PHILADELPHIA (AP) New Jersey rookie Luke Hughes was clobbered from behind, and he clutched his left arm on a hit that got a Flyers forward tossed. Hughes appeared in agony as he hunched over and skated to the locker room. The defenseman was even examined for a concussion.
Hughes turned out fine - his head, his arm and especially his shot.
Hughes took a perfect pass from older brother Jack Hughes - not quite the brotherly love Philly needed - and scored 28 seconds into overtime, leading the Devils to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Thursday night.
“I thought he showed a lot of determination,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “We didn’t know if he was gonna get back, he took one heck of a hit. So to get back, play the way he did, compete the way he did, I don’t think he was 100 percent, but wanted to the finish the game.”
Luke Hughes - who said the hit was just a brief stinger - took a bow as he skated into the waiting mob of Devils teammates.
“Resilient win for our guys,” Hughes said.
Alexander Holtz, Jack Hughes and Tyler Toffoli scored in regulation for New Jersey. Akira Schmid had 44 saves.
The Devils closed it out in OT after they coughed up a 3-1 lead in the third period.
Sean Walker gave the Flyers a shot when his fourth goal with 5 minutes left cut it to 3-2. Tyson Foerster tied it with 50.9 seconds to go, recording their second power-play goal of the game after the Flyers entered with seven on the season.
The Flyers fell to 0-10-1 when the other team scores first.
Under second-year coach John Tortorella, the Flyers have played above the expectations set for a franchise expected to be among the worst in the NHL. They have 11 wins in 23 games, and entered fourth in the Metropolitan Division. They built that record on the strength of an 11-1-0 mark when they score first - the league winning percentage this season for teams that score first is trending at about 70% overall.
Consider, the Devils are a eh-not-so bad 7-8-1 when trailing 1-0.
Allowing that first goal has been trouble for Philly.
The woeful power play has only hindered any comeback attempts. The Flyers entered with a puny seven power-play goals on 71 attempts, and no lineup combination had been able to fix the issue.
But after Hughes scored his eighth goal for a 2-0 lead, the Flyers actually managed a power-play goal. Philadelphia pounded Schmid with 23 shots in the second period, and Morgan Frost's third goal of the season made the Flyers 8 for 73 with the man advantage.
“Hopefully, we just keep on finding our way,” Tortorella said. “You could sense that we at least had an opportunity to get back into the game."
Hughes had scored with 4:48 left in the first, then only moments later watched Luke get rocked by Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway. The 20-year-old Hughes was shaken up but, after an exam and intermission, returned in the second. Hathaway wasn’t so lucky. He got socked with a game misconduct.
“After you take a hit like that it might be easy just because you’re sore to pull yourself from the game,” Ruff said. “But to stay with it and be part of the group to help us win the hockey game, a hell of an effort by the young man.”
Hughes' arm didn't seem to bother him on the winner.
“I just beat my man up the ice and it's pretty easy to put it in the net when it's right in your wheelhouse,” he said.
Holtz snapped in his seventh goal of the season for a 1-0 lead 3:10 into the game and Toffoli beat Carter Hart on a power-play goal early in the third for a 3-1 lead.
Hart stopped 31 shots for the Flyers.
Devils: Host the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.
Flyers: Play Saturday night at Pittsburgh.
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