Couturier scores twice, Flyers rout Columbus 9-2
PHILADELPHIA – With Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr leading the way, everyone knows the Flyers can score.
The Columbus Blue Jackets learned the hard way what happens when nearly every key Philadelphia skater scores in the same game.
Giroux and Jagr scored during a five-goal first period, helping the Flyers rout Columbus 9-2 on Saturday night.
Sean Couturier scored twice for the Flyers and five other players had goals. James van Riemsdyk, Max Talbot and Jakub Voracek also scored in the first, giving Philadelphia three fewer goals (five) than total shots for Columbus (eight).
The Flyers piled on in the second, with Wayne Simmonds and Matt Carle scoring 20 seconds apart to make it 8-0. Philadelphia scored nine goals in a game for the first time since Feb. 6, 1997, against Montreal
"Things just seemed to be clicking out there," van Riemsdyk said. "I don't know, we were making good passes up and down the ice and making smart plays with the puck. When you do that, it makes the game look a lot easier out there."
Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason was yanked late in the first period after allowing three goals on 12 shots. Allen York gave up two goals on five shots and was replaced by Mason in the second.
For a game, at least, the Flyers were the big winners in the offseason trade that sent leading scorer Jeff Carter to Columbus. Carter is sidelined with a broken foot and has only three assists in five games this season. Philadelphia obtained Voracek, who had an assist during the first-period rampage, and first- and third-round draft picks. The Flyers used their first-rounder on the 18-year-old Couturier and he already has five goals.
Carter's No. 17 now belongs to Simmonds and he has three goals.
The Flyers entered with a league-high 47 goals.
The NHL-worst Blue Jackets were dominated from the opening faceoff. Van Riemsdyk returned from a one-game absence with a lower-body injury to score 1:38 into the game.
From there, it seemed every Flyers player took advantage of his shot to pad his stats.
Jagr caught a break on the power play when the puck appeared to shoot off a Columbus skate, crediting him with his fifth goal. Voracek made a nice feed to Talbot, who attacked the net and pounded the puck past Mason.
That made it 3-0 and Mason was finished — at least for the period. He was replaced in a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Thursday night.
The switch didn't matter. Giroux scored his ninth goal of the season and Columbus called a timeout. The break didn't matter. Voracek scored with 35 seconds left in the first.
Voracek was excited after beating his former team for the goal, pumping his fist and flashing a wide smile. He said this week he had something to prove after Columbus coach Scott Arniel said a lack of conditioning had kept Voracek from breaking into elite status.
"I would have liked to talk to him about it more," Voracek said. "He said that in April and I respect him as a coach. I mean, this is my new lifestyle and my new hockey team."
Beats playing for his old one. Mason returned for the second period and his numbers were worse — three goals on 10 shots.
Couturier scored a short-handed goal to start the second, capping a nice trio for the Flyers. They also had even-strength and power-play goals.
Simmonds scored and the arena announcement was interrupted by Carle's goal that made it 8-0 only 20 seconds later.
"As I was saying," public address announcer Lou Nolan said to a laughing, sellout crowd, "Flyers goal was scored by No. 17, Wayne Simmonds."
This really was a laugher for Philadelphia.
After the second period, the Flyers staff needed 20 minutes in the third just for research. They found:
— The Flyers had eight players score in a game for the fifth time. It was the first time since Oct. 23, 1983, in an 8-5 win vs. Toronto.
— The Flyers led by eight goals after the second period for the first time since Oct. 18, 1984, vs. Vancouver. They led 9-1 after two and won 13-2.
— The Flyers led 5-0 after one period for the first time since April 3, 2009, vs. Toronto. They led 5-0 and won 8-5.
Derek Dorsett spoiled the shutout with a goal against Ilya Bryzgalov late in the third period. Bryzgalov faced only 14 shots through two periods and was never really pressured by the hapless Blue Jackets. Grant Clitsome scored in the final minutes to make it 9-2.
"This is definitely embarrassing for us as a team. It's tough times right now," Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash said. "Guys are embarrassed of our effort that we put out for the coaching staff, the management. It's just not good enough."
NOTES: Flyers D Chris Pronger (eye) skated with a visor this week and could return Wednesday at Tampa Bay. ... Jagr has a seven-game points streak. Giroux has a five-game streak. ... The Flyers entered ranked second in goals per game (3.62).