Flyers explode for 4-goal 2nd period, beat Panthers 5-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wayne Simmonds pounded Florida’s enforcer with a series of rights and dropped him with a left. Simmonds waved his arms toward the Flyers crowd and exhorted them to get louder as he skated toward the locker room to serve his major penalty. He high-fived fans and the orange-and-black faithful went wild for a period on the short list of the best in three years under coach Dave Hakstol.
Score the round for Simmonds.
Give the KO to the Flyers.
Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Claude Giroux and Dale Weise all scored in the second period to lead Philadelphia to a 5-1 win over the Panthers on Tuesday night.
The Flyers followed an 8-2 win against Washington with another dominant offensive effort, capped by the four-goal second.
“This is fun hockey,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s fun when you’re winning and making plays, that’s the biggest thing. Coach has given us the leeway to do that and I think we’ve responded well.”
Simmonds, who left in the third with an undisclosed injury, stole the show after the fourth goal when he fought agitated Panthers center Michael Haley to a decisive victory at center ice.
By then, this one was over.
Michal Neuvirth made the lead stand with 40 saves in his first win of the season.
“I thought I made a couple of big saves in the first,” he said. “The guys in front of me played really well.”
Jamie McGinn spoiled the shutout with his first goal of the season that made it 4-1 late in the third.
“It’s just about playing the right way,” McGinn said. “It doesn’t matter what your line combinations are if you’re turning over the puck and giving up quality opportunities in your own end. That’s our own fault.”
Valtteri Filppula scored an empty-netter for the Flyers.
The Flyers are deep, fast, attack in waves, and are suddenly one of the more formidable offenses in the league a year after missing the playoffs. They scored five goals in the season opener, scored another five in one of their only two losses, and pounded the Capitals for a stunning eight goals.
“I think our depth so far has been really good and we have to keep it that way,” Couturier said.
The Flyers actually went scoreless on 11 shots against Roberto Luongo in the first.
Just a blip.
Couturier poked the puck past a diving Luongo only 1:05 into the second for his fourth goal of the season. Simmonds found Gostisbehere off the give-and-go in the slot for a slapper and a 2-0 lead.
“Ghost” scored his first goal of the season and Robert Hagg had his first career NHL point.
From All-Stars (Giroux, Simmonds) to rookie defensemen (Hagg), everyone has been in on the scoring fun for the Flyers. Giroux scored his fourth goal of the season on a rare power-play breakaway effort for a 3-0 lead.
Weise scored his first goal of the season off a between-the-legs drop pass from No. 2 overall draft pick Nolan Patrick. The 19-year-old Patrick is a future cornerstone player for a franchise that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975. But there’s little pressure to produce immediately if the rest of the core players such as Giroux, Simmonds, Couturier and Jake Voracek (who had his whopping 11th assist) continue to thrive. That they ran up the score against a Panthers team that swept them last season (3-0) made it more impressive.
“It was fun hockey to play,” Giroux said.
Notes: Giroux had his 400th career assist. ... Panthers F Owen Tippett, the 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft, made his NHL debut. ... The Panthers allowed the first goal for the fifth straight game. ... Florida is winless on the road. ... The Flyers are 8-0-1 at home dating to last season.
Panthers: Host the Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Friday night.
Flyers: Host Western Conference champion Nashville on Thursday night.
For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey