(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
PHILADELPHIA -- It's been a while since the Flyers came out and took full control of a game right out of the gate. And as the New York Islanders came to town with their hopes at the last wild card spot in a tailspin, the Orange and Black had a chance to make up some ground.
They made a bold statement Thursday, with a resounding 6-3 win punctuated by a five-goal first period.
Dale Weise and Sean Couturier each struck within 1:19 for the Flyers (37-32-8), giving them a quick two-goal lead. Radko Gudas then drilled home a rocket from the point, and just over eight minutes into the first stanza, the Flyers were up 3-0. Though the Isles challenged the goal, it stood, and Thomas Greiss was quickly yanked for Jaroslav Halak.
Because no Flyers game can seemingly be complete without a Jordan Weal goal anymore, he tallied at 9:19 of the period. Wayne Simmonds followed up with 4:18 left in the period with his 30th of the season, giving him his second-consecutive 30-goal season.
Though the Flyers were dominant in the first 20 minutes, they came back to Earth once the second period started. The ice was tilted in the Isles' favor, with Steve Mason having to face 22 shots. He stood tall the whole way, though, only yielding one goal -- to Cal Clutterbuck.
Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd scored in the third to make it a 5-3 game and at least give the impression the Islanders (35-29-12) were coming back, but Valtteri Filppula mailed home an empty-netter to seal the 6-3 win.
In total, Mason stopped 38 Isles shots. Halak made 19 saves on 21 shots, while Greiss made five saves on eight shots.
There were a few moments that proved to be scary for the Flyers, as Claude Giroux took a stick to the face from Josh Ho-Sang that warranted a double-minor. Simmonds also hurt his knee on his goal, and limped off the ice. Both players returned to the ice before too long, though.
The win gives the Flyers three in a row for the first time since Jan. 22-26 -- just before the All-Star Break. It's also their first time scoring five in the first since Jan. 2015, in a game against Tampa Bay.
Both teams are now tied with 82 points in the push for the wild card, and sit four points behind Boston. With five games remaining for the Orange and Black, though, the playoffs are still a pipe dream.
The Flyers next return to the ice Saturday, closing out their three-game homestand against New Jersey.