The Flyers Win, WITH A SHUTOUT

The Flyers won their second straight game to open this 2011-12 season, with a 3-0 shutout of the New Jersey Devils at the Rock.

Ilya Bryzgalov provided the magic so many had hoped he would,  saving all 20 of the Devils’ shots and providing the Flyers first shutout since the 2010 playoffs.

Claude Giroux opened the scoring with a goal in the first while both Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored in the third period to extend the Flyers’ lead.

Both teams power-play units failed to score a goal despite having a combined 13 man advantage opportunities.

The Flyers had the first several chances of the game after Petr Sykora was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking Kimmo Timonen 27 seconds in. The visitors had two shots on net, including a Jakub Voracek attempt in the crease that was turned away by the ageless Martin Brodeur. Despite coming up empty, they kept up offensive pressure for the next few minutes until Zac Rinaldo was called for tripping Eric Boulton.

Even with the scare of a Sean Couturier broken stick, the Flyers killed off the Devils’ power play and returned to dominating the action until potting the first score of the night. 

As James van Riemsdyk guarded the puck from a few Devils in the corner, he slid the puck to a wide-open Giroux in front who smacked it past Brodeur for his first goal of this season. 

Late in the first period, the Flyers almost extended their lead to two goals with a short-handed breakaway by Andreas Nodl. After breaking up a pass between  two Devils defenders, Nodl was off to the races taking a high shot on Brodeur that hit the New Jersey netminder and rolled wide of the net. Nodl’s chance was the last solid scoring opportunity for either team in the opening 20 minutes.

The Flyers entered the second period carrying the momentum, despite the need to kill off 21 more seconds in Braydon Coburn’s holding penalty. 

To start the second, Coburn returned to the penalty box for boarding 63 seconds after being released from the box for his first period penalty. Killing off their third shorthanded situation of the game, the Flyers returned to producing offensive pressure in the Devils’ defensive zone.  Highlighted by a power play due to a Patrik Elias holding call and a Danny Briere shot that rang off the pipe, the Flyers once again came within inches of extending their lead.

Continuing the penalty-taking trend, Rinaldo drew David Clarkson into a holding infraction late in the period. The Flyers didn’t enjoy a power play for long as Matt Carle was flagged for tripping 24 seconds later. .

The Devils had a series of quick scoring chances in a vain attempt to get on the scoreboard, including one which resulted in Bryzgalov doing a split on the ice as time expired.  

Read played strongly in the season opener against the Bruins and through two periods against the Devils, so it was only fitting he scored the first goal in the third period to extend the Flyers’ lead. Walking into the slot, Read let go of a wrister that squeaked through Brodeur’s right arm and right hip and dribbled into the net at the 2:41 mark.

This wasn’t the end for the Flyers as Elias was called for tripping six seconds after Read’s goal. The Flyers didn’t score on their fourth power play of the night, but it led to a Simmonds goal three seconds after the man advantage.

Fighting for a rebound in front of the net, Simmonds put the puck home while on shoved to the ice and with several Devils on top of him. The tally was his first as a Flyer and his second point in the Orange and Black.

Simmonds wasn’t done putting the hurt on the Devils as he landed a strong jab to Clarkson’s face in a fight later in the period which concluded with a takedown. To make matters worse for Clarkson and his teammates, he received a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct and put the Flyers on their sixth man advantage of the game.

The remaining half of the third period saw three more minors, but no more goals as the Flyers held on to extend their season opening winning streak to two games.  

Notes: Bryzgalov’s shutout tonight ended Philadelphia’s 101-game streak without blanking ana opponent…The last Flyers shutout came when Michael Leighton turned away the Canadiens in Game 4 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals at Montreal…Philly has won its first two games on the road for the second time in three seasons. In 2009, the club topped Carolina and New Jersey to begin the year…The Devils have lost three straight season openers…Saturday marked the first time the Flyers scored first in a game since Game 2 against the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May.. This also marked the first time Coburn had four or more penalty minutes in a game since April 3 (7 PIM vs. New York Rangers)… The Flyers were 0-for-8 while the Devils were punchless in five chances…Simmonds’ last fight before tonight happened on February 10 against Ryan Craig of the Pittsburgh Penguins…Giroux is the only Flyer with a goal in each game this season..Chris Pronger, Andrej Meszaros, and Simmonds all have at least a point in each game thus far.