Simmonds leads three Flyers on scoring streaks

Scott Hartnell, Braydon Coburn, and Michael Raffl (right) celebrate the Flyers shootout win over Edmonton.
Scott Hartnell, Braydon Coburn, and Michael Raffl (right) celebrate the Flyers shootout win over Edmonton. (AP)
Posted: December 31, 2013

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Claude Giroux. Jake Voracek. Wayne Simmonds.

Hot. Hotter. Hottest.

The trio has keyed the Flyers' recent surge, which has carried the team to a season-best 18-16-4 record.

Giroux (eight games) and Voracek (nine) have longer points streaks than Simmonds (five). But Simmonds has scored more than one goal in each of the last three games, becoming the first Flyer to accomplish that feat since Reggie Leach in 1981.

"It's an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with Reggie Leach," said Simmonds, who had two goals in Saturday's 4-3 shootout win in Edmonton, giving him a club-high 12 goals this season. "I think it's a pretty cool achievement."

Simmonds has seven goals and two assists in his last five games; Voracek has six goals and nine assists in his last nine, and Giroux has five goals and 10 assists in his last eight.

All three are playing with a renewed sense of confidence.

"Once they start scoring, they feel good about themselves," coach Craig Berube said after Sunday's practice in Vancouver, where the Flyers will face the talented Canucks on Monday. "They're shooting a lot more pucks now . . . and they're winning loose-puck battles."

All three struggled in the season's first few weeks.

"We probably had the worst starts to our seasons in all our careers," Simmonds said. "We just have to keep things going; the team's going on the right track."

"It's not just three guys. I think a lot of guys are hot, and that's why we're winning games," Giroux said. "Everybody's contributing. . . . It's the whole team being on the same page and doing their jobs."

The power play scored three times in five chances Saturday, enabling the Flyers to overcome an early 2-0 deficit and rally past Ilya Bryzgalov and the defensive-challenged Oilers.

Rookie Michael Raffl had the winner in the shootout as he fired a shot high over Bryzgalov, who made 35 saves and was superb during regulation and overtime.

The Flyers got two power-play goals from Simmonds, and Scott Hartnell sent the game into overtime with a power-play tally with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left.

"There's so many games on the line where the power play is going to make a difference," Voracek said.

The power play had been just 3 for 26 in its previous six games before Saturday's outburst.

Voracek downplayed the win over his former teammate, Bryzgalov, saying he didn't care who was in goal.

Giroux took a different stance.

"Any time you play an ex-teammate, you want to play a little harder," Giroux said. "It's kind of funny, but that's how it is."

Rinaldo bests Voracek

To loud cheers from his teammates, Zac Rinaldo beat Jake Voracek in a race during practice, primarily because the latter slipped and slid into the boards.

"He did it on purpose," Rinaldo cracked.

 


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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