Yahoo Sports Minute:

Gagne scores in first game back, Flyers win 4-1

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Simon Gagne looked like his old self in his old home.

Gagne scored a goal in his first game back with the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov made 23 saves and Philadelphia beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.

"It makes things a lot easier to come back here and know what it takes to play in Philly," Gagne said. "I'm excited to be back. I've been in league for 13 years and I still have some good hockey left in me."

Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot also had goals for the Flyers (10-11-1).

Joel Ward snapped Bryzgalov's shutout bid when he scored with 2:09 left.

Washington's Braden Holtby, coming off a 33-save shutout against Carolina a night earlier, was yanked in the second period after allowing four goals on 18 shots.

The Capitals (7-11-1) had won five of seven after a 2-8-1 start.

"It's our first bad game in while, and I think it was all of us and we looked a little tired," Caps coach Adam Oates said. "We didn't have enough fight to fight back through them. I think it's a little bit of the product with the league right now because of the lockout with scheduling. Teams are tired. We will chalk it up to that and find ways to work on stuff."

Gagne, acquired from the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, got a loud ovation from a sellout crowd as he returned to the team where he spent the first 10 seasons of his career and had his greatest success.

He caught a red-eye flight from the West Coast and barely had time to rest before taking the ice in an orange jersey for the first time since the Flyers lost the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals to Chicago.

"I tried to sleep a little bit but was excited to be back and it was hard to fall asleep," Gagne said. "I was patient, winning the Cup there. They gave me a chance to come back in the Finals and play the last four games. I wasn't playing there and I thought about asking for a trade. They found me the perfect place. It shows they're a world-class organization."

Gagne saw plenty of action on a line with Talbot and Sean Couturier and on special teams. The Flyers were already up 2-0 when he scored a power-play goal in the second period. Good puck movement by Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn set up Gagne's first goal of the season. The two-time former All-Star hadn't scored one in 11 games with the Kings.

"He's a guy that's well-known here and well-loved," Talbot said of Gagne. "It brought a lot of energy and passion to the game. He was making plays out there so he definitely gave us a big momentum."

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had an all-around poor game. Ovechkin, who has been inconsistent the last season and a half, made sloppy mistakes and seemed lackadaisical at times.

The Flyers, who had fallen behind in each of the last four games, came out with plenty of energy. Giroux scored just 23 seconds into the first. Scott Hartnell made an excellent backhanded pass on one knee to Giroux, who lifted it just under the crossbar for his seventh goal.

"It's great to have that lead right off the bat and keep it," Giroux said. "We played well first, second period."

Simmonds scored a power-play goal a few minutes later to make it 2-0. Hartnell took a shot that rebounded right to Simmonds in front of the net and he backhanded it past Holtby.

Talbot scored in the second, his first goal of the season, to extend the lead to 4-0. He blasted a slap shot that cranked off the middle post and ricocheted back out; the goal was upheld by a review. That ended Holtby's night.

"He's played great for us," Oates said. "Plus the fourth goal, he looked like he should have had it, and just like everybody he has to take his lumps, too. He's got to bounce back for Winnipeg."

NOTES: The Flyers have scored in the opening minute of the game four times this season. ... Bryzgalov has started 20 of 22 games. He wore his new "Star Wars" mask featuring characters from the movies. ... Gagne wore his familiar No. 12. Harry Zolnierczyk switched to No. 37 to give Gagne his old number. ... Mike Knuble was a healthy scratch to make room for Gagne. ... Giroux extended his points streak to six games. ... Flyers rookie Tye McGinn was out of the lineup because he broke his orbital bone during his fight with Toronto's Mike Brown on Monday. ... The Capitals recalled goalie Philipp Grubauer from Hershey of the AHL to back up Holtby because Michal Neuvirth is ill. Grubauer made his NHL debut after Holtby was benched. ... Washington's streak of scoring first ended at eight games.

Instantly join a new league.

League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 28 9:00 am
View Comments (3)