It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Philadelphia Flyers finally have a win in March after losing their first four games of the month. The penalty kill unit made a positive impact, for a change of pace, on the Flyers 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Flyers may have had an early advantage in shots on goal, but it was the Jets who were getting the quality scoring chances. Petr Mrazek was on his game early and kept the Jets off the board with some big saves including robbing Patrik Laine with his glove in the first period and stopping two shots on a 3-on-1 rush early in the second period.
A few moments after the Mrazek’s huge denial of the odd man rush, the Flyers opened the scoring at 5:40 of the second period. The Flyers had an extra attacker on the ice due to a delayed penalty and Claude Giroux fired a wrist shot from left dot through a Wayne Simmonds screen and past Connor Hellebuyck. Valtteri Filppula and Simmonds had the assists on the captain’s 24th goal of the season.
Less than three minutes later, Andrew MacDonald doubled the Flyers lead with his fifth goal on the year. MacDonald got to a puck off the end boards and fired a backhand that looked as if Hellebuyck kept out with his glove. Play continued for nearly a minute before the shot could be reviewed and clearly seen going over the goal line. Nolan Patrick and Jakub Voracek picked up the helpers on the play.
The Flyers penalty kill has been brutal for much of the season, but they stepped up big time by killing off back-to-back penalties after the MacDonald goal and keeping Winnipeg off the board heading into the second intermission.
The Flyers continued to play with fire by giving the Jets two more power play chances during the first half of the frame and Patrik Laine finally made them pay at the 8:58 mark. Laine went to his “office” at the left dot a blasted home a one-timer for his 40th goal on the year.
The Flyers were able to hang on for the final 11 minutes of the game with Mrazek making 27 saves in the victory. The power play did not look good in going 0-for-4, but the penalty kill had one of its best days in a long time, even with the goal allowed to Laine.
The Flyers will be back in action on Monday night when they host the Vegas Golden Knights.