The Philadelphia Flyers used special teams play to celebrate their return to the Wells Fargo Center following a four-game road trip, scoring twice with the power play and another while shorthanded to dismantle the Minnesota Wild by a 5-1 score Tuesday night. After playing 20 of the previous 29 contests on the road, the Flyers returned to South Philly to win their third consecutive home game, and have now won three of their last four overall.
While Minnesota was shorthanded six times, Philadelphia played a disciplined game and committed just one minor penalty all evening, and scored while killing off that infraction.
With Minnesota's Matt Cullen in the penalty box, Claude Giroux sent a pass back to Kimmo Timonen at the blue line. The defenseman let a slap shot go that beat Josh Harding, who never saw it because of a Wayne Simmonds screen directly in front of the Wild crease. Timonen's second goal of the season gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 2:56 into the contest.
The assist was the 50th point of the season for Giroux, and the 200th point of his NHL career.
Philadelphia added to the lead midway through the second period, scoring again with a player in the sin bin, but this time it was one of their own, defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Rookie forwards Sean Couturier and Matt Read would combine on a shorthanded tally, working a give and go to perfection with Couturier finishing off the sequence for his 10th goal of the year to make it a 2-0 Flyers advantage. It was the fifth consecutive game in which the 19-year-old has lit the lamp, which ties the season high streak for any freshman skater this year, one of which being Read.
Couturier also became the ninth Flyer to hit the 10-goal mark for the season.
Just over a minute later, former-Flyer Darroll Powe got Minnesota on the board, blasting a slap shot past Ilya Bryzgalov from the outside edge of the left circle for his fourth goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1. It was Powe's first goal in the last 14 contests, and a shot that the struggling Philadelphia netminder would definitely like to have back. It appeared as if Bryzgalov dropped his glove and left shoulder, allowing the puck to skip off his jersey and deflect up under the crossbar.
Any hopes for any extended period of Wild momentum was derailed shortly thereafter, however, as Braydon Coburn netted his second goal of the year at 12:47 to restore the two goal Flyers' lead at 3-1.
With Philadelphia on another man advantage late in the middle frame, Scott Hartnell became the first Flyer to hit the 20-goal mark this season. Hartnell also leads the team in power play markers with nine on the year.
Jakub Voracek closed out the scoring at the 11:58 mark of the third period, ripping a one-timer past Harding off a beautiful cross ice feed from Maxime Tabot for his seventh goal of the year to make it a 5-1 score.
Philadelphia used the lopsided amount of time with the extra skater to outshoot Minnesota by a 34-26 count. Bryzgalov made 25 saves in halting a two-game losing skid, improving his record to 17-10-3 for the season.
Following the long long time away from home, the Flyers will enjoy home cooking in 10 of the next 14 contests with a chance to make a move in the standings.