Flyers beat Blackhawks in Timonen's return
The enigmatic Flyers upstaged Kimmo Timonen's emotional return to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night. Wayne Simmonds scored his 100th goal as a Flyer, Claude Giroux netted his first even-strength home tally of the season, and Steve Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 victory over the powerful Chicago Blackhawks at the Wells Fargo Center.
The enigmatic Flyers upstaged Kimmo Timonen's emotional return to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night.
Wayne Simmonds scored his 100th goal as a Flyer, Claude Giroux netted his first even-strength home tally of the season, and Steve Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots in a 4-1 victory over the powerful Chicago Blackhawks at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers, who snapped a four-game losing streak, are 9-1-4 in their last 14 games against teams in playoff position. Conversely, they are 0-6-3 in their last nine games against teams that were not in playoff position when they met.
"At this point, winning still feels good, but it's a sobering feeling where we are in the standings," Mason said.
More sobering news: Simmonds and defenseman Andrew MacDonald suffered season-ending injuries when hit by third-period shots. Simmonds was hit on his left leg by a shot taken by teammate Mark Streit, and MacDonald appeared to get hit on his right hand by a Chicago shot.
Simmonds collected his 28th goal, one shy of equaling his career high.
Jake Voracek collected an assist and moved into a tie for the NHL lead with 74 points.
The Flyers have won 11 straight regular-season games against the Blackhawks since 1996.
With Chicago on the game's first power play, Andrew Shaw deflected Duncan Keith's point drive past Mason with 17 minutes, 36 seconds left in regulation, getting the Blackhawks within 3-1. But Michael Raffl's power-play goal iced the win with 4 minutes, 5 seconds to play.
With 10:54 left in the opening period and a stoppage in play, a Kimmofest erupted.
Highlights of Timonen's superb Flyers career were shown on the scoreboard. Players from both sides watched the video and tapped their sticks on the ice or sideboards in tribute to the gritty little Finn. Timonen, with the fans standing and giving him an ovation that lasted nearly two minutes, skated around the ice and waved his stick in appreciation.
"Kimmo . . . Kimmo . . . Kimmo," the fans chanted as No. 44, looking out of place in a Blackhawks jersey, again raised his stick to salute the fans.
"It was kind of tear-jerking, a little bit," Simmonds said of the video.
Giroux scored his first even-strength goal at home since March 28, a span of 40 games. He tipped in Jake Voracek's right-wing pass with 6:02 left in the second to make it 3-0.
Ryan White had put the Flyers ahead, 2-0, by redirecting Carlo Colaiacovo's one-timer from the point with 12:51 to play in the second period. It was White's fifth goal - all in the last 18 games.
Earlier, after a defensive-zone turnover by Chicago's Marian Hossa, Simmonds took a slick cross-ice pass from Matt Read and one-timed a right-circle drive past Corey Crawford, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 12:40 left in the first period.
A strong forecheck by Simmonds, Read (two assists), and Sean Couturier led to the goal.
"It was a great play by everyone on the ice," Simmonds said after scoring his 28th goal - one away from equaling his career high.
Earlier in the day, Timonen chatted with some of his ex-Flyers teammates before their morning skate.
"It's only been three weeks," said Timonen, who actually was traded to the Blackhawks about four weeks ago for a couple of draft picks who could become second-rounders, "but it feels like it's been longer."
Timonen, 40, who spent eight years with the Flyers, missed most of the season with blood clots. On Wednesday, he played in his 10th game - all with the Blackhawks - and he has been trying to shake off the rust.
Timonen, who spent time with his family at his Haddonfield home before heading to the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday, said his return to action has been "a process, and I still have a long way to go."
Timonen played 17:25, blocked two shots, and was named the game's third star.
In his first nine games with Chicago, Timonen had no points and was minus-2. He was averaging 12:27 of time per game, and 41 seconds per game on the power play. Chicago was 7-1-1 with him in the lineup.
"If you look at two or three months back, I wasn't even supposed to play, so every second I get on the ice, I'm happy with it," Timonen said.
Timonen is considered one of the top contenders for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who shows the most perseverance.