Flyers Notes: Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, Sides for Line Combinations

When it comes to goals, 30 is considered a pretty decent mile-marker in the NHL.
 
For Wayne Simmonds, it was a pretty painful one too on Thursday night during the Flyers' 6-3 win over the Islanders at Wells Fargo Center (see game recap).
 
"Nah, I scored another one with my face once," Simmonds said. "That one [tonight] hurt pretty good, though."
 
Simmonds' 30th came on the power play in the first period as the Flyers opened up a 5-0 gap on the Isles. It was his 16th power-play goal of the season.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere's rocket from the left point hit Simmonds on his right knee, then caromed past goalie Jaroslav Halak.
 
"You never think you'll score five goals in a period, but I think we did the right things and we played well," Simmonds said.
 
"I wish we played that way the second period. I think the second period was a down period for us, but the first was great."
 
Simmonds also had his fourth-career Gordie Howe hat trick that same first period with an assist and a fight (decision) against Anders Lee.
 
Two Gordies in one period was a club record -- Dale Weiss fought Travis Hamonic.
 
"I thought it was pretty cool, not lying," Simmonds said. "Weise, Schenner (Brayden Schenn) and (Sean) Couturier have been playing really well since they've been put together.
 
"I thought Weise did a really good job. Mine just kind of happened. I think it's great. It's good for the team."
 
Simmonds' career high was 32 goals last season.
 
"I think it's pretty hard to score 30 goals in this league. It's definitely nice," he said.
 
The records
Some info on the Flyers' big victory, courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau:

• Fastest Gordie Howe hat trick (Weise, 8:28) in Flyers history.

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• Fastest Gordie Howe hat trick (Weise, 8:28) in Flyers history.

• Fastest Gordie Howe hat trick in any NHL game since Nov. 27, 1985 when Kevin Dineen recorded one in 7:32 for Hartford.

• First occasion in team history for two Gordie Howe hat tricks in one period (Weise, Simmonds).

• Third occasion in team history for two Gordie Howe hat tricks in one game (others: Jan. 9, 1972 -- Bob Clarke, Gary Dornhoefer and Jan. 5, 1985 -- Lindsay Carson, Rick Tocchet). Tocchet's in that game was previously the Flyers' fastest Gordie Howe hat trick at 11:02.

• Second-career Gordie Howe hat trick for Weise.

• Fourth-career Gordie Howe hat trick for Simmonds.

• First-career three-point period for Couturier.

• First five-goal first period for the Flyers since Nov. 5, 2011 vs. Columbus (9-2 win).

• First five-goal period overall since Jan. 12, 2015 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (five goals in second period).

• Last time the Flyers scored four goals in 4:49 or less within one period was Nov. 29, 1998 vs. Vancouver (four goals in 4:33 in third period.
 
Left or right?
That's been the subject of some debate recently in terms of line combinations as it pertains to Weiss, who's been a right wing most of his NHL career, and Schenn, who's played every forward spot as a Flyer.
 
Some nights, you see Schenn, who is left-handed, on the left side. Others nights he's on the right wing and Weiss, who is right-handed, is on left.
 
Both players say not to overthink the matter and it doesn't have anything to do with matchups against the other side.
 
"On the forecheck, if we're on our off-side, it's easier for our D to get us the puck on the wall and I can make a play," Weiss said. "It's almost like, to be honest, I haven't played left wing until I came here this year and I almost prefer it defensively because of the way we play.
 
"It's easier. You are in the middle of the rink and can make plays, go to our weakside D or hit the center. When you are on your strong side, all you can do is eat the puck. Every D-man pinches in the NHL now.
 
"Every guy comes down the wall. I'm sitting there, the puck comes, all I can do is eat it and then we are hemmed into our own zone [on the breakout]. If we can, we want to be on our off-side."
 
Schenn has a different take.
 
"It's a straight-up read off me and Weiser," Schenn said. "It has nothing to do with matchups or positioning or anything like that. Sometimes I get stuck on the left or the right.
 
"We're both comfortable playing both positions. We kind of read off each other, look at each other. Don't read too much into this. I start on the right and he starts on the left and wherever we end up that shift, we just read off it."

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