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Raffl's shootout goal sends Flyers past Oilers

The SportsXchange

EDMONTON, Alberta -- With the Philadelphia Flyers 0-3-2 in their previous five road games and the Edmonton Oilers 1-4-1 when playing the second of back-to-back games, it's probably no surprise their neither side was able to grab this one by the throat.

Between the giveaways, penalties, soft goals, ineffective penalty killing and blown leads, it seemed like it was simply a question of who would give it away last.

It turned out to be the Oilers, who lost a 4-3 shootout on Saturday night at Rexall Place on Flyers left winger Michael Raffl's winner.

"It was nice to get the chance and it going in made it even nicer," said Raffl, who made good on the first shootout attempt of his career. "It's always nice to score a goal, and to have it be the winner was even better.

"I didn't really expect to be sent out there. I was ready to hold my helmet and then I heard that I was going third and I was like 'nice.' I really enjoyed it."

All of the Flyers did.

"It's a really good win," Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said after the Flyers boosted their record to 18-16-4. "I really felt good after the second goal went in, just the way they acted on the bench. They were confident. They didn't get down."

Up until the shootout, it was like a game of ping-pong, with the two teams handing the game back and forth like a hot potato.

"We started well, then we kind of got back to our game of turning pucks over, trying to do too much and they were capitalizing," Edmonton right winger Jordan Eberle said after the Oilers blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the third period. "Their power play was the story -- we couldn't stop it. Three power-play goals pretty much writes the story."

The only thing missing on the first two Edmonton goals were gift wrapping. Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn sent a gentle pass to Oilers left winger Taylor Hall in the Philadelphia slot 32 seconds after the opening faceoff and it was 1-0 Edmonton.

At 4:02, Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins undressed Flyers defenseman Mark Streit and sent a long wrist shot at goaltender Steve Mason, who whiffed on it to give the Oilers two goals on four shots.

The Oilers disappeared after that, though.

The Flyers held them to seven shots in the next 36 minutes -- six of those minutes on the power play -- while cutting away at the Oilers' lead until it was gone.

The Flyers outshot Edmonton 14-3 in the second period and squared the score on back-to-back power-play goals from right winger Wayne Simmonds at 3:37 and 12:13.

Philadelphia handed Edmonton a 3-2 lead in the third period when defenseman Kimmo Timmonen took a penalty for tackling Oilers left winger Jesse Joensuu in the corner, leading to the go-ahead goal from right winger David Perron at 11:52.

Within moments, the Oilers handed it back, taking two penalties in 36 seconds, allowing Philadelphia left winger Scott Hartnell to tie it on the ensuing 5-on-3 power play.

Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was good until the shootout, where he was beaten by center Claude Giroux and Raffl to fall to 2-4-1 since joining the Oilers.

"I know they're not going to quit," Bryzgalov said of his former team. "I knew what was coming, I knew they were going to play hard and they were going to get lots of pucks to the net. That's the style they play -- aggressive.

"Playing back-to-back nights after three days off, it's not easy. I think we battled through and tried our best. It's great to get the point."

The game marked the first meeting between Bryzgalov and the team that bought out his contract last season.

"Any time a goalie switches teams, he's going to want to prove something to his old team," said Simmonds, who scored twice and has a team-high 12 goals this season. "We knew he was going to bring his 'A' game tonight."

NOTES: The Flyers were 4-10-1 when they met the Oilers on Nov. 9. They won that game 4-2 and went 12-6-3 in their next 21 games. ... Saturday marked the first game of a 12-day, six-city road trip for Philadelphia. After Edmonton, the Flyers visit Vancouver, Calgary, Colorado, Phoenix and New Jersey. ... Flyers RW Steve Downie, who missed two games with an upper-body injury, returned Saturday. ... Oilers C Sam Gagner shed the protective face shield he was forced to wear since breaking his jaw in the preseason. ... Oilers G Ilya Bryzgalov will make $1.6 million a year for the next 14 years as part of his buyout arrangement with the Flyers. In essence, he was being paid by both teams in Saturday night's game. ... Oilers RW Nail Yakupov owns the worst plus-minus in the NHL at minus-25. ... Edmonton LW Ryan Jones is still out with a concussion after colliding with a teammate in practice. ... Flyers C Claude Giroux extended his consecutive-game point streak to eight with his second-period assist.
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