Brayden Schenn scored twice and added an assist while Wayne Simmonds had a goal and two helpers as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The seven goals tied a season-high for the Flyers.
With the loss, Detroit has just one win in its last five and the Boston Bruins now trail them by just three points for third spot in the Atlantic Division.
Philly snaps a four-game losing skid with the win and trails Washington by 10 points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Zac Rinaldo had a goal and an assist while Nicklas Grossmann, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Read had the goals for Philly.
Claude Giroux had two assists in the win. Steve Mason improved to 14-15-10 with a 31 save performance.
Justin Abdelkader and Erik Cole had the Wings goals while Jimmy Howard stopped 29 shots in the loss.
It’s too early for any one game to mathematically eliminate the Philadelphia Flyers from the playoff race, but from a practical standpoint they’re holding on by a thread. With the trade deadline just around the corner, the Flyers earned a desperately needed 4-2 victory against the New York Rangers.
Philadelphia’s Matt Read struck first by playing hard at both ends of the ice, but the Flyers’ lead only lasted 24 seconds before J.T. Miller even the contest. The squads traded goals again in a relatively short amount of time in the second period before Michael Del Zotto turned the tide permanently early in the third frame.
In his first start since returning from knee surgery, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason stopped 34 of 36 shots. With the Flyers up by one, Mason stood tall against a Rangers’ onslaught to preserve the lead.
The Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers each won today, which put pressure on the Flyers to do the same just to keep pace with the two squads ahead of them in the playoff race. Philadelphia is still six points shy of a postseason spot though and have just 19 games left to close that gap.
Tonight’s game between the Flyers and New York Rangers is important for both teams, but it’s vital for Philadelphia. The squad is eight points back in the Wild Card race and needs two points out of this contest to at least keep pace with the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers, which both won earlier today.
Under those circumstances, Matt Read made a great defensive play that led to a hard-fought scoring chance at the other end of the ice he was able to capitalize on. That provided Philadelphia with a 1-0 lead just 9:42 minutes into the contest.
Philadelphia didn’t get any momentum from that play though as J.T. Miller evened the contest just 24 seconds later.
That was Miller’s sixth goal in 37 games this season and his first in 2015.
The game remained tied going into the first intermission.
Michael Raffl had the game winner as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Sunday night.
With the win Philly now has points in nine straight (6-0-3). Buffalo has just one win in its last five after snapping a franchise-worst 14-game losing streak on Feb. 3.
Philadelphia moves to within five points of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Matt Read opened the scoring with his fifth of the season at 3:19 of the first period.
Nikita Zadorov tied it 1-1, on a Buffalo power play, at 13:57 of the second period.
Zach Bogosian made his Sabres debut Sunday. He finished with a Buffalo season-high 11 hits, two blocked shots and a team-leading 24:49 of ice time in the loss.
Ray Emery made 21 saves improving to 10-9-3 on the season.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 28 shots in the loss.
The Philadelphia Flyers lost again this afternoon, falling 7-4 on the road to the New York Islanders.
Based on the box score, the line of Sean Couturier between wingers Matt Read and R.J. Umberger had a particularly tough outing. Couturier and Read each finished minus-5; Umberger was minus-4.
Now, granted, plus-minus is an extremely flawed stat; however, when a trio is that deep in the red, it’s going to be a topic of conversation. (And that it was on Twitter.) The line also had poor Corsi numbers, and in the non-statistical department, left coach Craig Berube questioning their effort level.
So far this season, Couturier has played around 80 percent of his five-on-five minutes with Read and just over half of them with Umberger, who of course was traded to Philly for Scott Hartnell in June.
There’s an argument to be made that Umberger, 32, has dragged Couturier, 22, and Read, 28, down. Last season, Couturier played mostly with Read, but also spent a good deal of time with Steve Downie, now with Pittsburgh.
Both Couturier and Read had better possession numbers last season.
Anyway, feel free to chime in, Flyers fans. Do Couturier and Read need to be freed from Umberger, or do they just need to play better?