The Flyers leave the state of Florida on a positive note tonight as they beat the Panthers 3-2.
Matt Read recorded his first game-winning goal in the NHL with a rarity: a short-handed, penalty-shot goal in the third period, while Braydon Coburn registered his first goal of the season. Ilya Bryzgalov had a 31-save evening with his only errors coming from a goal off an awkward deflection and a goal with nearly no time left in the game.
Despite being out shot 16-9 in the final twenty minutes of regulation, the Flyers held on for the win.
In an opening period which featured five minor penalties, a fight, and numerous scoring chances for both teams, the Flyers managed to grab the lead late.
With under four minutes left in the first period, a mess of bodies in front of Jose Theodore led to a unique backhand goal for Danny Briere. Both James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds crashed the Panthers’ net causing traffic in front before Simmonds slid the puck to Briere, who was standing to the left of Theodore. Briere gathered the loose puck and roofed a backhander that clanked the crossbar before crossing the goal line for his fifth goal of the season.
Bryzgalov held up his end, stopping all 10 Panthers’ shots, four of which came while the home team skated on the power play.
The Flyers extended their lead to two goals just before the seven minute mark of the second period, receiving a tally from an unlikely source.
Coburn joins the offensive play a lot for the Flyers, but he usually isn’t the one doing the scoring. At the 6:50 mark of the second period, however, the recipient of a new lucrative contract extension completed a give-and-go with Jakub Voracek that resulted in the rangy d-man’s first of the year.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long for Philly as Evgeny Dadonov scored in his first game with the Panthers this season. Thanks to Chris Pronger accidentally deflecting his shot top shelf, Dadonov had his first goal of the season and had his team back in the game halfway through the game.
The Flyers experienced some danger early in the third period, but managed to increase their lead despite the adversity. After killing off a 40-second 5-on-3 advantage for the Panthers, Read was hauled down by Jason Garrison while on a breakaway. What ensued was a Read penalty shot while Max Talbot sat in the box serving a high-sticking double minor.
Moving in on Theodore, Read noticed a chance to score through the netminder’s five-hole. Ripping a wrister aimed between Theodore’s legs, the puck squeaked through the goalie’s leg pads and into the net for Read’s fourth goal on the season. The goal was the Flyers’ third short-handed score of the season, as well as their second penalty shot goal of the year.
The Panthers cut the deficit to one, but it was too little, way too late. Tomas Kopecky kicked the puck towards Bryzgalov and it resulted in a rebound that found it’s way to Tomas Fleischmann. Releasing a shot while falling over, Fleischmann’s shot found its way through traffic and past Bryzgalov’s right leg pad with just over seven seconds left in regulation.
The Panthers won the draw and provided one more scoring chance, but they couldn’t find the net before time ran out leading to the Flyers’ 3-2 victory.
Bryzgalov had a strong night in net as he kept the Flyers in the game early. Keeping the score knotted at zero until late in the first, Bryzgalov denied the Panthers from scoring on several scoing chances and three power-play opportunities. His strong play in net also allowed the Flyers to play with confidence leading to several scoring chances of their own, such as Coburn’s pinching in the offensive zone and Read’s breaking out while shorthanded in the third period.
The refs, as usual, handed the Flyers some suspect calls. Zac Rinaldo’s charging in the first period saw Rinaldo deliver a clean hit on Kopecky, with Rinaldo’s skates on the ice with no strides leading up to the hit.
Shortly after leaving the box for his penalty, Rinaldo was forced into a fight by Matt Bradley, a player who has a noticeable size advantage on him. With Bradley skating over to Rinaldo and being the first one to drop his gloves, Bradley should have been handed an instigator, but both players received five minutes for fighting. When it comes down to it, neither incident mattered much since the Flyers still won the game.
The Flyers travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes at 7 PM tomorrow, and will finish up their road swing through the Southeast Division.
Notes: The Flyers have earned a point in six straight games (4-0-2)…The Flyers have won three straight against the Panthers, all of which were played in Florida; they’ve out scored the Panthers 10-6 in those wins…Briere now has 15 career goals against the Panthers, the most he has against any team from the Southeast division (10 against Carolina, 12 against Tampa Bay, 11 against Washington, and 14 against Atlanta/Winnipeg)…Coburn’s goal was his first since his first-period tally in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and it marked his first regular-season goal since February 18, 2011…Simmonds’ assist on Briere’s goal in the first period was his 100th career NHL point…Read’s third period shorthanded penalty shot goal was the first for the Flyers since Darroll Powe’s tally against the Lightning on February 15th,2011…Dadonov had a goal tonight after totaling 3 goals in 8 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL…The Flyers have won four of five over the Panthers, after finishing 3-1-0 against them last season…Philly improved to 2-2-1 against the Southeast Division this season (WSH 0-1-0, FLA 1-0-0, TBL 0-0-1, CAR 1-0-0, WPG 0-1-0).