May 22, 2015


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Jokinen breaks scoring slump, Simmonds channels Howe in Flyers win over Jets

PHILADELPHIA — Goals are dandy, wins are better.

Olli Jokinen is paid to see his name on the scoresheet regularly. And so when the big Winnipeg Jets centre put the Jets ahead 2-1 Saturday afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers it must have felt like a gorilla had exited his shoulders. After all, the veteran Finn had gone nine games without scoring.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, right, leaps as the puck shot by Claude Giroux gets past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in the second period of Saturday afternoon's game. The Flyers won 5-3.

TOM MIHALEK / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, right, leaps as the puck shot by Claude Giroux gets past Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec in the second period of Saturday afternoon's game. The Flyers won 5-3.

But when your team blows a 3-1 lead, gives up four consecutive goals and is torched three times while killing penalties, there is no time for celebration afterward.

"I’d rather take a win," said Jokinen. "But, at the same time, it’s always OK to score. You just try to stick with the plan and do your best and sometimes you get those bounces."

Jokinen’s goal, his third, came on a good feed by Blake Wheeler and featured him doing a spin-o-rama before rifling a shot through Ilya Bryzgalov’s legs.

"Jokinen was good," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "It was nice to see him get back on the board. I thought in a night where the (Bryan) Little line didn’t have to contribute offensively you had other guys step up and produce. That was good. We just weren’t able to hold onto the game and that’s the disappointing part. I mean, this scenario has happened more than once and nobody will be more disappointed than the players."

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GORDIE HOWE WOULD BE PLEASED: Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds pulled off the ol’ Gordie Howe hat-trick — a goal, assist and fight — in Saturday’s Flyers’ win. He fought Chris Thorburn in the first, assisted on Brayden Schenn’s first goal of the game and then potted the game-winning goal in the third period when he took a backhand pass from Schenn for his seventh.

"I didn’t have to do much," Simmonds said. "I just screamed for the back door and it was an empty net."

The Flyers had had been 0-10 when trailing or tied after 40 minutes and 0-7 when trailing after the first, but reversed both those trends.

Afterwards, many Flyers said it was Simmonds’ scrap with Thorburn that helped bring their game to life.

"It brought some pop to the game at that point," coach Peter Laviolette said.

HARTNELL BOOST: The Flyers welcomed back forward Scotty Hartnell for the first time since mid-January after he suffered a broken foot. And he took 23 shifts totalling just under 15 minutes of ice time, had five shots and one hit. What doesn’t show up is how he can effectively get under opponents’ skin.

"I feel a little rusty, but I think the timing and stuff will come. I told G (Claude Giroux) and Jake (Voracek) they have been playing so good I just wanted to get them the puck and head to the front of the net. That’s where I make a living."

Laviolette went one step further in his praise.

"(Hartnell) was very noticeable for us. He was skating, he was physical and he was agitated at times."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

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