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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