PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wayne Simmonds scored the tying goal in regulation and had the winner in the shootout to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad and Philadelphia’s Jake Voracek each scored on the opening shots of the tiebreaker.
Neither team scored in the next three rounds. Simmonds then punched in the winner against Craig Anderson to give the Flyers their first shootout victory in six tries this season. The Flyers had lost 10 straight shootouts overall.
Mike Hoffman faked out defenseman Mark Streit in the circle and put a shot past Steve Mason to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead 6:36 into the third period.
Simmonds scored his 16th goal just 1:23 later, this one from Streit and Claude Giroux on the power play.
The Senators outshot the Flyers 42-34 through overtime.
The lone highlight until Hoffman’s goal came in the second when Simmonds fought Ottawa forward Colin Greening in a lengthy bout that sent helmets flying and woke up a lethargic crowd.
The Flyers returned home from a 3-4-1 road trip in which they lost the last five and were 10 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has blamed the malaise on the players and said this week, “we’re probably not far from the point where if we don’t get it going we’re going to have to start thinking about some things.”
For now, coach Craig Berube seems safe even though his seat on the bench just might be warming up as their struggles continue. Berube said he tuned out the criticism, and joked before Tuesday’s game that he “put muzzles” on his kids to keep them from discussing his job status at home.
The Flyers hoped to get a lift from the return of Giroux (13 goals; 44 points) following a one-game absence caused by an injured ankle. Giroux’s left ankle was sliced Friday night by Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. That ended the Flyers captain’s streak of 168 consecutive games played.
Giroux wasn’t the only Flyers player affected by an errant skate. Brayden Schenn appeared to take a skate to the face from Simmonds after they crashed into the boards and missed the final 6 minutes of the second period.
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