Gagne scores in 1st game back with Flyers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Simon Gagne got very little sleep on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to rejoin the Philadelphia Flyers.
He should be able to get plenty of rest after a very successful return to the club on Wednesday night.
Claude Giroux scored 23 seconds in, and Gagne added a goal in his first game back with the Flyers since 2010, as Philadelphia rolled to a 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
Wayne Simmonds gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead less than four minutes after Giroux's quick strike, and Gagne scored his first goal of the season in the second period, one day after being reacquired by the Flyers from the Kings.
"It felt almost like I never left," said Gagne, who added an assist. "Just walking in the building before the game, knowing everyone. The nice welcome I got during the warm-up and after the first five minutes of the period. It's almost like coming back home.
"Everything started here."
Max Talbot stretched the advantage to 4-0 in the second, chasing goalie Braden Holtby to the bench just one day after his home shutout of Carolina. Talbot's slap shot hit the camera inside the net and quickly ricocheted out.
"Fourth goal was mine to have, but I have to put it behind me and move forward," Holtby said. "This is not what we wanted, obviously. But there are a lot of things we can learn from here."
Ilya Bryzgalov made 23 saves and was in line for a shutout until Joel Ward tipped in his own deflection with 2:09 left to cut the Capitals' deficit to 4-1.
Gagne, who will turn 33 this week, was acquired Tuesday from the defending champion Kings for a conditional draft pick. He appeared in his first game after being a healthy scratch for the past five games with the Kings.
Gagne hadn't scored since Nov. 17, 2011 — a span of 28 games. He missed the final 46 games of last season because of injury.
He quickly gave a jolt to the Flyers.
"He's a guy that's well known here and well loved," Talbot said. "It brought a lot of energy and passion to the game. He was making plays out there, so he definitely gave us a big momentum."
A highlight video of Gagne's first stint with the Flyers was shown during the first period, officially welcoming the popular forward back to Philadelphia, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2010.
He seemed unaware of the video, at first, but then acknowledged the cheering crowd with a half-wave. Gagne received a louder ovation when he took a pass from Brayden Schenn feed and slammed a shot past Holtby for a 3-0 lead.
The Flyers have trailed 1-0 in 12 of their 20 games this season, but Giroux and Scott Hartnell combined to give them an early lead on Wednesday.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 31709Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 22246Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 7126OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 6322Wild hogs continue to be a growing menace across Oklahoma
- 5037OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 4484Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 3553Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater