Van Riemsdyk scores late goal to lead Flyers past Jets 3-1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Too late in the season to make a serious run at the playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers are ready for a hiatus. They hope when they return from the All-Star break, at least some of the small strides made of late can pay off with a better second half.
“I think it would be best for us to just step away from the game a little bit. Reset, get refreshed,” goalie Carter Hart said. “I think it’ll be a good break for us. We just have to make sure we’re ready to go for the next game.”
James van Riemsdyk snapped a tie game when he scored off a rebound with 4:09 left to lift the Flyers to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.
Scott Laughton’s shot off goalie Connor Hellebuyck bounded straight to a streaking van Riemsdyk, and he pounded in the puck for his 11th goal of the season.
“It hits off his pad and you’ve got one of the best guys in the game around the net,” Laughton said. “Let him tap that in and win that one for us.”
That’s two straight wins for the Flyers -- following a 13-game losing streak.
“I think we’ve done a better job lately of sticking with it and when things start to go bad, not to let them snowball,” van Riemsdyk said.
The Flyers snapped their franchise-worst streak on Saturday and quickly fell back into misery when Kyle Connor, an NHL All-Star, scored 48 seconds into the game. Connor fired one from the circle past Hart for his 25th of the season. Connor scored two of Winnipeg’s four game-winning goals in January and had six total in the month.
Travis Konecny snapped a wrister over Hellebuyck for his eighth goal of the season and tied it 1-all in the second. Oskar Lindblom scored an empty-netter for his sixth goal of the season with 1:14 left in the game.
The few fans that showed up at Wells Fargo Center stood and cheered as Hart wrapped up the game with his 32nd save and sent the Flyers into the All-Star break with a rare reason to feel good
Each team played with an interim coach. Dave Lowry took over in December when Jets coach Paul Maurice resigned. Mike Yeo took over in December when the Flyers fired Alain Vigneault.
Yeo stayed optimistic, even as the losses piled up.
“It sounds crazy that we were losing all those games but I could feel improvement,” he said. “We’re building confidence in the type of game we want to play. I feel we’re building better habits. I also think we have a long way to go.”
The Jets, meanwhile, held a closed-door meeting after they lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“We should be desperate. We should understand these points are critical,” Lowry said. “If we want to get back into the race, we have to perform every night. We have to compete and be diligent in how we have to play.”
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Flyers center Claude Giroux played his 700th game as team captain, a role he has held since the start of the 2012-13 season. He is the longest-tenured captain in Flyers history. Giroux has missed just 10 games since taking over the captaincy in January of 2013; half of those 10 have been due to COVID-19 protocols. He has 210 goals and 440 assists for 650 points while wearing the “C,” which ranks sixth in the NHL since the start of the 2012-13 season. He is 15 games shy of the 1,000-game milestone, all with the Flyers. He was named an All-Star.
Jets: Return from the All-Star break on Feb. 8 at home against Minnesota.
Flyers: Play Detroit on Feb. 9.
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