Flyers Vs. Devils Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 2: Devils Spank Flyers; Even Series
The only Flyer playing with any "jam" was the only one who doesn't have the ability to score goals.
The Devils exhausted Ilya Bryzgalov by controlling the game against a flat Flyers team, winning 4-1 in Game 2 and evening the series up heading to North Jersey.
The Flyers wasted a brilliant first two periods by Bryzgalov, who was worn down by the constant Devils rush presented to him.
“I think he was our best player by far tonight and one of the best games I’ve seen him play in a long time," said forward Eric Wellwood. "I think it shows a lot of confidence that he stopped the puck and everything. I wish we could have gotten the win for him.”
The Flyers struck first on a show of perseverance from Matt Read.
Read danced around a scrambling Martin Brodeur, who was well out of position but bounced the puck off the outside of the net. Brayden Schenn corralled the puck and passed it back to Read, who buried the puck on a tough-angle shot, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
New Jersey came out controlling the second period while all of the Flyers energy evaporated. That was when Bryzgalov made himself the difference in this game, coming up with one huge save after another on multiple Devils scoring chances.
“I think having a one goal lead we just kind of came out on our heels and we didn’t give them the respect they needed," said Read. "They are a great hockey team. We came out flat and they took advantage of that and out played us in the second and the third.”
His play through the first 12 minutes saved the Flyers, who were out-shot 10-0 in the period, forcing head coach Peter Laviolette to call a time out. Instead of booing the awful display of hockey by the Flyers, the fans chanted "Bryz," backing their netminder 100 percent for the first time this post season.
"I got lonely a little bit," said Brodeur, who only had to face 21 shots all game and only two in the second period alone.
The timeout didn't do much to the Flyers, who continued to struggle, but Bryzgalov was there every time to pick up his team's poor play. In the end, the Devils out-shot the Flyers 12-2 (first shot came with under two minutes left) and Bryzgalov stopped every single one of them.
The third started out the same way and this time Bryzgalov couldn't keep everything out of the net. It was rookie defenseman Adam Larsson's first career playoff goal that tied the game up at 1-1 less than four minutes into the third period.
After that goal the flood gates opened and Bryzgalov's 31-save performance was all but forgotten.
New Jersey built on the lack of quality play from the Flyers, scoring the go-ahead goal with under nine minutes to play. After Braydon Coburn broke his stick in the corner, it enabled David Clarkson to skate in on the net alone and bury a rebound off Bryzgalov's pad to make it a 2-1 game.
The Devils added one more less than three minutes later on a Brian Gionta wrap-around, making it a 3-1 game. An empty-netter with under three minutes to play sealed the Flyers' fate.
The series will head to New Jersey for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Sunday, both at 7:30.
"It’s a bad loss but it’s a playoff game; you take it, you learn from it, you watch the tape and you move on," said defenseman Kimmo Timonen. "Tomorrow is one of those days you have to learn from it and move on.”