After losing four straight, the Flyers will take any kind of win.
But Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia knows it won't win too many games with a sporadic effort like this one.
“There's winning and then there's winning in spite of how you play,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We have to sharpen up.”
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Danny Briere and Blair Betts also scored for the Flyers. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 shots.
The Flyers dominated the first period, outshooting Edmonton 17-1. They were outshot 24-9 the rest of the way, and needed some big saves from Bobrovsky.
“We lost our speed, turned the puck over and tried to be too cute,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We want to win all the games we play, but we want to do the right way.”
Jean-Francois Jacques scored for Edmonton, which is last in the West. The Oilers had won three in a row.
“It's one thing to respect your opponent, but it's another thing to respect them and stand still and watch them play. Ultimately, we got our legs under us when the horse was out of the barn,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. “The fact of the matter is we came out in the second and third period and outchanced that team 12-5, but they're up three goals so game, set, and match.”
The slumping Flyers had seen their lead in the East shrink from double digits to just two points. Laviolette gave the team off Monday after a 7-0 loss at the New York Rangers. Philadelphia was outscored 12-1 in the previous two games after taking a 2-0 lead against Buffalo on Saturday.
The rest paid off. Players looked fresh early and the Flyers dominated the first period.
They could've started with six skaters because the Oilers didn't register a shot until 1:15 remained in the first, and it took a power play for Edmonton to get something going.
The Oilers were unbeaten (6-0-1) in their last seven games against the Flyers, and hadn't lost in Philadelphia since Nov. 9, 2000.
But this isn't nearly the same rivalry it used to be in the 1980s when Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Grant Fuhr helped Edmonton beat the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals twice in a three-year span.
Briere scored on a breakaway midway through the opening period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. He took a pass from Matt Carle near the blue line, skated alone down the middle and fired a wrister past goalie Devan Dubnyk. Briere snapped an eight-game goal-less drought with his 29th of the season.
“It's been a while,” Briere said. “I couldn't remember the feeling it was so long ago.”
Carter's power-play goal late in the first made it 2-0. He slipped a centering pass from Briere through Dubnyk's legs. Carter put the Flyers up 3-0 in the second period with his 30th goal. Kimmo Timonen set it up with a perfect pass to Carter in the slot.
Less than a minute later, the Oilers cut it to 3-1 when Jacques deflected a shot by Ladislav Smid past Bobrovsky.
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