Complete effort fuels Flyers 3-0 win over Devils
For the Philadelphia Flyers, the majority of their games had followed a linear chain of events.
In a general sense, the team either had offense or had defense and rarely, if ever, had a combination of both.
On Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, the team had a perfect amount of each.
“Tonight, we had 20 guys playing for 60 minutes in front of a goaltender who was sharp,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of the performance.
After two less than stellar games for the team’s offense, the group managed a strong showing in their 3-0 win over the Devils.
With chance after chance, the group managed to improve with each period.
The most encouraging dynamic was that the goal production didn’t come at the expense of the defense, which could have happened considering how much pressure the Devils applied throughout the game.
After a disorganized effort in the team’s 4-1 loss to the Devils on Sunday, the Flyers defense returned to the form that they had exhibited in the previous week.
With a return of the physical game, the defense clogged passing lanes and put their bodies in front of shots to limit the amount of attempts their opponents had on goal.
Blocking a total of 15 shots on the night (compared to three on Sunday), the team helped their goalie by holding New Jersey to only 17 shots on goal.
Then, of course, there was Ilya Bryzgalov.
Stopping everything that came his way, Bryzgalov held an opponent scoreless for a third straight game.
The first period set the tone for how the rest of the contest was going to play out.
With both teams going back-and-forth, the game had the feel of a playoff atmosphere with the crowd fully engaged with every play.
New Jersey applied heavy pressure early and had two separate power play opportunities in the opening frame.
Despite the man advantages, the Flyers penalty killing unit displayed a composure that made it difficult for the team to gain an early lead.
Philadelphia’s defense exhibited discipline, which was quantified by their ability to block six shots and register 10 hits.
In the second, the Flyers offense found their stride.
Despite being in hibernation for close to two games, the group showed an early engagement that had been lacking.
With their feet moving and their sticks active, the offense was able to generate chances early in the contest.
That kind of play carried through the rest of the game.
At the mid-way mark of the second, the group gained the lead on a goal by Sean Couturier that came off of a strategically placed shot by Braydon Coburn off the end boards.
In the third, Jakub Voracek added another goal that gave the team a cushion.
With five minutes remaining in the game, the Devils decided to take a gamble by pulling Martin Brodeur during a 4-on-4 scenario.
“We had nothing going and we were down by two,” Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said of the decision. “There was an opportunity to create a power play and I like our chances scoring five on four better than I do with six on five with two minutes left to go. It is not a unique decision."
The gamble failed as a struggling Daniel Briere took advantage of the situation by registering his first goal in 23-games.
For the Flyers, the win gained them sole possession of fifth place pulling away from the Devils by two points (with a game in hand).
It also ended a four-game winning streak for the Devils.
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