Read Steals Show in 2-1 Win over Phoenix
With all eyes on Ilya Bryzgalov, it was Matt Read who stole the spotlight in Thursday night’s thrilling 2-1 win against the Coyotes.
The Flyers (11-4-3) came into the game recording points in seven consecutive games. They were also looking to extend a two-game winning streak.
Phoenix (9-5-3) also came into the game with a two-game streak and looked to take control of first place in the Pacific Division.
But it would be the Flyers who would finish the night atop of their division.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair.
Bryzgalov had ample opportunity to remind Phoenix of his abilities by turning away all 12 of their first period shots.
The one low moment of the period came when Jaromir Jagr left the game with an injury after playing only three shifts. He would not return.
Following a scoreless first, the Flyers jumped on Phoenix in the second.
Mid-way through the stanza, Read would begin an elongated Philadelphia attack by muscling to the front of the Phoenix goal, battling through a gaggle of Coyotes players in the process.
Two minutes later Philadelphia took the lead.
James van Riemsdyk picked up a loose puck in the Philadelphia defensive zone and brought it the length of the ice.
With one defender in front of him and Kimmo Timonen to his side, van Riemsdyk decided to finish the play himself by burying a shot above Mike Smith’s glove hand.
Unfortunately, van Riemsdyk’s goal would not be enough.
A little over three minutes into the third, Mikkel Boedker tied the game by hacking at a loose puck in front of Bryzgalov.
With a minute remaining in regulation, it appeared as though the game was destined for overtime.
But Read had a more dramatic finish in mind.
With thirty-seconds remaining in the third, Read would find himself at the right place, at the right time to capitalize on a loose puck in front of the Phoenix net.
He was aware of how important the play was.
“Scoring a goal with eighteen seconds left is obviously a big goal,” Read said. “[It] helps our team win a game.”
Read has now scored a goal in his last three games and has continued to gain attention as a talented member of a young Flyers team.
But even with all of his personal successes, he was still conscious of what the game meant to Bryzgalov.
“It was his former team and he wanted this win so much,” Read said. “[T]he boys wanted to play a good game for him. He deserves to beat his old team."
Prior to the game, Bryzgalov had stated how much his time in Phoenix meant to him.
Following the game, Bryzgalov would continue to praise his former club.
“It’s my former team and not an easy team to beat,” he said. “It’s a good team. It takes the whole 60 minutes to win the game.”
While he expressed his appreciation, some of his former teammates had commented that Bryzgalov was a bit of a handful during his tenure and that the team was better off without him.
Bryzgalov took the comments in stride.
“I always thought good about these guys,” he said. “Every person in… life has an opinion about every one and we can’t pay attention to it. If [they] think like that [then] I can’t change his mind.”