ST. PAUL, Minn. – Philadelphia’s offence continues to shine. Minnesota’s does not.
Danny Briere, Ville Leino and Andreas Nodl each had a goal and an assist, and the Flyers beat the Wild 6-1 on Wednesday night.
James van Riemsdyk, Jeff Carter and Jody Shelley also scored for Philadelphia, 12-2-1 in its past 15 games. The Flyers, tied with Washington atop the NHL standings with 32 points, entered with a league-best 3.5 goals per game. They have scored 39 goals in the past eight games.
“We’re working our cycles hard. We just try to shoot it as often as possible,” Nodl said. “We try to play with a little bit of an edge, drive the net and play physical. Right now, it just seems like things are going our way. It’s Hockey 101.”
Having depth doesn’t hurt, either.
Mike Richards, who had 11 points in his previous six games, was held scoreless, as was Claude Giroux, who had nine points in his prior seven.
“We don’t have an (Alexander) Ovechkin or a (Sidney) Crosby on our team,” Briere said. “If you look down our lineup, I think we can throw many waves at you that can be dangerous. We’re not an easy team to match up against because we have so much firepower up front.”
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 15 shots for his 12th win, one behind league-leading Carey Price of Montreal.
Bobrovsky sat out the previous two games after he allowed four goals in one period of last Thursday’s 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said the break should prove to be beneficial to the rookie goalie, physically and mentally.
“He didn’t have a lot of work, but he had to make some big saves,” Laviolette said.
Patrick O’Sullivan had the lone goal for Minnesota, which played without much spunk for the second straight game. The Wild lost 5-2 to the Rangers on Saturday.
The Wild were their own worst enemy early in the opening minutes.
Alone at the post, van Riemsdyk scored at 3:18 on his third whack at a loose puck that goalie Niklas Backstrom and defenceman Greg Zanon were trying to cover. The left wing scored the winning goal Monday against Montreal to end a 22-game scoreless drought.
A little more than two minutes later, Carter picked up a loose puck near the right boards, cut through the circle untouched, and put a backhander between Backstrom’s pads.
“We’re kind of losing our focus, and they’re capitalizing,” Wild centre John Madden said. “There’s some good things going on out there, but the good things have to outweigh the bad things, and right now we’re not getting enough good things.”
Minnesota entered 28th in the NHL with 2.42 goals per game, and the Wild offence didn’t generate a shot for nearly 19 minutes between the first and second periods before O’Sullivan scored.
O’Sullivan, claimed off waivers Tuesday from Carolina, was Minnesota’s second-round pick in the 2003 draft. He scored 47 goals for AHL Houston in the 2005-06 season, but was traded by the Wild for Pavol Demitra on June 24, 2006. O’Sullivan recorded 150 points in 290 games with Los Angeles, Edmonton and Carolina.
“It’s going to take a little bit for him to get a true feeling of how we want to play, and his teammates and get a read … but my first reaction is he was fine,” Wild coach Todd Richards said.
Briere scored in the final minute of the second, completing a give-and-go with Scott Hartnell to put the Flyers ahead 3-1.
Nodl scored on a short-handed breakaway, before Leino and Shelley scored in a 3:25 span midway through the third as Philadelphia blew open the game. The Flyers have scored at least five goals in nine games. Minnesota has scored five goals only once.
“We get a breakaway in the second period and don’t score. They get a breakaway in the third and they score,” Richards said. “We have a couple two-on-ones and don’t execute, don’t get shots. Going by the official stats, we had 17 missed shots.”
NOTES: Wild C James Sheppard, in his first public comments since fracturing his patella and having surgery on Sept. 4 following an ATV accident, said his rehabilitation is “going well.” There is no timetable for his return. … A slap shot by Giroux shattered a pane of glass along the side boards in the Minnesota end with 1:57 left in the first period. The teams went to their dressing rooms, and the remaining time was played before the second period. … Minnesota LW Matt Kassian, recalled from AHL Houston earlier Wednesday, fought Shelley less than two minutes into the game.