Philly unbeatable at home of late, cruises to win over Wild

BY foxsports • December 23, 2013

Claude Giroux is excited about the way the Philadelphia Flyers are playing.

Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night, extending their home win streak to nine games.

''We got the four lines rolling. Everybody's playing great,'' Giroux said. ''I think when you have a team effort like tonight, it's a really good feeling. We can take it in for a couple days for Christmas here, and be ready to go on the road.''

The Flyers brought their record back above .500 (17-16-4).

Luke Schenn scored first for the Flyers, on the team's first shot of the night, giving them a lead they never lost. Scott Hartnell's assist on that goal was the veteran Flyer's 500th career point.

''It was a big win, more importantly,'' Hartnell said. ''It's kind of cool to hit a century mark, but we wanted to end into this Christmas break with a big win. Everybody's got a lot of smiles on our faces. That was an amazing effort and a big win. It's huge.''

Giroux had a goal and an assist, extending his scoring streak to eight games, a new high for the Flyers' captain.

While the Flyers will be using their three-day break to celebrate, the Wild will have plenty of time to consider what's gone wrong for them in recent days. Monday's loss was their third in a row, a stretch of games during which they've scored only four goals and sank to fourth place in the Central Division.

''It's a good time for the break,'' Kyle Brodziak said. ''We need a few days to really find what we need to do, and what every guy in the room really needs to do, however we need to do it, to break out of whatever funk we are in right now.''

With the loss, the Wild are 1-7-1 in their past nine games on the road. They fell to 2-7-0 lifetime at the Wells Fargo Center. They've lost six of their past 10 games.

Mikael Grandlund scored the Wild's lone marker in the first period, a power-play goal during a 1:40 two-man advantage that cut the Flyers' lead to 2-1. But after that goal, scored late in the first period, the Wild's offense all but disappeared.

The Wild traveled to Philadelphia after falling to the New York Rangers 4-1 Sunday. Back-to-back games can be difficult, and goaltender Niklas Backstrom started both. He, along with many teammates, seemed tired.

Wild head coach Mike Yeo wasn't about to use fatigue as an excuse.

''I'm not going to paint a rosy picture and I'm not going to make any excuses,'' Yeo said. ''Flat out, we need to be better. It's every one of us. It starts with me. We have to be better. What I mean is, this is not us. Plain and simple, this is not us.''

Across the ice, however, the Flyers felt as if Monday's effort was perfectly representative of their team identity. They scored on the power play (Simmonds' first-period goal), they kept their defense tight and they played hard right up until the final horn sounded.

They feel they've managed to turn around a dire start to their season.

''No one wants to let anyone down in here — turning the puck over, making soft plays,'' Hartnell said. ''When you're accountable to your teammates, the guy next to you in the dressing room, you play hard, you play smarter. We've got to eliminate some simple penalties that we've been taking lately, but it's been a lot of fun here at home. We've got to take this show on the road here.''

Both teams will return from the days off with games in Canada — the Wild in Winnipeg, the Flyers in Edmonton. But only the Flyers will be riding the momentum of a complete-game victory.

''We definitely needed that,'' Simmonds said. ''You guys asked if we were worried, I said no. We know what we're capable of.''

NOTES: Zach Parise missed the game with a lower-body injury. . . . Jakub Voracek extended his career-high point streak to eight games. . . . Scott Hartnell is the 50th active player to register 500 points.

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