Better With Popcorn

Three in a Row

The Philadelphia Flyers won their third consecutive preseason game on Thursday night by defeating the New Jersey Devils by a score of 2-1. The game was sloppier than Monday night’s battle with the Rangers but a third period goal by Jaromir Jagr allowed the Flyers to walk away with the victory.

Following a scoreless first period, the Devils jumped to a quick start in the second. After forcing a turn over in the Philadelphia defensive zone, New Jersey forwards Steve Bernier and David Steckel broke towards the Flyers’ net. Bernier sent a cross crease pass to Steckel, which was initially stopped by a sprawling Bryzgalov. The save left a loose puck in front of the net that allowed an unguarded Stephane Veilleux to finish the play.

Philadelphia spark plug, Zac Rinaldo energized the team on Monday night by dropping the gloves after allowing an early goal against the Rangers. The young forward would try the same tactic against the Devils. Although Rinaldo didn’t win the fight he was able to draw a roughing penalty against Bradley Mills.

On the ensuing power play, the Flyers quickly took advantage of the opportunity. Philadelphia set up in the offensive zone and moved the puck around the point until it reached the stick of Claude Giroux. Giroux took a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that eventually found the stick of Wayne Simmonds and went to the back of the net. 

Philadelphia’s first goal was just as much a product of Simmonds grit in front of the net as it was Giroux’s ability to distribute the puck. The Flyers second goal would have much of the same quality. Following a penalty by Zach Parise, the Flyers would once again find themselves on the power play. 

After a display of crisp passing, Chris Pronger found himself with the puck at the top of the point. The captain would fire a wrist shot that went wide and bounced back off of the boards. Simmonds was battling in front of the net and rolled off his coverage to field the rebound and send the puck to Giroux at the left faceoff circle. Giroux would send one of the prettiest passes you will ever see across to Jagr who simply had to tap the puck into the net. 

Pronger played a little under 20 minutes on Thursday night. The captain looked like he had some rust but made sure to impede forwards in the defensive zone by physically engaging them in any way he could. 

Bryzgalov and Bobrovosky both had an opportunity to play. Bryzgalov stopped 17 of 18 shots and Bobrovsky stopped all 13 that he faced. Both net minders looked strong playing roughly 30 minutes a piece.  

The most exciting dynamic of Thursday’s game was to see the chemistry that is developing between Giroux and Jagr. Jagr has scored four goals in three games and three of those goals came on the power play with Giroux tallying an assist on all three. 

In addition to Jagr and Giroux, Simmonds has made a huge statement (with his play) this preseason. Simmonds has scored four goals in as many games and has displayed his grit and toughness not only in defense of his team mates but also in front of the net. Don't be surprised to see the scrappy forward get time on the power play and penalty kill this season. 


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Matt Cefalu's picture

I can't wait to see what Jagr and Giroux can do together, not to mention combined with a healthy JVR. That's going to be a scary line for the EC.

Where do you see Matt Read fitting in? 3rd line to start off? I assume he makes the team since he has been unbelievable this preseason.

Matthew Brigidi's picture

I too think Read has cemented himself a place on the roster. It really depends on other factors where he ends up playing. If they send Schenn down to the AHL then I would imagine Read would play with Simmonds and Talbot on the third line.

Of course they could hypothetically have Schenn center Simmonds and Read and make Talbot the fourth line center.

Because I haven't had enough opportunities I can't definitively say I have an opinion of where he'll end up. What I will say is that I think it's safe to say he'll be in the bottom six

jcamp28's picture

I think the 3rd line is a perfect spot for Read. However, he will be used on the penalty kill and likely will see some PP duty. Laviolette is unafraid to use him in any situation. As he gets some NHL seasoning he will develop into a top 6 forward, not necessarily this year. Matt has been on my radar since the flyers signed him in March and has done nothing but impress. I would compare him to Mark Recchi or Sami Kapanen.

Matthew Brigidi's picture

I've quickly become a fan of Read. His speed immediately caught my attention and his skill only further proved to me that he will be a huge asset moving forward