Better With Popcorn

Offense gets behind Bryzgalov in win

Ilya Bryzgalov may finally have found his confidence again.

Though it’s arguable that he never lost full confidence in the first place, it was definitely a step in the right direction for the Russian netminder, who still has his doubters.

It was a stellar game in net for Bryzgalov, combined with some timely scoring on the power play for the Flyers that led Philadelphia to a 4-1 win over the Devils Saturday afternoon in North Jersey.

Bryzgalov stopped all but one of the 31 shots he faced, a goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky in the second. He improved to 18-10-3 on the season.

The more the game went on, the more Bryzgalov’s confidence rose. With his offense not getting a lot of shots on New Jersey netminder Martin Broduer, Bryzgalov had to be extra sharp in the Flyers win.

That solid play made the offensive outburst from Scott Hartnell all the more meaningful. The should-be All-Star found twine twice on the power play, including the game-decider in the second period.

The Flyers held onto a 1-0 lead midway through the first thanks to Matt Read's 15th goal of the season, leading all NHL rookies. Wayne Simmonds went into the corner for the puck and found Read, who buried it past Broduer.

Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead only four minutes later when Kimmo Timonen fired a shot towards net. The puck was redirected by Hartnell in traffic and got past Broduer to give the Flyers an important 2-0 lead.

Hartnell scored once more, giving the Flyers some room with a 3-1 lead with about 12 minutes to play. Simmonds' empty netter completed the much-needed win, and gave the right winger a three-point night.

The Flyers played with a lot more "jam" than they did in their 4-1 loss the the New York Islanders on Thursday. Though the scoring chances were down, the bodies were flying and they were getting pucks past Broduer when they got their chances.

The first place the "jam" made an impact on was the power play. The Flyers, who were eighth in the league at 19% success rate, went 2-for-5 on the game.

To go with Hartnell's offensive game, he got chippy plenty of times through out the game. The left winger racked up two points, four penalty minutes and dished out two hits.

Hartnell now has 42 points on the season, putting him in the top 20 in the NHL and only eight points behind Claude Giroux.

Hartnell's 22 goals and 20 assists has him on pace for career highs in goals (30) and points (60), both achieved in the 2008-09 season with the Flyers.

 

BRIERE HAS CONCUSSION -- It was announced after the game by general manager Paul Holmgren that forward Danny Briere will be out indefinitely with a concussion.

Briere is the sixth Flyers to suffer from a concussion this season. He also joins James van Riemsdyk, who is currently out with a concussion as well.

Chris Pronger (out for the season), Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux all previously suffered a concussion this season as well.

JAGR OUT -- One of the very few negatives in the game was the absence of Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr left the game midway through the first period and did not return with a lower body injury.

It isn't known what specifically is affecting Jagr but it will probably be known during the post game. It could very well be the same injury that kept Jagr out of the last two periods of the Winter Classic.

The Flyers play home against the Boston Bruins tomorrow and it's doubtful Jagr will play in that game as well.

Jagr had been struggling since scoring his last goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 29. In his last eight games, he has only three assists.