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The Sports Xchange, Published December 23 2013

Flyers give Wild their third straight loss

PHILADELPHIA – Right winger Wayne Simmonds scored two goals, goaltender Steve Mason made 26 saves, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Monday night to extend their home winning streak to nine games.

Defenseman Luke Schenn and center Claude Giroux also had goals for the Flyers (17-16-4).

Center Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild (20-14-5). Minnesota lost its third game in a row.

The Flyers last won nine in a row at the Wells Fargo Center during the 2005-06 season. They won’t get a chance to make it 10 for a while, as they play their next six games on the road before returning home to face the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 8.

The Wild learned about 20 minutes before the game that left winger Zach Parise wouldn’t play because of a lower-body injury. Parise is tied for the team lead with 27 points, and he is second in goals with 15.

He was missed.

Schenn gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 52 seconds into the game when he pinched into the offensive zone and fired a one-timer past goalie Niklas Backstrom (27 saves).

Simmonds made it 2-0 on a power-play goal midway through the first, scoring on a pretty, tic-tac-toe move with Giroux and right winger Jakub Voracek.

Granlund cut it to 2-1 when he scored on a one-timer during a two-man advantage late in the first.

The Flyers regained their two-goal cushion on Giroux’s goal at 7:46 of the second. Voracek set up it by winning a battle for the puck along the boards and sending a pass to defenseman Braydon Coburn, who fired a slap shot from the left circle. Giroux skated in front and tipped it past Backstrom.

Mason preserved the 3-1 lead with an outstanding save on a point-blank shot by center Mikko Koivu in the third.

Simmonds finished the scoring with an empty-net goal.

The Flyers have come a long way since a 1-7-0 start. They head into the NHL’s Christmas break sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Minnesota 1 0 0— 1

Philadelphia 2 1 1— 4

First Period—1, Philadelphia, Schenn 3 (Hartnell, Simmonds) 1:52. 2, Philadelphia, Simmonds 9 (Voracek, Giroux) 10:51 (pp). 3, Minnesota, Granlund 3 (Pominville, Suter) 16:43 (pp).

Second Period—4, Philadelphia, Giroux 10 (Coburn, Voracek) 7:46.

Third Period—5, Philadelphia, Simmonds 10 (Schenn, Grossmann) 19:03 (en).

Shots on Goal—Minnesota 11-8-8—27. Philadelphia 5-14-12—31.

Power-play opportunities—Minnesota 1 of 5. Philadelphia 1 of 4.

Goalies—Minnesota Backstrom 2-8-2 (30 shots-27 saves). Philadelphia Mason 14-9-4 (27-26).

A—19,872 (19,537). T—2:20.