Quick start helps Jets defeat Flyers, 5-3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Axel Jonsson-Fjällby, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele gave Winnipeg an early three-goal lead, and the Jets held on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Sunday night.
Karson Kuhlman also scored, Kevin Stenlund had an empty-netter and David Rittich made 28 saves for the Jets, who improved to 2-2 on a five-game road trip that concludes Tuesday night in Nashville.
“We just wanted to play our game right from the drop of the puck,” Kuhlman said. “I think we did that and gave ourselves a little bit of a cushion. Obviously, we wanted to play a better 60-minute game than that, but we ended up with the win.”
Kevin Hayes tallied twice while playing in his 600th career game, and Ivan Provorov added a goal for Philadelphia.
“It’s a cool milestone, but it would’ve been better if we got the win,” Hayes said.
Kuhlman broke a 3-3 tie with 11:16 left in regulation when his seemingly harmless shot from the side of the net went through Felix Sandström’s legs.
“I was in between what I wanted to do,” Sandström said. “Real bad play on my part.”
Sandström, Philadelphia’s backup playing in his first game since Dec. 13, made 25 saves.
“Obviously we don’t want to give up anything, especially after being up three early on,” Kuhlman said. “No panic in us. We just kept playing our game and one was gonna go for us.”
Flyers coach John Tortorella was testy afterward, deflecting questions that he thought were self-explanatory.
“Ask me the question you don’t know the answer to,” he said.
The Jets flew out to a three-goal lead in the first 8:31.
Jonsson-Fjällby scored on a waist-high deflection from close range over Sandström’s right pad 4:53 into the contest. Connor recorded his 24th goal and team-leading 57th point 1½ minutes later when he finished a 2-on-1 with Cole Perfetti by firing a hard wrist shot over Sandström’s left shoulder from a sharp angle. Scheifele tallied his team-best 29th goal to end the early barrage, completing a beautiful passing play with Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers that led to an easy tap-in from just left of the crease.
Provorov, who drew national headlines on Jan. 17 by sitting out warmups because he didn’t want to wear a pride-themed jersey due to his religious beliefs, got the Flyers on the board with his third goal of the season. Owen Tippett set up the play by waiting out defenseman Nate Schmidt’s sliding attempt to defend the pass and sending the puck across the front of the net to Provorov.
Hayes pulled Philadelphia within 3-2 with the only goal of the second period. Noah Cates passed down low to Hayes, who ripped a wrister from nearly parallel to the goal line into the top left corner for a power-play tally. Hayes tied it 2:35 into the third with another power-play goal, following up a rebound with another good wrist shot from an angle.
NOTES: The Jets improved to 14-10-1 on the road and 10-9 against the Eastern Conference. … Philadelphia dropped to 10-12-1 at home. … Jonsson-Fjällby did not return after leaving with 4:45 left following blocking a shot with his foot. … Philadelphia fans, still riding high after the Philadelphia Eagles’ 38-7 divisional game victory over the New York Giants on Saturday night, broke out in several “E-A-G-L-E-S!” chants throughout the contest.
Jets: At Nashville on Tuesday night.
Flyers: Host Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
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