COLUMBUS, Ohio – Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was angry.
His Columbus Blue Jackets counterpart, Scott Arniel, was encouraged.
Kyle Wilson scored his first NHL goal and Mathieu Garon stopped 28 shots to lead the Blue Jackets past the Flyers 2-1 on Monday night.
Later, Laviolette was still seething about his team’s effort—or lack thereof.
“It’s completely frustrating,” he said, staring straight ahead. “We got exactly what we deserved tonight. You don’t show up to compete, you don’t execute, you don’t play the game with energy and emotion, you’re going to lose all the time.”
Listless and slow most of the night, the Flyers—who have now lost four of five—didn’t really come alive until they were down 2-0 through two periods.
“The first 40 minutes there was nothing there,” Laviolette continued. “There was no jam to our game. We played mindless hockey without any energy, without any passion.”
That certainly wasn’t the case for the Blue Jackets, who had stunk up their home arena in two of their three previous games.
“It was a solid three periods and we came out early on and played hard,” said Arniel, now 5-3-0 in his rookie year as a head coach. “We did a good job of making them work on their end of the rink. We wanted to back up the good game we played in Chicago (a come-from-behind 3-2 victory on Saturday night) with another one. It’s a big step for this young team.”
Wilson, playing in his fifth career game, put the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 in the first.
Asked what he’ll tell his kids 20 years from now about his first NHL goal, he smiled and said: “I’ll probably embellish it a little bit. It didn’t matter how it was, it didn’t matter how it went in—off my face—I would have been happy with it.”
Derick Brassard converted a nice pass from Rick Nash for a 2-0 lead and Garon made the lead stand during a wild onslaught by the Flyers in the third period.
They outshot Columbus 12-4 in the final 20 minutes, even though the Blue Jackets had three power plays. Ville Leino scored his second goal of the year for the Flyers.
After Leino’s goal with 5:01 left, the Flyers turned up the heat. They pulled Brian Boucher, who had 23 saves, for the extra attacker with 95 seconds left. But they never really came close to getting the tying goal.
“The guys were always in a good spot, taking care of rebounds,” said Garon, 2-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average while filling in for Steve Mason. “We didn’t give up many 2-on-1s or 3-on-2s. We played a solid game as a team defensively. That’s how we want to play.”
Midway through the first period, Chris Clark carried the puck down the left wing, fought off Philadelphia defenceman Chris Pronger and pivoted to get off a shot from the left dot in front of defenceman Matt Carle. Boucher made a blocker save, but the rebound came back toward Clark. At almost the same time he got to the puck, Wilson, who was crashing the net, one-timed it for the goal.
“He pulled up and took a nice, hard shot,” Wilson said of Clark. “I was just going to the net hard. It was one of those chances where the puck just came out in the right place at the right time for me and I was able to get it back on net.”
After a penalty-free first period, Columbus took advantage of the Flyers’ first trip to the box.
With Danny Briere in for hooking, the Blue Jackets kept the puck in the offensive zone for a minute and a half before Nash, stationed at the right goal-line, slipped a pass under a diving Kimmo Timmonen that went tape-to-tape to Brassard for the one-knee, one-timer from in close on the left.
“Honestly, I didn’t see the puck coming,” Brassard said. ‘It was right on my tape and I had an open net.”
Notes: Flyers D Sean O’Donnell played his 1,100th career NHL game. … The Blue Jackets were 1 for 5 on the power play while Philadelphia was 0 for 2. … It was the 400th career game for Columbus’ R.J. Umberger, who played his first 228 games for Philadelphia. … Marc Methot has assists in his last three games for the Blue Jackets.