PITTSBURGH - After another gallant Flyers comeback, after the scrums, the penalties, the coaches standing atop the boards and shouting insults as if they were Jerry Springer guests, winger Wayne Simmonds looked like a boxer who had been soundly beaten in a 15-round fight.
His right eye was so swollen on Sunday afternoon that he could barely open it.
The eye problem had more to do with his taking a puck to the face on Saturday - and scoring a goal on the play, no less - than with his late-game bout with Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland.
"You should have seen him before the game," linemate Brayden Schenn said, admiringly, after the Flyers overcame another two-goal deficit and whipped the hated Penguins, 6-4, in the visitors' new favorite arena, the Consol Energy Center. "He couldn't really see out of his eye, but he started icing it, and by game time, he had the swelling down a bit and was able to get the eye open. And then you see him score a goal and at the end, he's getting into a fight with their tough guy."
Simmonds scored the pivotal goal in the Flyers' victory, enabling them to climb within a point of the Penguins in the battle for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Taking a slick feed from the blossoming Jakub Voracek (17 goals, a new career high), Simmonds slammed home a power-play goal from the doorstep - his office desk, if you will - to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead early in the third period. They never trailed the rest of the way.
Simmonds, whose drive seems to personify the team, said he never considered sitting out Sunday's game.
"Oh, no. Not at all. It's just my eye," he said. "It closed up a little bit, but I put some ice on it and got back there and ready to play."
Claude Giroux, who had a goal and two assists, knows that Simmonds' relentless style has helped give the Flyers an identity.
"He's a warrior. I mean, he fights Engelland - and he's one of the toughest guys in the league," Giroux said. "Guys were kind of worried a little bit on the bench that he would get hit in the same spot, but he did a good job."
The late-game scrums that produced 15 penalties for 52 minutes - and an amusing exchange between the coaches - overshadowed another head-scratching start for the Flyers.
Lately, the Flyers have been both maddening and exhilarating.
Maddening: They have fallen behind, 2-0, in six of their last nine games.
Exhilarating: They have rallied to tie the score - or take the lead - five of the last six times they have been behind, 2-0. They have won two of those games, both against their pals from the western part of the state.
Sunday marked the 10th time this season the Flyers had overcome a deficit of two or more goals and earned at least a point.
"We've been down almost all year, except for the first 20 games," winger Scott Hartnell said with a laugh. "We have to be focused at the start. We can't expect to win those games when you get down one, two, or three to nothing."
"We've been the Comeback Kids, but at the same time, it's not something we're really proud of," said Max Talbot, the former Penguin who notched his 19th goal. "It's not a good stat to always give up the first or second goal. We need to work on that, because in the playoffs, it can bite you."
Ah, the playoffs. It almost certainly will be the Flyers facing the Penguins in the first round. Talbot and Jaromir Jagr against their old team. Giroux vs. Sidney Crosby. Rookie Sean Couturier trying to continue to get under the skin of Evgeni Malkin, the league's likely MVP.
"This is the team to beat right now - the Pittsburgh Penguins," Hartnell said. "They've got a lot of skill; they've got a lot of guys who can score. They have great D, and when [Marc-Andre] Fleury is on, he's one of the toughest goalies to beat."
But the Flyers seem to be in the Penguins' heads. They have won all five games in Pittsburgh since the Consol Energy Center opened two years ago. Which raises the question: Do the Flyers really want the home-ice advantage?