Dancing With the Devils: Bryz Steals Two Points In Must-Win Scenario
Despite going to the shootout, the Flyers managed to escape their home-and-home against New Jersey with two points.
Backed behind a brilliant game by Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers needed a full 65 minutes and three rounds of the shootout to beat the Devils, 2-1, and earn an incredibly important two points in their win on Friday night.
Despite going 0-for-4 on the power play, they held the Devils scoreless on their power play attempts as well, and a part of that was a result to Bryzgalov's timely saves.
Bryzgalov stopped 21 shots in the win, including 11 in the third period and over time despite his team being out-played and out-shot, 11-5, in those two frames.
"It was the whole game," head coach Peter Laviolette said in regards to Bryzgalov's play in over time. "There were some more tricky shots early on in the game and we gave up a couple of good scoring chances in the third plus the 5-on-3 opportunity. Throughout the game, he was terrific."
The Flyers jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first thanks to some good pressure by their third line of Simon Gagne, Max Talbot and Matt Read.
Gagne, known for pulling the trigger, faked the shot and exercised good patience, finding a wide open Talbot on the side of the net. Talbot caught the puck in his skates and put it into the open net past Johan Hedberg to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
The shots remained even through the first period as well as the second period. But in the second, New Jersey found an answer for the Flyers, tying the game up 1-1 just 6:09 into the frame.
David Clarkson, who had gone goalless in his last 13 games, finally ended the drought. He tipped in a shot from Bryce Salvador, knotting the game up for New Jersey.
“Obviously, with everybody being all over me about the scoring drought, it’s nice," Clarkson said. "But at the end of the day, like I said before, it doesn’t matter if I’m scoring; he’s scoring. It’s doesn’t matter to me. It definitely feels good and I’ve got to continue now to keep going and keep putting the puck on net.”
The Flyers opened the third period slow, but managed to survive New Jersey's rushes throughout the third period, getting out-shot 5-3.
Brayden Schenn nearly cost the Flyers a chance at one point with his charging penalty late in the third. Leaving his feet, Schenn lit up Peter Harrold in the corner, leaving his feet and hitting Harrold high to draw a two-minute charging penalty.
Schenn could receive a phone call for the hit.
Late in the third with the Devils on the power play created by Schenn, the puck was fired on net. The puck bounced off Ilya Bryzgalov and then pinballed off Kimo Timonen and bounced towards the open net. But the puck trickled wide and the Flyers managed to clear to survive the first 60 minutes.
The Flyers forced overtime, but were again out-played in the shortened period. Bryzgalov came up with one massive save after another, carrying his team all the way to a shootout opportunity, preserving their bid for a second point.
Read got the call first, beating Hedberg through his five hole to put Philadelphia up early. Ilya Kovalchuk took the puck for New Jersey, beating Bryzgalov on the forehand to even it up.
Hedberg couldn't keep his five hole closed and Claude Giroux took advantage to put Philadelphia up. Bryzgalov tightened up, forcing Clarkson wide and a missed shot by Patrik Elias to preserve the shoot out victory and earn the Flyers a huge two points.
"You would like to think for everyone, especially Bryzgalov," Laviolette said on the importance of actually winning a shoot-out. "I don’t think it was just the shoot-out. His game was solid from the start to the end, which includes the shootout. It includes the players as well. It was one game and we need to win more. It is something to build off of."