Van Riemsdyk scores twice as Flyers top Wild 5-4
By PATRICK DONNELLY
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Coming off a tough loss, a two-hour flight and a miserable first period, the Philadelphia Flyers did what they've been doing for the last five weeks. They won.
James van Riemsdyk scored two goals, including the game-winner late in the third period, as the Flyers beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each had a goal and an assist and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers, who are 11-2-1 since Jan. 9. One of those losses was on Monday night, a frustrating 4-1 defeat against the Penguins in which the Flyers logged 51 shots on goal.
After falling behind 3-1 in the first period, the Flyers regrouped and looked like a different team the last two periods.
"A couple of guys were vocal in the locker room in between," said goalie Anthony Stolarz, who made 35 saves. "This isn't an easy back-to-back, a two-hour flight last night and having to play. It was tough, but we battled back."
"Maybe we were playing content and happy with the 3-1 lead and stopped working," Kunin said. "You can't do that with any team in this league. When you stop working and not playing that full 60, it's going to cost you."
Van Riemsdyk broke a 4-4 tie on a power play with 4:29 remaining, banking home a rebound off Devan Dubnyk in a scramble near the net. It was the 11th power-play goal allowed by Minnesota in its last 10 games, and it came with Nick Seeler in the penalty box for tripping a Flyer along the side boards.
"It's happened all year. I don't know if you can count on both hands how many times in the third period it's been tied and we take a penalty and they score in the last seven minutes, eight minutes," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I find it mind-boggling."
Minnesota had taken a 4-3 lead early in the third period on a goal by Spurgeon that was awarded after a video review. His shot from a sharp angle appeared to hit off the crossbar, but at the next stoppage the play was reviewed. Video showed the puck hitting the underside of the crossbar and dropping into the net before spinning back out.
Philadelphia tied it at 6:30 when the Wild got caught in a line change, leaving Giroux and Jakub Voracek alone on a two-man rush. Voracek left a drop pass for Giroux, who beat Dubnyk with a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
"They came off when they shouldn't have come off," Boudreau said, explaining the bad line change. "It wasn't a very good play."
The Flyers struck first, with Provorov scoring less than three minutes into the game on a deflected slap shot.
But the Wild recovered quickly, thanks in part to two quick Flyers penalties that gave Minnesota a two-man advantage for 1:52.
Parise tied it during the 5-on-3. He took a pass from Mikael Granlund at the left of the net and banked it off Stolarz for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season.
Kunin then scored two quick goals to put Minnesota on top 3-1.
Stolarz kept the Wild in check with a sprawling save of a point-blank shot by Jordan Greenway in the second period. The Flyers then tied the game shortly after with two consecutive goals from van Riemsdyk and Couturier.
"To find a way to dig ourselves out of a hole, as a coach, that's a real proud moment to be a part of," Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon said. "That's what I told the players - nobody quit, and we just stayed with it. They deserved it."
After weathering an 0-6-2 stretch in late December and early January - which came after coach Dave Hakstol had already been fired - the Flyers are now just six points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We've been through a lot this year and when things are not going as well as we like, we find a way to get something positive and take one shift at a time and try to bounce back," Couturier said. "Tonight that's kind of the game we played."
NOTES: The Wild honored recently retired Twins star Joe Mauer in a pregame ceremony. The players wore custom Twins-themed jerseys during their pregame skate and Mauer dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff. ... The Flyers loaned goalie Brian Elliot to Lehigh Valley (AHL) for a conditioning stint on Tuesday. He hasn't played for Philadelphia since Nov. 15 and was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
Flyers: Host Detroit on Saturday afternoon.
Wild: Host New Jersey on Friday.
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Updated February 13, 2019