Winnipeg’s wild win over the Philadelphia Flyers was so strange that Jets captain Andrew Ladd compared the action on the ice to a video game.
Ladd scored the game-winner with 1:06 remaining on a one-timer from close range to lift Winnipeg to an improbable 9-8 victory over the Flyers on Thursday night.
“It was like Blades of Steel out there,” Ladd said, referring to the once popular hockey video game which often featured impossibly high-scoring games.
On a night when all five Canadian teams in action were victorious, including the Edmonton Oilers’ 2-1 win over previously unbeaten Washinton, the Jets-Flyers game left even the winning team at a loss to explain what went on.
“It’s the strangest game I’ve been a part of, it was like an NFL game,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “We can’t make a lot of logic out of what we did there.”
“I thought to myself, ‘Self, you’re a sick man trying to make logic of this,'” Noel added. “I had the rosary out, I had everything going tonight.”
Fifteen players scored in the wide-open game in which both clubs set season highs for goals scored and goals allowed, and the Jets tied a franchise record for goals in a game.
Asked if he learned anything about his team, Noel joked, “You learn you might need a sports psychologist just to manage the brain of the coach.”
Elsewhere in the NHL it was: Toronto 4 New York Rangers 2; Montreal 2 Boston 1; Ottawa 4 Florida 3; Pittsburgh 3 New York Islanders 2 (SO); Buffalo 4 Columbus 2; Anaheim 3 Minnesota 2; Nashville 5 Tampa Bay 3; and Phoenix 5 New Jersey 3.
At Philadelphia, Flyers forwards Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk were the only multiple goal scorers with two apiece. Kimmo Timonen had four assists and Scott Hartnell added a goal and assist. Claude Giroux and Max Talbot also scored for Flyers.
Nik Antropov and Tanner Glass each had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Evander Kane and Alex Burmistrov each added a goal and an assist and Blake Wheeler had three assists for Winnipeg.
“I have never been part of that and hopefully I never am again,” Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian said. “It’s good that we battled hard and then won, but there were probably a lot more negatives in that game than positives.”
Of his game-winning goal, Ladd said, “We kind of got a good cycle down low. (Wheeler) was able to find me in front.”
It was a rough night for the goaltenders, as both starters were pulled and the backups didn’t fare much better.
Winnipeg starter Ondrej Pavelec allowed seven goals on 43 shots and was forced to re-enter the game after his backup, Chris Mason, left with an apparent groin injury with 8:20 left in the third period. Mason gave up one goal on five shots.
Flyers backup goalie Sergei Bobrovsky started the game, but was pulled early in the second period after surrendering five goals on 15 shots. Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia’s usual starter, relieved Bobrovsky and gave up four goals on 10 shots.
Bryzgalov blamed himself for the defeat, calling it the low point of his career.
“I have zero confidence in myself right now,” he said. “I am terrible. (The offence) scores eight goals and we are still losing. It’s obviously a terrible goalie and that’s me.
“I am the reason we lost the game tonight. I am lost in the woods right now.”
Briere, however, said the loss couldn’t be pinned on the goalies.
“I don’t think it’s right to blame one guy,” he said. “There were breakdowns left and right. We were all responsible for goals here and there.”
Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette agreed.
“You go goal by goal and you talk about it, but there’s different reasons,” he said. “The bottom line is it isn’t good enough. You’ll never win any games (allowing nine goals). Well, the majority of the time you won’t win many games when you have to score 10. We’ll go back and we’ll work on everything.”
The Flyers came within striking distance of the club mark for goals, and both teams were close to marks for goals allowed.
The 17 goals matched a Philadelphia record for combined goals in a game. And the Flyers hadn’t allowed nine in a game since Oct. 23, 1993, when the former Winnipeg Jets did it.
Incredibly, the teams combined for five goals in the first 4:31 of the third period.
The most goals the Flyers ever have allowed in a game was 12 on Jan. 30, 1969, against Chicago. Philadelphia’s franchise record for goals in a game is 13.
The Jets tied their mark for goals in a game set Nov. 12, 2005, at Carolina when they scored nine as the Atlanta Thrashers. The club mark for goals allowed in a game is 10, set Jan. 18, 2008 at Buffalo.
The Flyers entered the final period trailing 6-4, but got within a goal, 1:09 into the third period when Briere scored on a rebound of Van Riemsdyk’s shot.
A little more than a minute later, the Flyers tied the game when Matt Read scored on a rebound of Andreas Lilja’s shot from the point.
The Jets then pulled Pavelec and replaced him with Mason, but it didn’t matter as Philadelphia went ahead 7-6 on Van Riemsdyk’s goal from the edge of the goal mouth after a pretty assist by Briere with 16:58 left in the game.
But the Jets tied it at 7-7 only 28 seconds later on Burmistrov’s tally, and went in front 1:01 after that on Mark Stuart’s wrister from close range.
Pavelec re-entered the game with 8:20 remaining as Mason left with an apparent injury, but he couldn’t hold the lead as Van Riemsdyk tied the game at 8 with 3:39 left on a one-timer from close range.
“We have some things to feel good about,” Noel said. “The nine goals and the win, but you can’t play this way.”
Oilers 2 Capitals 1
At Edmonton, Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist and Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves and the Oilers handed the Capitals their first loss of the season.
Maple Leafs 4 Rangers 2
At New York, Joffrey Lupul and Clarke MacArthur scored 4:22 apart in the third period as Toronto broke open a tie game and spoiled the Rangers’ long-awaited return to renovated Madison Square Garden.
Canadiens 2 Bruins 1
At Boston, Tomas Plekanec put one in each net, making up for an own goal by scoring the tiebreaker with 9:14 remaining to give Montreal a victory over the Bruins.
Senators 4 Panthers 3
At Ottawa, Nick Foligno scored with 2.5 seconds left in the third period and the Senators extended their winning streak to four games with a victory over Florida.
Penguins 3 Islanders 2 (SO)
At Pittsburh, Evgeni Malkin’s shootout goal capped a rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period and the Penguins extended their winning streak to five with a victory over the Islanders.
Sabres 4 Blue Jackets 2
At Buffalo, N.Y., tookie goalie Jhonas Enroth made 41 saves, Jason Pominville had two goals and an assist, and the Sabres sent sliding Columbus to another defeat.
Ducks 3 Wild 2
At St. Paul, Minn., Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf each had a power-play goal and an assist, and Teemu Selanne totalled three assists to help the Ducks hold on to beat the Wild and snap a three-game winless streak.
Predators 5 Lightning 3
At Nashville, Tenn., Mike Fisher scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Predators to a victory over Tampa Bay.
Coyotes 5 Devils 3
At Glendale, Ariz., Ray Whitney had two goals and an assist, helping the Coyotes bounce back from a disheartening loss with a win over the Devils.