PHILADELPHIA (AP)Nick Deslauriers is mostly a fourth-line grinder for Philadelphia and certainly not on the team to score goals. So when he does punch one in – as he did to help the Flyers snap a four-game losing streak – it’s reason to cut loose.
“The guys are pumped. It’s funny,” Deslauriers said. “When I go to touch hands, they’re all laughing, so it’s great.”
The Flyers needed a lighthearted moment in a week full of more angst for the downtrodden franchise.
Deslauriers, Noah Cates and Scott Laughton scored goals for the Philadelphia Flyers and Carter Hart stopped 24 shots in a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
The victory was a needed respite from the bubbling unrest surrounding the franchise.
Flyers fans have been fed up for years – the Wells Fargo Center is no longer one of the more intimidating arenas in the NHL – and anger reached its zenith this past week when general manager Chuck Fletcher declined to make any major deals at the deadline. James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes were among the high-priced veterans that weren’t moved for any kind of prospects or draft picks.
One fan Sunday stuck a paper bag on his head and held signs that read “Fire Fletcher” and “Sell the Team.” Another fan wore a homemade Flyers sweatshirt with “FIRE FLETCHER” on the front. Fletcher was even booed Saturday at an event for season-ticket holders.
The Flyers were just plucky enough against the Red Wings – a day after Detroit lost 4-1 to the Islanders – to win for just the second time since early February.
David Perron scored his 16th goal for the Red Wings early in the first for a 1-0 lead, and Ville Husso had 34 saves.
Deslauriers stole the puck off a sloppy pass from Jake Walman at the far blue line and streaked all alone to score his fifth goal of the season. He put it past Husso for a short-handed goal in the second period and stretched his arms out like a plane as he skated away in celebration.
“You see the bench when he scores. They are so happy for him because of all the dirty he has to do for this team,” coach John Tortorella said. “He makes a good stick-check on the play. Huge play in the game to generate energy on the bench.”
The Flyers went up 2-1 in the second when Nick Seeler’s shot from along the boards was redirected by Cates for his 10th goal. The Flyers haven’t had much to celebrate this season, so both seldom-scorers were mobbed by their teammates for a rare reason to smile in a season that is mercifully near the end.
“It’s more about the team but to work hard and push defensively, but to get rewarded offensively, help the team and try to win a game here is huge,” Cates said. “So, if you can help offensively and defensively it’s a big game and you get some jump.”
Laughton scored an empty-netter in the final minutes in his 500th NHL game.
The Red Wings are ready to get back home after allowing seven combined goals in consecutive days to the Islanders and Flyers.
“We need to be really exact to be successful,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We can’t leave mistakes out there. The margin for error is beyond razor thin. What’s really disappointing is both of these games were very winnable and we put ourselves in position to win and we made some plays that didn’t help us.”
Flyers F Brendan Lemieux made his debut after he was acquired from the Los Angles Kings in a trade deadline deal. Lemieux, son of former NHL player Claude Lemieux, is known more as an agitator and did not score a goal in 27 games with the Kings this season.
“I love it. I’ve always wanted to play in Philly,” he said. “I’ve already had more of an opportunity than I’ve had all year so I’m enjoying it. It’s nice to be playing hockey again and I’m having fun right now.”
Detroit: Host Chicago on Wednesday.
Flyers: Play Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
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