Couturier’s OT goal lifts Flyers past Blue Jackets, 2-1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers were glad to finally end their long losing streak in Columbus.
Sean Couturier scored 1:52 into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 2-1 victory Friday night, snapping a stretch of 11 consecutive losses on the Blue Jackets’ home ice.
Wayne Simmonds also scored for Philadelphia, and Michael Neuvirth — filling in for the injured Brian Elliott — stopped 35 shots to pick up his eighth win of the season. The Flyers’ streak in Columbus dated back to 2005.
“It’s a long time ... that feels like an eternity,” Simmonds said. “We had a strong team effort tonight, and the boys showed up.”
Cam Atkinson tied it for Columbus late in the third period, and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 23 saves in the Blue Jackets’ first overtime loss this season.
Columbus was held to 36 shots after getting at least 50 in each of their last three games — wins against New Jersey (50) and at the New York Islanders (51) and a loss at Toronto (57).
“We played two teams prior to this that didn’t play with much structure (and) gave us a lot of ice to play on,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. “This was a structure team. We have to learn to play against a team that plays with structure. We’re going to have to play against teams that check tighter and tighter as each game goes by here.”
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers got on the board when Simmonds redirected Shayne Gostisbehere’s shot from the left hash mark and sneaked the puck through Bobrovsky’s legs for his 20th at 11:25.
Atkinson tied it with about 3 1/2 minutes left in regulation, as he buried the rebound from a wrister by David Savard.
“Really, this is a do or die for us right now,” Atkinson said. “All these points are so crucial. We can’t allow ourselves to take our foot off the gas pedal.
“I thought the third period we gained momentum. We started playing the way we are used to.(and found) a way to get a point, which is big, but we need to get 2.”
The Flyers moved past New Jersey into third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind second-place Pittsburgh.
Columbus moved into a tie with Carolina, one point behind the New York Islanders — who beat the Hurricanes 3-0 to take over the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
NOTES: The Blue Jackets activated Sonny Milano off injured reserve Friday and assigned him to Cleveland of the AHL. ... The Flyers have earned points in every game played since the Eagles won the Super Bowl, going 5-0-1. ... Neuvirth recorded his third career victory against Columbus. ... Philadelphia will host Columbus next Thursday and again on March 15.
Flyers: At the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Blue Jackets: Host Pittsburgh on Sunday