Sunday, October 19, 2014

Flyers make it look hard, beat Stars in OT for season's first win

Dallas, TX -- It wasn't easy, but over the last three years, what is?

After going 0-2-2 to start the season and then being down 4-2 after 40 minutes, Claude Giroux stepped to the forefront and his power-play goal with 2:11 left in overtime gave the Philadelphia Flyers their first win of the season, a 6-5 decision over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

Jakub Voracek posted a goal and two assists while Andrew MacDonald and Giroux each posted a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who had started off the season 0-2-2. Michael Raffl netted the tying score with 3:53 left in regulation.

Steve Mason started the game in net, but was pulled in a motivational gesture by head coach Craig Berube after giving up four goals on 18 shots in two periods. Ray Emery picked up the win by stopping four of the five shots he faced thereafter.

Trevor Daley scored twice and accidentally accounted for Raffl's key tally, Jason Spezza picked up a goal and three assists, while Tyler Seguin added four helpers for the Stars, who had won their previous two.

Kari Lehtonen continued to be plagued by the Flyers, falling to 0-10-2 against them in his career after allowing all six goals on 36 shots.

Dallas had navigated its way through a Jamie Benn penalty for closing his hand on the puck during a faceoff late in regulation, but tempted fate once more as Daley was called for hooking Brayden Schenn at 2:09 of overtime and the Flyers went to work on their second man-advantage of the extra session.

Receiving a pass from Mark Streit at the top of the left circle, Giroux cranked a shot that beat Lehtonen with Wayne Simmonds providing a partial screen in front for the win. Philadelphia, which had only played to one result beyond overtime since the Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, earned its first-ever overtime win there with a gritty effort that overcame some defensive deficiencies.

"It's a good character win because the team battled back for a lot of deficits in the game," said Berube. "This win will give our team some confidence, that's for sure."

The teams scored three times in two minutes in the third to knot the game at 5-5.

Philly tied it at 4-4 when Voracek banged home a rebound from the right side at 14:14. Dallas, though, responded only 40 seconds later as Spezza knocked the puck in from the right side. Emery had a case for arguing against the score, as he clearly had his glove on the puck for three seconds before the former Ottawa captain came through the crease and swept it home.

The Flyers once again tied the game just over a minute later as Raffl's attempted turnaround pass from the right circle changed direction suddenly off the skate of a diving Daley and zipped through Lehtonen. 

In the first period, the Stars took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal after Seguin's pass missed its intended target, but found Daley for a wrister past Mason at 11:32.

The Flyers, though, got a goal from Sean Couturier at 13:16 off a blocked shot, and Schenn potted his first of the year on a rush play at 15:09 to give the team a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.

Dallas tied it 2:46 into the second as Shawn Horcoff skated down the left wing and sent a pass to the right side where Erik Cole had an easy backhand tap-in.

On the power play, the Stars made it 3-2 when Daley netted his second of the game on a one-timer off a pass from Seguin at 18:33, and it was Seguin setting up Jamie Benn less than a minute later to give the team a 4-2 advantage going into the third period.

McDonald scored on a blur of a slap shot from the top of the left circle while on the power play at 8:32 of the third to pull the Flyers within one.

Notes: Saturday's win marked the first time since February 28, 1996 that the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit in Dallas at the outset of the third period. In that game, Craig MacTavish and Pat Falloon scored to allow the Orange and Black to salvage a 4-4 tie ... Philadelphia continues its three-game road trip in Chicago on Tuesday ... Dallas hosts Vancouver on Tuesday ... These teams split a pair of games last season, but Philly has won eight of the last nine overall.
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