Philadelphia Flyers fans rejoiced today as their team finally put an end to a losing skid of five games in a row. Things were so bad that The Inquirer Daily News described the losing streak as a crisis, and there wasn’t much hope going into Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
But the Flyers came through when it counted. Philadelphia fans breathed a sigh of relief after the Flyers squeaked past the Jets for a 2-1 win on home ice.
It was a tense game, with the first goal scored midway through the second period by team captain, Claude Giroux. The decision-maker second goal came moments later as a “bizarre,” fluke goal by Andrew MacDonald.
Minutes before MacDonald’s goal, the Flyers were making the most of an extra skater on the ice after Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers sat out a delayed slashing penalty.
Claude Giroux crept close to the net as the Jets were “scrambling in their own end,” and he scored the first goal of the game. Giroux sent a hard shot that flew past Connor Hellebuyck at 5:40 into the second period. The opener goal was Giroux’ 24th goal from the left dot.
In a surge of energy after the Flyers’ first goal, Andrew MacDonald caught a rebound and sent a wrister at Hellebuyck. It looked like Hellenuyck managed a miracle for the Jets, and referee Garrett didn’t allow the goal, but the Winnipeg Free Press reported that it was going to be bad news for the Jets.
Within seconds, the horn sounded and tensions mounted as the NHL checked the replays. It turned out that the puck had slipped just past the line before Hellenuyck got a glove on it.
“I got a fortunate bounce off the boards and I was able to just get enough wood on it,” MacDonald said.
Patrik Laine finally managed to score in the third period after being shut down repeatedly by Petr Mrazek, as Mrazek put up a solid resistance with 27 saves. Laine’s goal was a big milestone for the 19-year-old Finn.
It was his 40th of the year and it tied him with Alexander Ovechkin for highest goals this season in the NHL.
The goal, which was Laine’s 76th career goal, also tied the teen with Wayne Gretzky and Brian Bellows for highest NHL goals by a teenager. Jimmy Carson (92) and Dale Hawerchuk (85) are in first and second place for the title.
Connor Hellebuyck made 33 saves to Mrazek’s 27, but it wasn’t good enough to maintain the Jets’ four-game winning streak.