Oilers fall to Flyers in shootout
EDMONTON — Michael Raffl looked like he had won the lottery.
The 25-year-old rookie forward scored the winner on his first career shootout attempt as the Philadelphia Flyers overcame an early deficit to earn a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
“I didn’t really expect to be sent out there,” Raffl said. “I was ready to hold my helmet and then I heard that I was going third and I was like ’nice.’ I really enjoyed it.
“It was nice to get the chance and it going in made it even nicer. It’s always nice to score a goal, and to have it be the winner was even better”
Wayne Simmonds had a pair of goals and Scott Hartnell also scored for the Flyers (18-16-4), who have won four out of their last five games and snapped a five-game losing streak on the road as they started a six-game trip in Edmonton.
“We’ve been struggling on the road, so to start off this long road trip with a pretty solid victory is very nice,” said Flyers goalie Steve Mason, who was only called upon to face 16 shots. “We just need to carry it through to our next game and keep building on this.”
It was the third consecutive two-goal game for Simmonds, who has seven goals in his last five outings. He was the first Flyer to have three straight multiple-goal games since Reggie Leach in 1981.
“Obviously it has been a good stretch for me,” Simmonds said. “It’s been even better that the team has been starting to win and piling up the two points most nights. It feels good. I’ve just been getting the bounces.”
Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron responded for the Oilers (13-24-4), who had a two-game winning streak end and have lost seven of their last nine.
“It wasn’t our best game that’s for sure, but sometimes you have to take a look at what you’ve done,” Hall said. “A back-to-back after a three-day break isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do. That’s not really an excuse, but when you look back at the schedule sometimes there’s reasons for why you don’t do well. When we have a schedule like that, we have to keep it as simple as possible and make sure we’re not playing a mistake-filled game.”
It was the first game Edmonton goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had played against his old Flyers teammates since Philadelphia bought him and his hefty long-term contract out during the summer.
“I know they’re not going to quit,” the goalie said of his Flyer foes. “I knew what was coming, I knew they were going to play hard and they were going to get lots of pucks to the net. That’s the style they play, aggressive.
“Playing back to back nights after three days off, it’s not easy. I think we battled through and tried our best. It’s great to get the point.
Edmonton got off to a very quick start to the game, scoring on its first shot just 32 seconds in. Hall picked the pocket of Flyers defenceman Braydon Coburn deep in the Philadelphia zone and beat Mason with a quick wrist shot high to the glove side for his 15th goal of the season.
The Oilers made it 2-0 four minutes into the first period as Nugent-Hopkins made a nice move at the blue-line to give himself some space and beat Mason with a shot from the slot. A couple of Oilers hit milestones with assists on the goal, as Hall recorded his 100th NHL assist and captain Andrew Ference his 200th point.