Simmonds scores 30th to lead Flyers past Islanders, 6-3

The Islanders lost their third straight in regulation to fall further back from the Bruins, who occupy the last playoff spot in the East.

After scoring a goal and assisting on another to help build the Flyers' 5-0 first-period lead, Simmonds fought Anders Lee, securing himself a Gordie Howe hat trick in the space of just one period.

The Islanders showed a lot more life in the second period, outshooting the Flyers 21-2 (the most shots Philadelphia has allowed in a period this season) and got a goal from Cal Clutterbuck past goalie Steve Mason at 3:14.

Dale Weise, Radko Gudas, Jordan Weal, Sean Couturier and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Flyers, who won their third straight.

"I scored one off my face once", Simmonds said, rejecting the notion it was the goal that hurt the most.

"It's old-time hockey", Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. If he were to play all 82 games, and continue scoring at this pace, he would have 36 points on the season, which would place him 5th on the club.

"You can't draw up a better start than that". Though the Isles challenged the goal, it stood, and Thomas Greiss was quickly yanked for Jaroslav Halak.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alex Stalock won his first National Hockey League start in over a year, Nino Niederreiter had two goals and Minnesota beat Ottawa to end a four-game skid.

"Hamonic kind of came over and asked me for a fight", Weise said.

The five first-period goals were the most this season in one period for Philadelphia. We're fighting for the playoffs. "When you stop that and start slapping the puck around everywhere and really stop moving our feet, that caused us to play the whole period in our own end and causing our goaltender to make a lot more saves than he has to".

Halak replaced Greiss after Gudas' goal but Weal made it 4-0 at 9:19, and Simmonds made it 5-0 with a power-play goal at 15:42. "I'm not sure if they were ready for us". Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic sustained an upper-body injury in the first period. Rick Tocchet did it in 11:02 in a 6-3 win over St. Louis on January 5, 1985. The Flyers have had their share of Gordie Howe hat tricks in their 50-year history, but Thursday marked just the third time two teammates had one in the same period. They close out the regular season with games against the Rangers, Devils, Blue Jackets and Hurricanes.

Flyers: Host the Devils on Saturday night. Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee watched the game from the press box.

  • Julie Sanders