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(Thursday, December 19th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Columbus 4
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Claude Giroux scored the tying and winning goals in a 2:08 span to cap a five-goal third period which sent Philadelphia to a 5-4 win over Columbus in the opener of a home-and-home set.
"It's just that kind of game when you get the bounces, sometimes you don't get the bounces but we got them this time," said Giroux when asked if this was the kind of game where more was expected of a team captain.
Jakub Voracek, Braydon Coburn and Erik Gustafsson also picked up a tally in the frenzied final frame for the Flyers, who earned their eighth straight home victory with a spirited comeback.
Steve Mason faced his former club for the first time and made 25 saves.
"Yeah it was not exactly how I drew it up on the board but you know sometimes your team comes through for you and that feels great," Mason admitted.
Cam Atkinson, Jack Skille and Nick Foligno tallied for the Blue Jackets, who blew leads of 3-0 and 4-2 to remain winless in six tries at Philadelphia since entering the league for the 2000-01 season.
Curtis McElhinney was victimized five times on 39 shots in defeat.
"I'm extremely disappointed in how we mismanaged the game," said Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "We should be angry and upset after this. At least I hope our players are."
These clubs meet in Ohio's capital on Saturday.
Voracek wheeled from behind the net and scored high to the far side at 4:20 of the third and the hosts trailed 3-1. Just over a minute later, Coburn's contested shot from the blue line short-hopped McElhinney before hitting the back of the net.
Columbus re-established a two-goal edge at 8:35. A shot which was deflected into the air might have hit the safety netting, but there was no whistle, and Artem Anisimov chased down the puck and fed in front for Blake Comeau's tally that appeared to give the visitors an iron-clad advantage.
But Gustafsson moved in from the point and converted a Wayne Simmonds rebound to make it 4-3 on a delayed penalty call with 4:39 to play and Giroux followed up to tap a loose puck home at the right post less than a minute later.
A turnaround backhander in tight from the right side gave Giroux 100 career goals and his team a surprising 5-4 edge with 1:38 on the clock.
"I was right in front and I thought he was just going to shoot it back door for a rebound but I saw it in slow motion go into the top corner," said Flyers forward Scott Hartnell. "I was like 'Oh my gosh. That should be top on Sports Center tonight.'"
McElhinney was called to the bench on the next shift, and Matt Read drew a hooking call on a try to the empty net a minute later to derail any comeback hopes.
"We blew an outstanding chance to win a game," said Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. "I thought we got lucky in the first period to get out of that 1-0, but we played well in the second, set ourselves up for a great opportunity in the third period to win a game on the road. We blew it."
Atkinson fired away from the left wing off a 2-on-1 short-handed break and beat Mason with 4:44 to play in the opening period.
McElhinney had to be on his game while dealing with three Flyers power plays, and he stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first.
Skille ripped a shot past Mason from the right wing off a 2-on-1 break and it was 2-0 for the Blue Jackets at 4:44 of the second. Columbus reached a three- goal margin with 11 seconds showing when a Foligno chance squeezed through Mason's pads and over the goal line.
Thursday marked the first time since March 2, 2010 (7-2 win in Tampa) that Philly scored five goals in the third period ...The Flyers had not won eight straight on home ice since Dec. 9, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009 ... Thanks to a pair of assists, Giroux recorded a season-high four points, which also marked the first time in his career the four points came in a single period ... Despite an apparent upper-body injury suffered on Tuesday on a hit by Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals, Brayden Schenn returned to the Philly lineup. Wilson was not subjected to supplemental discipline, according to the NHL's department of player safety ... Voracek extended his scoring streak to six games (6G, 4A) ... Atkinson netted his first career short-handed goal in his 97th NHL game ... Columbus tied a single-period season-high with 18 shots in the second.
12/19 23:17:32 ET