The 33-year-old rookie netminder, making his NHL debut after nearly a decade in Europe, made 25 saves and picked up the victory as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in overtime on Sunday.
Zepp, a Newmarket, Ont., native who was called up from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League, became the oldest goalie to win his NHL debut since 41-year-old Hugh Lehman accomplished the feat in 1926. His sprawling toe save off Mark Scheifele late in the second period kept the game within reach.
"As calm as you try to be, when you wait this long and you get out on the ice, I'm not going to lie I didn't feel like myself in the first 10 minutes," said Zepp, who spent the previous seven seasons in Germany, and two years before that in Finland.
"And it was a little complicated too because (the Jets) were flying out there. I don't remember much from the first 10 minutes but I was able to get my feet under me and play more of my game."
Jakub Voracek needed just 10 seconds to score the winner, his second goal of the night. Vincent Lecavalier added a pair of goals for the Flyers, who came back from a 3-1 deficit.
Matt Halischuk, Mathieu Perreault and Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets.
Voracek and linemate Claude Giroux forced a Byfuglien turnover behind the Winnipeg net, and Voracek slid the puck through Ondrej Pavelec's pads for the win.
"It was a good forecheck by (Giroux)," Voracek said. "He put pressure on (Byfuglien) right after the faceoff and as soon as I saw it bounce over his stick I knew I was going to have an opportunity to take it to the net."
Philadelphia (13-14-6) followed up their 7-4 Saturday night win over Toronto to improve to 5-9-3 on the road.
Voracek opened the scoring after just 46 seconds of play as he one-timed a pass from Giroux on a two-on-one rush for his 13th goal of the season. Voracek's 44 points give him the league lead, two better than Tyler Seguin of Dallas.
Halischuk and Byfuglien beat Zepp 55 seconds apart, and the Jets had a 2-1 lead after the first period. Perreault extended the lead to 3-1 in the second period, setting the stage for the Flyers' comeback.
"The way the guys battled in the third period was unbelievable," Zepp said. "I appreciate this more than anybody knows. This is 26 years trying to get here. And to be able to get here and play and the game wasn't perfect, obviously, but to get the win at the end like that is incredible."
The Jets (17-10-7) turned a 3-1 third-period lead into an extra-time loss for the second time in five games. The Jets played for a second game without their top four defencemen, all of whom are out until at least January. Byfuglien, who was moved back to his natural position on the blue-line after starting the season as a forward, led the team with almost 27 minutes of ice time.
"We're just starting this process," said Jets coach Paul Maurice of his team adapting to all its injuries. "I'm not going to read a trend into it. We're going to talk about what happened."
Halischuk said the Jets weren't as aggressive in the third period as they had been in building their lead.
"I think we came off our gap a little bit and gave them too much time and space," Halischuk said. "When that happens you spend a little more time in your zone."
The Jets saw a two-game winning streak come to an end. They visit Chicago on Tuesday night before the Christmas break.
"If you kick the puck into the neutral zone on Chicago all night they're going to get too many chances," said Maurice. "We need to get that cleaned up in 48 hours or less."
Pavelec made 19 saves for Winnipeg.
Lecavalier tipped Marc Streit's point shot through traffic to beat Pavelec to the stick side to make it 3-2 with 13:54 remaining.
Then Lecavalier tied the game with 3:14 remaining, seconds after an offensive zone faceoff, with a high shot over Pavelec's blocker after a failed clearing attempt by Winnipeg defenceman Jay Harrison.
The Flyers thought they had scored early in the third period when Chris VandeVelde's shot beat Pavelec and the referee declared it a goal. But video review showed the puck hit the crossbar and came straight down without crossing the goal-line.
Notes: The Flyers were playing their second contest of an eight-game road trip as Disney on Ice takes over the Wells Fargo Center. They play in Minnesota on Tuesday, and don't play again at home until Jan. 6. … The Jets alternated goalies for the 13th straight game. Rookie Michael Hutchinson leads the NHL with a .940 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.73.