Better With Popcorn

Flyers win third straight; defeat Wings, 3-2

For much of the season, the defensive component to the game has been a concern for the Philadelphia Flyers.

While the defense corps has been called into question on several occasions, the reality of the situation is that the goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov was viewed by many as the Flyers biggest problem.

With discussions of confidence and contracts swirling around the troubled net minder, many were worried that the mega free agent was going to sink any chance the team had of a postseason run.

Suddenly, those concerns are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

This is especially true following the team’s impressive 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

For the second time in as many games, Bryzgalov and the defense were able to shut down a team’s offense to hold onto a lead.

In the recent past, no lead ever seemed to be safe for the Flyers. On some occasions it seemed like the only way the team could win a game was to score five-or-six goals in a night.

Of course, two games does not a season make, but the team’s newly found shutdown defense is certainly a promising trend.

"Obviously he as been leading this team for now and he has been playing well for a while,” Max Talbot said of Bryzgalov. “The last two games are huge for us and you can show on the scoreboard as well."

However, there was another occurrence that the team hopes doesn’t reemerge as a trend; allowing their opponents to score the first goal of the game.

After snapping a nine game streak on Sunday, the team allowed the Red Wings to take the lead just four minutes into the contest.

Utilizing hard-hitting, tight defense and good puck movement, the Flyers stayed engaged in the game despite being behind.

Their hard work eventually paid off.

After a miscommunication between Detroit’s goaltender Joey MacDonald and the team’s defense, Jakub Voracek managed to gather a loose puck behind the Red Wings goal and tied the game with a wrap-around that bounced off the foot of Brendan Smith.

Five minutes later, the Flyers took the lead on a beautiful breakaway goal by Claude Giroux that left MacDonald undressed in his goal crease.

By the second period, the Red Wings found their footing and began to apply heavy pressure to the Flyers. Despite two power play chances and 16 shots on goal, the team was held scoreless in the period.

The Flyers on the other hand, increased their lead to three when Giroux took another breakaway chance to the net that resulted in a rebound that Max Talbot was able to send home.

It ultimately proved to be the game winner.

However, the Wings refused to go down without a fight. The team continued their onslaught into the third attempting 21 shots in the period.

Around the midway mark of the stanza, the team managed to pull within one, but Bryzgalov continued his solid play and shut the door on one of the Western Conference’s best teams.

While the Wings may have been depleted by injuries, there is no reason to discredit the Flyers win.

Largely lauded as one of the best organizations in all of professional hockey, the Red Wings still had enough talent in the lineup to defeat the Flyers.

“I’ve said this before, they’re experienced, and they move the puck and they’re dangerous and they’ve got high end players and they’ve had a lot of success for years playing together,” Peter Laviolette said of the Red Wings. “You really have to be sharp.”

Not to mention that the Flyers had injuries of their own to deal with.

While it may be too soon to tell, Bryzgalov is starting to show that his struggles earlier this season may have been just a bump in the road.

If that’s the case, the team will be deadly come playoff time.

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