It was one of those games that had loss written all over it for the Philadelphia Flyers. So many times this season, Philadelphia has outshot their opponents by a large amount, but somehow snatched defeat out of the mouth of victory.
They were that close to dropping their fourth game in the last five, and starting off the current road trip with a disheartening loss.
Despite outshooting the Winnipeg Jets by a wide margin -- 48-25, to be exact -- the Flyers found themselves trailing 4-3 with Ilya Bryzgalov on the bench, pulled for an extra attacker as they attempted to tie the game in the final minute.
That's when James van Riemsdyk, who has been traded 100 times in the past week via the rumor mill, went to work. Carrying the puck along the left wing side at his own blue line, the led a rush into the zone, then fed a perfect pass from the right of Winnipeg netminder Ondrej Pavelec to Wayne Simmonds in front. Simmonds, who got separation from defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, was able to poke the puck past the goaltender with 9.7 seconds remaining in regulation for his career-high 22nd goal of the season to send the game to overtime.
Philadelphia kept the pressure on in the extra period, outshooting the home team, 6-1. After the Flyers had put quality chance after quality chance on Pavelec, who turned every one aside.
Bryzgalov even came to the rescue, making a tough kick save with the right pad on Evander Kane, who had beaten him earlier in the contest.
With less than a minute remaining and Philly dreading the prospect of yet another game that appeared it would be decided in the shootout, in which they have been absolutely awful all year, the slumping Danny Briere started what would be another huge sequence on the night. His dogged forechecking and determination on the puck led to a steal in the offensive right circle, then fed Jaromir Jagr in the slot for the game-winning goal with 44 seconds left in overtime.
It was not only Jagr's 16th goal of the season, but also the 16th overtime goal of his career to set a new NHL record. With the goal in the extra session, Jagr passed Mats Sundin, Sergei Federov, and Patrik Elias, who all had 15.
The win helped Philly avoid a season sweep at the hands of Winnipeg, who took the first three games of the season series previously.
Shaking off the soft third period Kane goal, Bryzgalov finished the game with 22 saves -- none bigger than the kick save he made on Kane in OT. The beleaguered Philadelphia netminder upper his season record to 21-11-6.
There is no telling just how huge the comeback victory will ultimately be in the grand scheme of the overall success of the Flyers this season, but there is no doubt it is a big Orange-and-Black confidence booster.
Philadelphia ended up putting 55 shots on Pavelec, who single-handedly kept his club in the game. He had been practically unbeatable during a lopsided third period, when Philly outshot the Jets by an 18-5 count. Pavelec made a miraculous glove stop on Jakub Voracek, who had an open net with which to shoot with about eight minutes remaining in the third period, one that will no doubt be on highlight reels for the rest of the season.
Two goals by Andrew Ladd and another by Byfuglien for the Jets and tallies by Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell (team-leading 28th), and Maxime Talbot (career-high 17th) had the score knotted at 3-3 heading into the third period, and it was Winnipeg who would strike first in the third period. Kane would send a fluttering shot past Bryzgalov, who appeared to be handcuffed by the knuckleball affect on the puck. Kane's 23rd goal of the year gave the Jets a 4-3 lead with 15:03 remaining to set up the visitor's late-game drama.
Taking a Flyer: The 55 shots tied a Flyers franchise record for most shots in a road game. They had 55 shots in a 4-3 overtime win at Boston on March 1, 2007.....The Flyers are now 4-4-1 this season when posting 40 or more shots and are 9-9-2 over the last two seasons when do.....Giroux now has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in his last three games. He recorded a career-high 10 shots on goal tonight.....How big have the contributions of Paul Holmgren's offseason acquisitions been? The Flyers have benefitted from a goal by either Talbot or Simmonds in six consecutive games, and in 13 of the last 18 games overall. This is the second time in the last three games that both players have scored in the same game.....Philadelphia continues to struggle on the penalty kill, as Winnipeg scored on all three man advantages in the contest.....Pavel Kubina was credited with three shots on goal and two hits in 20:38 of ice time in his Flyers' debut. The defender, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, led all Philadelphia skaters in ice time in the first period with 7:30, all but 11 seconds (power play time) of which was at even strength.....The other recent defenseman obtained, Nicklas Grossman, picked up his first point as a Flyer, recording an assist on Talbot's goal.....van Riemsdyk registered seven shots on goal for the game.