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Flyers outlast Panthers in OT for sixth straight win

You know you're on a certified roll when you play one of your worst periods in a couple of weeks, are thoroughly outplayed most of the night, and still extend your winning streak.

You know you're on a certified roll when you play one of your worst periods in a couple of weeks, are thoroughly outplayed most of the night, and still extend your winning streak.

Such is the state of Flyers hockey these days.

Jake Voracek, capitalizing on a Florida miscue, picked up a loose puck in front and scored with 8.6 seconds left in an electrifying overtime, giving the Flyers a 3-2 win over the Panthers at the reverberating Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.

The Flyers had ragged first and third periods, but thanks to Voracek's heroics, Wayne Simmonds' two goals, and Steve Mason's sensational goaltending, they recorded their sixth straight victory, their longest winning streak since 2011.

Florida, playing its second game in as many nights and ending a grueling six-game, 11-day road trip, dominated most of the game as it outshot the Flyers, 44-25. The Panthers had a 17-4 shots advantage in the third period.

But Mason, the NHL's No. 1 star of the week Monday, stole another win.

"I think Florida played an outstanding game," Voracek said. "They may have deserved better, but there were so many times this year that we outplayed teams and lost the game. . . . It's important if you don't play good hockey to win the game or at least get a point. That's how you make it into the playoffs."

Voracek, who hit the post earlier in the game, said he was exhausted when he capitalized on a turnover caused by Claude Giroux (two assists) and beat James Reimer on his seventh shot of the game.

"I was tired. It was a long hockey game, and three games in four [nights]," Voracek said. ". . . I couldn't overpower the guy and I lost the puck, and G made that turnover happen. I just spun around and I knew if I shot it quick, he wouldn't be able to get down."

Jussi Jokinen tied it at 2-2, converting a feed from Michael Matheson with 4:46 left in regulation. Mason had made numerous eye-opening, third-period saves before Jokinen's point-blank shot.

Simmonds had his second consecutive two-goal game. He has 15 goals, putting him tied for third in the NHL, and he leads the league with eight power-play goals, pending Tuesday's other results.

Fans around the league haven't noticed. In fan voting for the Metropolitan all-stars, Simmonds is an afterthought.

Simmonds tipped in Giroux's left-circle drive to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 9:52 left in the second period. It was the 28th multiple-goal game of his career - and his third power-play tally in the last two games.

Mason, making his 11th start in 12 games, stopped 42 of 44 shots, including a game-saver on Aaron Ekblad with 1:57 left in overtime. He made a sprawling stop on Jokinen's rebound with about 14 minutes left and the Flyers clinging to a 2-1 lead. It was his best save of the night and arguably the season.

"He's been amazing," Voracek said.

The 28-year-old goaltender kept the Flyers in the game during their listless first period. They were second to pucks, badly outshot (15-6), and looked out of sync for most of the 20 minutes.

So it was a moral victory that they headed into the second period tied at 1-1. Somehow.

"We were able to come through when we had to, but at the end of the day, we have to be better," said Mason, who equaled a personal best with his fifth straight win.

Simmonds tied it by scoring from just inside the blue line with 2:53 remaining in the first and the teams playing four on four.

Reimer, Florida's backup goalie, whiffed trying to catch Simmonds' long drive, which was fired with two defensemen near him.

"I think the puck hit the top of one of their defenseman's sticks. It was a lucky goal," Simmonds said.

Simmonds said the Flyers continually turned the puck over in the neutral zone in the first period because they were "trying to go for home-run plays. We have to have five-man units close together."

Injury-plagued Florida ended a 1-2-3 road trip, one in which head coach Gerard Gallant was curiously fired and replaced by Tom Rowe.