½ minutes after Laughton’s goal, Giroux made it 2-0 on a bizarre tally that bounced off the butt of falling defenseman Parayko. Giroux was attempting to make a saucer pass to Travis Konecny on a two-on-one.
The Flyers took a 2-0 lead into the second period. It marked just the second time in the last 21 games they had a lead after the opening 20 minutes.
Weal scored on a power move after taking a slick pass from the NHL’s assist leader, Jake Voracek, to push the Flyers lead to 3-0 with 11:28 remaining in the second. A little more than three minutes later, Couturier redirected a terrific feed from Giroux as the Flyers scored on a rush against former teammate Brayden Schenn’s line.
“We finished a lot of great plays,” goalie Brian Elliott said after stopping 28 of 31 shots while making his 16th straight start. “I mean, there was some pretty puck plays out there. Sometimes the puck’s not bouncing your way and they don’t land on your sticks. Tonight they did and we were able to put them home.”
Couturier, whose career high entering this season was 15 goals, has 21 goals in 41 games.
“I’ll take the win any day I can instead of the goals,” Couturier said.
Couturier has 40 points, one more than his previous career best. … .Long-time public-address announcer Lou Nolan, who has been with the Flyers in some capacity since their inception in 1967, will receive a special achievement award at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association’s 114th annual banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill on Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. For honorees and ticket information, go to www.phillysportswriters.com.