Winnipeg and the Philadelphia Flyers combined for 17 goals in a game that was so unusual that even the victorious Jets were left shaking their heads.
Andrew Ladd scored the game-winner with 1:06 remaining on a one-timer from close range to lift Winnipeg to a wild 9-8 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night.
”It’s the strangest game I’ve been a part of. It was like an NFL game,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. ”We can’t make a lot of logic out of what we did there.”
”I thought to myself, ‘Self, you’re a sick man trying to make logic of this,”’ Noel added. ”I had the rosary out, I had everything going tonight.”
Fifteen players scored in the wide-open game in which both clubs set season highs for goals scored and goals allowed, and the Jets tied a franchise record for goals in a game.
Asked if he learned anything about his team, Noel joked, ”You learn you might need a sports psychologist just to manage the brain of the coach.”
Philadelphia’s Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk were the only multiple goal scorers with two apiece. Kimmo Timonen had four assists and Scott Hartnell added a goal and assist. Claude Giroux and Max Talbot also scored for Flyers.
Nik Antropov and Tanner Glass each had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Evander Kane and Alex Burmistrov each added a goal and an assist and Blake Wheeler had three assists for Winnipeg.
”I have never been part of that and hopefully I never am again,” Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian said. ”It’s good that we battled hard and then won, but there were probably a lot more negatives in that game than positives.”
Ladd compared the result to a video game.
”It was like Blades of Steel out there,” he said.
Of his game-winning tally, Ladd said, ”We kind of got a good cycle down low. (Wheeler) was able to find me in front.”
It was a rough night for the goaltenders, as both starters were pulled and the backups didn’t fare much better.
Winnipeg starter Ondrej Pavelec allowed seven goals on 43 shots and was forced to re-enter the game after his backup, Chris Mason, left with an apparent groin injury with 8:20 left in the third period. Mason gave up one goal on five shots.
Flyers backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky started the game, but was pulled early in the second period after surrendering five goals on 15 shots. Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia’s usual starter, relieved Bobrovsky and gave up four goals on 10 shots.
Bryzgalov blamed himself for the defeat, calling it the low point of his career.
”I have zero confidence in myself right now,” he said. ”I am terrible. (The offense) scores eight goals and we are still losing. It’s obviously a terrible goalie and that’s me.
”I am the reason we lost the game tonight. I am lost in the woods right now.”
Briere, however, said the loss couldn’t be pinned on the goalies.
”I don’t think it’s right to blame one guy,” he said. ”There were breakdowns left and right. We were all responsible for goals here and there.”
Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette agreed.
”You go goal by goal and you talk about it, but there’s different reasons,” he said. ”The bottom line is it isn’t good enough. You’ll never win any games (allowing nine goals). Well, the majority of the time you won’t win many games when you have to score 10. We’ll go back and we’ll work on everything.”
The Flyers came within striking distance of the club mark for goals, and both teams were close to marks for goals allowed.
The 17 goals matched a Philadelphia record for combined goals in a game. And the Flyers hadn’t allowed nine in a game since Oct. 23, 1993, when the former Winnipeg Jets did it.
Incredibly, the teams combined for five goals in the first 4:31 of the third period.
The most goals the Flyers ever have allowed in a game was 12 on Jan. 30, 1969, against Chicago. Philadelphia’s franchise record for goals in a game is 13.
The Jets tied their mark for goals in a game set Nov. 12, 2005, at Carolina when they scored nine as the Atlanta Thrashers. The club mark for goals allowed in a game is 10, set Jan. 18, 2008 at Buffalo.
The Flyers entered the final period trailing 6-4, but got within a goal, 1:09 into the third period when Briere scored on a rebound of Van Riemsdyk’s shot.
A little more than a minute later, the Flyers tied the game when Matt Read scored on a rebound of Andreas Lilja’s shot from the point.
The Jets then pulled Pavelec and replaced him with Mason, but it didn’t matter as Philadelphia went ahead 7-6 on Van Riemsdyk’s goal from the edge of the goal mouth after a pretty assist by Briere with 16:58 left in the game.
But the Jets tied it at 7-7 only 28 seconds later on Burmistrov’s tally, and went in front 1:01 after that on Mark Stuart’s wrister from close range.
Pavelec re-entered the game with 8:20 remaining as Mason left with an apparent injury, but he couldn’t hold the lead as Van Riemsdyk tied the game at 8-8 with 3:39 left on a one-timer from close range.
”We have some things to feel good about,” Noel said. ”The nine goals and the win, but you can’t play this way.”
NOTES: Flyers captain Chris Pronger, who suffered a right eye injury Monday night, will start light exercise this weekend, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. Pronger is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. … Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn will be out 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken left foot in Wednesday’s game against Montreal. … The Flyers recalled forward Zac Rinaldo and defenseman Erik Gustafsson from Adirondack of the AHL. … The Winnipeg franchise has won eight of its past nine against the Flyers.