ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — When Wayne Simmonds beat the clock and tied the Anaheim Ducks with a clutch goal, the Philadelphia Flyers looked ready to end their lengthy road slump in an unlikely arena.
Instead, the Ducks regrouped and climbed back atop the NHL standings.
Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry scored in the shootout, and Anaheim rebounded from Simmonds’ late goal for a 5-4 victory over the spiraling Flyers on Wednesday night.
Frederik Andersen made 31 saves, and Patrick Maroon scored in the third period for the Ducks, who pulled even with Tampa Bay in the overall standings with their fifth win in seven games.
Anaheim made it awfully tough, however.
After the Ducks rallied from a 3-1 deficit and took the lead on Maroon’s power-play goal against his former organization with 5:02 left, Devante Smith-Pelly fanned on the puck in front of an empty net before Simmonds scored his second goal with 2.6 seconds left in regulation.
“We were one second away from the full two points, but we battled hard tonight,” Perry said. “There were a lot of guys who stepped up and made big plays for us.”
Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for Anaheim, which erased that two-goal deficit while the clubs combined for six goals in an entertaining second period.
Maroon then scored his second goal of the season on a quick shot off Perry’s rebound, ending the Ducks’ 0-for-19 power-play drought.
“It feels good getting that one, especially against those guys,” said Maroon, the former Flyers farmhand who was abruptly shipped to Anaheim in a 2010 trade. “We’ve been going hard through it. We’ve been battling. That’s what brings us together as a team.”
But a few moments after Smith-Pelly couldn’t put a bouncing puck in an empty net, Simmonds followed his own shot and knocked it in, celebrating flat on his back.
“We’re playing better hockey, (and) we’re going to start picking up more points as things go along if we keep playing this way,” Simmonds said. “Guys did a great job battling. The puck was kicked off to the side, and I was lucky enough for it to find my stick.”
Michael Raffl and R.J. Umberger also scored in the second period for Philadelphia, which has lost six straight for the first time since October 2008.
Steve Mason stopped 29 shots in Philadelphia’s second straight heartbreaker following a last-minute loss in San Jose one night earlier. The Flyers lost their ninth consecutive road game and ninth straight shootout when Frederik Andersen stopped Claude Giroux in the third round.
“Moments like these, we’ve got to stick together as a team and find the positive things,” Umberger said. “Tonight we kept battling against a desperate team in its building. We didn’t quit. This is going to be good for our confidence.”
Vincent Lecavalier was a healthy scratch by the Flyers for the second straight game — and just the second time in his 16-season NHL career. The Stanley Cup champion and Richard Trophy winner with Tampa Bay is in a 12-game goal drought with just two assists since Nov. 1.
After a rare day of steady rain in Orange County, both teams seemed bogged down at the start, managing just four shots apiece in the somnolent first period.
Just 32 seconds after Umberger put the Flyers up 3-1 with his first goal in 18 games since Oct. 22, Getzlaf blistered a wrist shot past Mason. Vatanen then tied it in the final minute, sweeping in from behind with a backhand for his seventh goal.
NOTES: Ducks D Eric Brewer will be out 4-6 weeks after breaking his foot. Anaheim activated D Clayton Stoner, who missed five games with mumps. … Igor Bobkov served as Andersen’s backup for the second straight game with Jason LaBarbera sidelined by an upper-body injury. The Ducks brought in Ilya Bryzgalov, their backup goalie on the 2007 Stanley Cup title team, on a pro tryout. … Andersen got an assist on Fowler’s goal for his first point of the season.
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