Top 5 Wayne Simmonds Moments
In case you didn't hear, the Philadelphia Flyers traded fan favorite Wayne Simmonds to Nashville minutes before Monday's 3 P.M. trade deadline. While Simmer's illustrious Flyers career may have come to an end, that doesn't mean fans can't look back at all the great moments Simmer had in the orange and black.
#5 - Opening Night Hype
Everyone knows that opening night is more than just 1 game - it's the time to set the tone for your season. A win can spring you forward, putting your team in a playoff spot for good. A loss can quickly snowball and turn even the most promising season into a trainwreck.
Thankfully, the Flyers have had the Wayne Train to ensure the latter didn't happen to them. Over the past two years, Simmonds has put up 5 goals on opening night. He had his second career regular season hat-trick in 2017 against San Jose, and put up 2 goals against Vegas last fall. A whopping 4 of those goals came on the power play. And in both contests, the Flyers finished on top, with Simmer scoring the game-winning goal.
#4 - The Toronto Tip
The 2015-16 season went down to the wire for the Orange and Black. After a rough 5-8-3 start, the Flyers lept back into the playoff race on the shoulders of a historic rookie season from Shayne Gostisbehere. But heading into the season's final week, their fate was still in doubt.
In game 80, trailing the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in the final minute, the Flyers needed a spark. With goalie Steve Mason at the bench for an extra attacker, the puck came back to the point. Flyers defenseman Mark Streit threw a low-shot on net, already knowing who would be there to tip it home.
Wayne Simmonds does a lot of things well, but in his prime, there was no one better at the front of the net than the Wayne Train. Sure enough, Simmer tipped the puck past Jonathan Bernier to tie the game in the final 60 seconds. While the Flyers lost the game in overtime, Simmonds' deflection earned a critical point for the Flyers playoff chase, which he wasn't done impacting.
#3 - (ASG) MVP
While the 2016-17 season was a down year for most of the Flyers top players, Wayne Simmonds fought off regression better than most. He put up 54 points, his 3rd highest career total, and put up his second straight 30-goal season, lightning the lamp 31 times, more than any other Flyer that year.
Those stats were good enough for Simmonds to represent the Flyers at the All Star Game that year. To make things even sweeter, the contest was held in Los Angeles, the team that drafted Simmonds. And boy, did he ever rep the Flyers. The Wayne Train put up a hat-trick, including the championship winning goal for the Metropolitan Division. And in front of a national audience, Simmonds was named All Star Game MVP, becoming the first Flyer since Reggie Leach in 1980 to receive the award.
#2 - Hats Off
Of course, while regular season and All Star game successes are nice, the playoffs are where things really count. Simmer's playoff numbers with the orange and black are only fair (15 points in 30 games). But on one night in 2014, he was on the top of the world.
With the Flyers trailing the New York Rangers 3-2 in their first round series, potentially heading home for the final time this year, Simmonds knew he had to step things up. Sure enough, Simmer shined in the spotlight. In the first period, he finished off a jam-play at the front of the net to give the Flyers the early lead. Then in the second, he lit the lamp twice more, beating Henrik Lundqvist with a one-timer and a deflection. In typical Wayne Simmonds fashion, all 3 goals came within 5 feet of the net. The Flyers went on to lose Game 7 in New York 2-1, but Simmonds was the main reason they even got there.
#1 - The Clinch
Two days after pulling off moment number 4 on this list, the Flyers returned to action with their destiny in their own hands. Thanks to loses earlier in the day from Boston and Detroit, the Flyers knew what they had to do. Needing two points in their final two games to qualify for the playoffs, the Flyers took on rival Pittsburgh in a Saturday matinee matchup.
Trailing 1-0 late in the first period, the Flyers caught a break. Penguins second-string goalie Matt Murray was injured on a collision with Brayden Schenn. Starter Marc-Andre Fleury was scratched with a concussion, so 3rd-string goalie Jeff Zatkoff came into the game. Zatkoff played a strong game, stopping 22 of 24 shots.
Guess who beat him.
With just 1:03 to go in the opening stanza, Simmonds went to his home away from home - the crease. Long-time teammate Jake Voracek hit him with a perfect pass, and Simmer directed it past Zatkoff for his 31st goal of the season, tying the score at a pivotal moment.
Simmonds could've stopped right there and called it a productive day. But the only place Wayne Simmonds stopped was, you guessed it, the front of the net. He went there once more late in the 2nd, and deflected a Shayne Gostisbehere shot off his shoulder past a screened Zatkoff. A screen that he created. And a goal that he deserved.
It would go on to be the playoff clinching goal for the Flyers, who took the game 3-1. But it's not the goals that necessarily stand out for Simmonds. It's the comradery that Wayne had with every one of his teammates. Simmer was the consummate pro, even though he always played with a level of passion rivaling anyone in the league. It's images like this that tell you everything you need to know about Wayne Simmonds.
Death, taxes, and Wayne Simmonds scoring goals on the power play. And throwing fists whenever necessary. And playing with the joy of a child. From start to finish, Wayne Simmonds was the ultimate Flyer. Thank you for everything, Wayne. From the entire Flyers fanbase, we'll miss you.