PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Wayne Simmonds delivered a goal and a victory that he said the Flyers “desperately” needed.
Simmonds scored on a breakaway just over a minute into overtime and Philadelphia ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Simmonds capitalized on a turnover at center ice by Brent Burns and beat Aaron Dell with a shot that went off Dell’s left pad and over the line. The goal was confirmed after video review.
“We needed those two points desperately,” Simmonds said. “That was huge for us.”
The Flyers remained a point behind Boston, which skated to a 4-3 victory over Vancouver on Saturday, for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. Philadelphia has struggled to score of late, netting just one goal during its losing streak and 13 in its previous 10 games entering Saturday.
“The goals haven’t been coming for us,” Simmonds said. “If we hang in there and keep playing the way we’ve been playing and keep getting pucks to the net and getting to the hard areas and commit ourselves to getting greasy goals, we should be fine.”
Ivan Provorov scored in regulation for Philadelphia, and Michal Neuvirth made 23 saves.
“We stuck with it all the way through,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “The result is real important for us.”
Patrick Marleau had the goal for Pacific Division-leading San Jose, which lost its fourth straight game and fifth in the last seven. Three of the Sharks’ losses during the losing skid have been after regulation.
“Those are coin flips,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said about overtime and shootouts. “I don’t feel we’re in a rut.”
The Flyers, however, certainly had been in scoring rut.
Their scoring woes continued through two-plus periods against the Sharks. The Flyers controlled play but the game remained scoreless until Provorov’s wrist shot put Philadelphia ahead 1-0 with 13:38 left in regulation. The shot came seconds after Andrew MacDonald’s wrister caromed off the left post and right to Provorov, who whizzed a wrist shot over Dell’s left shoulder.
Philadelphia hasn’t lit the red light much in the last month.
“If you want to call it a little bit of puck luck through this stretch certainly would’ve changed some of the results, but that’s the way the game is,” Hakstol said. “The thing about our team that we all like is everybody stuck with it.”
Marleau struck on a power play 3:01 later to make it 1-1. After Brandon Manning was whistled for holding, the Sharks made the Flyers pay with a pretty sequence. Joe Thornton passed down low to Kevin Labanc, who sent it in front to Marleau. Marleau’s shot deflected off MacDonald’s stick and over goalie Neuvirth’s right shoulder.
The Flyers dominated the first period, outshooting San Jose 14-4, but the teams entered the intermission scoreless. Simmonds had an excellent opportunity midway through the period when he got in alone on Dell. But the goalie snared the shot with a highlight-reel glove save.
Dell, San Jose’s backup, was in net after recording his first career shutout in a 2-0 home win over the Flyers on Dec. 30. He made 34 saves.
San Jose had a goal disallowed in the first period when officials determined Labanc interfered with Neuvirth before the puck crossed the goal line.
“Don’t let it get to you,” Labanc said. “I thought it should have been a good goal, but it is what it is.”
San Jose had the best chances to score in the second during a power play early in the period when Neuvirth’s stick went to the corner. But the Flyers goalie made several saves without his stick, and the Flyers’ penalty kill unit managed to stave off the power play despite being on the ice nearly the entire two minutes.
Notes: Thornton, who raised his career points total to 1,376, scored his first career goal in Philadelphia while with the Bruins on Dec. 3, 1997. . Philadelphia’s Jordan Weal played his first game of the season after being called up from Lehigh Valley of the AHL on Friday. Weal, acquired from Los Angeles last season, was second in the AHL with 47 points. He was scoreless in four games with the Flyers last season. . Philadelphia D Michael Del Zotto (lower body) missed his eighth straight game. . Labanc was recalled Friday from San Jose of the AHL. He has seven goals and seven assists in 41 games for the Sharks this season. . Dell played under Hakstol at University of North Dakota. . Sharks C Logan Couture (upper body) didn’t play. DeBoer hopes to have him available for Sunday’s game at New Jersey.
Sharks: End four-game East Coast trip on Sunday at New Jersey.
Flyers: Open a three-game Canada swing at Calgary on Wednesday night.
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