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Simmonds' loyalty to Flyers teammates could be costly

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When one of his teammates needs assistance, Wayne Simmonds needs to use restraint the rest of the season.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When one of his teammates needs assistance, Wayne Simmonds needs to use restraint the rest of the season.

If not, the Flyers' second-line right winger will find himself missing two-plus games, based on the NHL's instigator rule.

For the second time in three games, Simmonds took exception to a teammate's getting kneed and went after the perpetrator Saturday in Columbus.

Simmonds also got 17 minutes in penalties (again), including two minutes for being the instigator.

According to NHL rules, a third instigator penalty will result in a game misconduct for that matchup, along with a two-game suspension.

Simmonds came to Michael Raffl's aid Tuesday after he was kneed by Carolina's Brad Malone. On Saturday, he went after Brandon Dubinsky for leveling Jake Voracek into the boards with his knee.

"Jake had him beat clearly, and he did it on purpose," said Simmonds, who was fuming after the game that Dubinsky received just a two-minute penalty for the infraction.

Entering Sunday, Simmonds was second in the NHL with 82 penalty minutes.

"I'm always there for my teammates, no matter what," said Simmonds, the Flyers' third-leading scorer. "If it takes me sitting out 20 minutes to let the guys know I have their backs, I'll do it."

But if he is called for another instigator penalty, he won't be there for his teammates for a few games.

Blues in town

The Flyers (14-12-7), on a 7-2-2 run, are trying to go into the holiday break feeling good about themselves.

They will host St. Louis (20-10-4) on Monday in their final game before the break. The Flyers will practice Tuesday, then have a three-day break before heading to the West Coast for a three-game road trip.

Eleven nights ago, the Flyers registered an impressive, 4-2 victory in St. Louis as Claude Giroux collected three points and Michal Neuvirth made 35 saves.

Neuvirth and Steve Mason form one of the league's most dependable goaltending duos.

Neuvirth, whose trade value has never been higher, leads the NHL with a .937 save percentage. Mason has steadied himself and played extremely well as the Flyers have picked up three out of a possible four points in their last two games - a 2-0 win over Vancouver, and a 3-2 shootout loss in Columbus.

Mason made 36 and 35 saves, respectively, in those games. In the shootout, he stopped four of six shots.

"He's battling and making saves that not a lot of goalies can make," Giroux said.

The Flyers gave the Blue Jackets six power plays, taking the visitors out of their offensive rhythm.

"That's one thing we need to get better with as a team," Giroux said. "It starts with me, I think. We need to not get too frustrated at the refs. We need to focus on our game."

The Flyers have committed 130 minor penalties. Only Columbus, St. Louis, and Winnipeg have been called for more.


Giroux is pointless in three straight games for the first time this season. He leads the Flyers with 28 points, seven ahead of Voracek. . . . Coach Dave Hakstol considered using rookie Shayne Gostisbehere in Saturday's shootout, but decided to go with more experienced players.