The Flyers came into Friday night’s game needing the two points to climb even closer into playoff contention in the Metropolitan division. Wayne Simmonds two-goal night was not enough, though, as the Flyers blew a 3-1 lead and fell 4-3 in overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
From the start the Blue Jackets controlled the pace of the game. They forced turnovers in the offensive zone and had the game’s first three shots. It was the Flyers, though, who would get on the board first courtesy of Simmonds.
Matt Read carried the puck down the ice and fed Simmonds at the blue line. Simmonds took it into the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot that beat goaltender Curtis McElhinney and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 10:33 to go in the first period.
Columbus would again keep the pressure going over Philadelphia. They would outshoot the Flyers 11-7 in the period. Goaltender Ray Emery had to make a couple of big saves off turnovers to keep the Flyers ahead in the game.
The second period started much like the first, with the Blue Jackets controlling the pace of the game. Emery stood his ground for the first eight minutes of the period before Columbus was finally able to beat him. Brandon Dubinsky would tie the game at 1-1 with a redirect of a pass from defenseman Kevin Connauton.
The Flyers would gain the lead once again with about three minutes left in the second. Simmonds came in along the left side of the ice in the offensive zone. He tried to squeeze the puck past McElhinney, but it hit his shoulder and came out in front to Sean Couturier. His first shot attempt was stopped, but Couturier knocked the rebound out of mid-air and into the net for his 12th goal of the season. The goal would be initially reviewed for a high stick before being called a good goal moments later.
The Flyers would start the third period on a power play, but were unable to generate anything. Another power play chance would see the team capitalize and increase their lead to 3-1. Simmonds would get his second of the night off a rebound of a Claude Giroux shot. It was after this where the Blue Jackets would begin their comeback.
It would start with Jared Boll’s first goal in 64 games. Boll was in front of the net where he redirected a pass from Corey Tropp that ended up behind Emery and cut the Flyers lead to 3-2. Cam Atkinson scored the equalizer for the Blue Jackets with about four minutes to go in the third period.
“We can’t let that happen…We were up 3-1, there are no excuses.” Wayne Simmonds said in an interview after the game.
The Flyers will have a day to work on things as they travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres this Sunday. Puck-drop is set for 7:30 p.m.