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Flyers beat Flames as Stolarz wins debut

After making some history and winning his long-awaited NHL debut Sunday night, goalie Anthony Stolarz was in a jovial mood.

After making some history and winning his long-awaited NHL debut Sunday night, goalie Anthony Stolarz was in a jovial mood.

"I just wanted to go out there and give our team a chance to win," said Stolarz, who made 29 saves as the Flyers whipped Calgary, 5-3, before an appreciative crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. "I didn't care if I gave up one, two, three, four, six - well obviously, I didn't want to give up six - but the main thing for me was just getting the win."

Stolarz made a few mistakes but was mostly solid in the net as he became the first New Jersey-born goalie to play in an NHL game and helped the Flyers stop a two-game losing streak.

"It's something special for him, and it makes it special for us," left winger Michael Raffl said after tying the score late in the first period.

"He looked very calm and made himself big in the net," right winger Jake Voracek said.

Stolarz, a 22-year-old rookie who grew up in Jackson, N.J., had to share the story line with Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Chris VandeVelde, and Roman Lyubimov, each of whom had a goal and an assist.

Voracek snapped a six-game streak without a point. Simmonds joined Edmonton's Connor McDavid, Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov, and Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele as the only NHL players in double figures in goals (11) and assists (10).

Lyubimov, a healthy scratch the previous seven games, had the first two-point performance of his young NHL career, and VandeVelde had his first two-point game of the season.

The 6-foot-6 Stolarz, who became the tallest goalie to ever play for the Flyers, overcame a shaky start (T.J. Brodie's shorthanded goal) as he settled into a groove and made several difficult stops.

Stolarz patiently waited his turn. Over the last few seasons, he was recalled from the AHL's Phantoms seven times and was the backup in 26 games before finally making an NHL appearance.

After allowing a shorthanded goal that gave the Flames an early 1-0 lead, "I started to calm down a little bit and the jitters went away," Stolarz said. ". . . Once I was able to fight through that and make a couple saves, I kind of got on a little roll."

The crowd gave Stolarz numerous thundering ovations, whether it was after a key save or when he was shown on the big scoreboard.

"It's exciting to finally be able to play a game in front of this crowd," Stolarz said. "It's one of the loudest crowds in the league, and for them to give me an ovation like that means a lot."

With a little over two minutes left in the opening period, Voracek circled behind the net and his pass deflected off Brodie's stick to Raffl, who got position on defenseman Dennis Wideman and backhanded a point-blank shot past Chad Johnson.

Voracek, VandeVelde, and Simmonds scored in the first 7 minutes, 44 seconds of the second period, giving the Flyers a 4-1 lead. Calgary never got closer than two goals the rest of the night.

Just like their first goal, the Flyers (10-10-3) got a fortuitous deflection on their second tally, Voracek's eighth of the season and just his second in the last 12 games.

From a bad angle deep in the right circle, Voracek appeared to be trying to thread a pass to a streaking Simmonds in front, but the puck deflected off defenseman Mark Giordano's stick and over Johnson's right shoulder 52 seconds into the middle period.

Claude Giroux helped set up the goal, enabling him to move past Simon Gagne and into 10th place on the franchise's all-time assist list. It was Giroux's 366th career assist.

The Flyers came in swarms most of the night, outshooting the Flames, 43-32.

Brayden Schenn, demoted to the fourth line, hustled behind the net and helped harass Johnson into a bad clearing pass to help set up the third goal - Lyubimov's feed deflected off VandeVelde's skate and into the net.

Three Flyers goals, three deflections that went the Orange and Black's way.

Twenty-four seconds after VandeVelde's second goal in as many games, Simmonds scored on a breakaway to put the Flyers ahead, 4-1.

Defenseman Michael Del Zotto, a healthy scratch the previous three games, aided the attack with an assist. The Flyers' defensemen have 62 points, tops among NHL blueliners.