Laughton scores twice, leads streaking Flyers over Jets 4-2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Scott Laughton scored two goals Saturday to lead the streaking Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
Sean Couturier and Tyler Pitlick also scored and Justin Braun had three assists for the Flyers, who won their third straight and fourth of five to improve to 21-5-4 at home. Philadelphia remained in third place in the Metropolitan Division but pulled within three points of first-place Washington at Pittsburgh, both of which lost on Saturday.
“We played the right way, we made the right plays defensively and we made the right plays with the puck,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We were at our best when the game was on the line, and I thought that’s a real positive sign.”
Laughton had a chance for a hat trick, but he shot just wide of an empty net with about 30 seconds left after the Jets pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.
Josh Morrissey and Patrik Laine scored for Winnipeg. The Jets had won three in a row while outscoring opponents 14-6 during their season-best winning streak. Winnipeg entered the game clinging to a playoff spot in the Western Conference as the first wild-card team, but the Jets were just one point ahead of ninth-place Arizona.
“I don’t want to take away from a good game that they played, but sometimes when two teams are playing well it’s a matter of a bounce of a puck here or there,” the Jets’ Blake Wheeler said.
After Laine’s power-play score three minutes into the third pulled the Jets within a goal, Pitlick gave Philadelphia some breathing room by redirecting Robert Hagg’s slap shot to make it 4-2.
Couturier scored his 19th of the season with 5:10 remaining in the second to put Philadelphia on top 3-0. After Matt Niskanen fired a slap shot from the point, Couturier gathered the loose puck after a scramble in front and sent it over Connor Hellebuyck’s glove side.
Morrissey struck for Winnipeg with 1:56 remaining in the second when he took Mark Scheifele’s pass from behind the net and shot over Carter Hart’s left shoulder.
Laughton netted the first of his two first-period goals 2:06 into the game when he took a nifty pass from Ivan Provorov and whistled a wrister from between the circles past Hellebuyck’s glove side.
“(Provorov) made a real good pass on the first play and I tried to get it off as quick as I could,” Laughton said.
And he put Philadelphia ahead 2-0 with 10:57 left in the first when his shot from the left circle went under Hellebuyck’s left pad.
Hart made 27 saves to improve his record in Philadelphia to 16-2-2.
Notes: Braun returned to the ice after missing Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win over Columbus because he was ill. ... The teams split the season series. The Jets won 7-3 in Winnipeg on Dec. 15. … The Flyers have won eight consecutive games against the Jets in Philadelphia. … Cody Eakin, whom the Jets acquired from Vegas on Friday for a conditional fourth-round pick, will join the team in Buffalo on Sunday. … Laine has six points (two goals, four assists) over a four-game points streak. … The win was 1,200th at home in franchise history.
Jets: At Buffalo on Sunday.
Flyers: Host San Jose on Tuesday.
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