Bryzgalov Returns to Phoenix, Wins 4-2

Returning to Phoenix for the first time since testing the free-agent market and signing with Philly this past Summer, Ilya Bryzgalov handed his former teammates a 4-2 loss — saving 36 shots in the process.

Claude Giroux had another game-winner as both Matt Read (who totaled three points in a four-goal first period) and Scott Hartnell provided goals on the power play. Despite being outshot 38-30, the Flyers won their second game in as many days to help Bryzgalov shut up his former Phoenix buddies.

Not even twenty seconds into the game, Brayden Schenn almost gave Philly the early edge. Charging towards Mike Smith, Schenn lost control of the puck into Smith’s pads and attempted to whack the puck home but couldn’t push it past the Coyotes’ netminder.

After the Flyers’ first scoring chance, the Coyotes pressured Bryzgalov and the Flyers’ defense with several scoring chances. Bryzgalov, who came yards out of the crease to challenge two shots, was able to keep Phoenix off the scoreboard during their early surge.

Just over three minutes into the game, and after the Coyotes early scoring chances, Sean Couturier was the recipient of another rough hit as Raffi Torres checked him up high. Luckily for Couturier and the Flyers, he was fine and Torres went to the box for an illegal check to the head.

A little over a minute into that power play, Read was in the right place to capture an errant Phoenix clear and ripped a wrist shot from the slot that found the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season. As Smith moved across the crease very slowly, Read grabbed the puck in between the circles after a weird bounce off the glass and put it past the netminder at the 4:23 mark.

Less than two minutes later, Wayne Simmonds put home his fifth goal of the season and first in 8 games.

As Read entered the zone, he pulled up just inside the faceoff circle to Smith’s right before passing it to Danny Briere. Skating in between the circles, Briere lifted a shot that hit Simmonds, who was standing next to the right goalpost. After the puck hit him, Simmonds batted the puck in the air altering its path slightly before it hit Smith and rolled over the goal line for the Flyers’ second goal within a 1:38 span.

In celebration of his goal, Simmonds decided to drop Taylor Pyatt to pick up an interference minor. Losing sight of the puck as it went in the air (as well as behind him), Simmonds checked Pyatt to hand Phoenix their first power play of the game 12:18 into the first period.

Out shooting the Coyotes 1-0 on the power play, the Flyers killed off the penalty and tallied yet again minutes later to extend their lead to three.

Hartnell, Giroux, and Jaromir Jagr later induced an immense amount of offensive pressure resulting in Giroux’s second goal in as many games. Kimmo Timonen, similar to his tactic in Friday’s come-from-behind victory, skated around the net, moving left to right, before dishing the puck to Giroux. Winding up for a slapshot, Giroux walked into the slot and released a rocket for his 15th goal of the season.

The Flyers’ scoring frenzy for the first period wasn’t over yet, as Hartnell registered a power-play goal with only 1:31 left in the period.

Briere handled the puck behind the net before passing beside the right goal post to Hartnell, who was in the slot. Hitting Adrian Aucoin, the puck slowed down before reaching Hartnell, who shot the puck on one knee. As the puck fluttered off of Smith’s leg pad and into the net, Hartnell had his 11th goal of the season as the Flyers headed into the second period with a 4-0 lead.

In an attempt to get his team going, Coyotes’ head coach Dave Tippett replaced Smith with Jason LaBarbera, who entered the game with a .893 save percentage on the season, for the start of the second period. Smith had 13 saves on 17 shots.

Looking to get back into the game, Lauri Korpikoski drew a slashing call on Briere behind the Flyers’ net to give Phoenix another power-play chance 1:40 into the second period.

Highlighted by a couple big saves from Bryzgalov, the Flyers were able to kill of Briere’s minor and keep the lead at four goals.

Closer to the midway point of the second period, the Coyotes finally beat Bryzgalov to cut their deficit to three goals.

Controlling the puck behind the Flyers’ net, Radim Vrbata tossed the puck through the slot to Ray Whitney. Releasing a shot with several bodies crowding the slot, Whitney let go of a wrister that slid along the ice clanking off the right post and into the net to give the Coyotes a goal as 12:45 remained in the second period.

Working off momentum gained from Whitney’s goal, the Coyotes started buzzing as they continued to create scoring chances for the remainder of the second period.

In the midst of the Coyote’s barrage, Timonen was called for a holding minor late in the period on a play that led to a post-whistle scrum. Defending his goalie, Simmonds punched Shane Doan, who had hit Bryzgalov in the head after the whistle. Defending Doan, Aucoin came over and roughed up Simmonds. As a result of the skirmish, Simmonds received a cross-checking minor while Aucoin received a roughing minor and the Coyotes went on a power play to close out the period.

In the final ten seconds of the period, Bryzgalov capped off his busy period in net with a flashy glove save on a Keith Yandle blast from the point.

Holding the Coyotes’ to just one goal, the Flyers entered the final twenty minutes with a 4-1 lead and needing to kill off the final 1:24 in Timonen’s minor. After Whitney’s goal, the Coyotes dominated the rest of the period, but couldn’t add on any other goals to get the game closer.

The Coyotes opened the third period with strong offensive pressure, but Korpikoski put his team on the penalty kill to halt their comeback momentarily.

After the Coyotes killed off Korpikoski’s high-sticking minor, Harry Zolnierczyk drew Kyle Turris into a slashing minor after he checked Turris in the neutral zone. Unfortunately for Zolnierczyk, he was called for interference leading to two minutes of four-on-four action.

Similar to the second half of the middle period and the third period, the Coyotes forced Bryzgalov into a couple crucial saves, but no team produced a goal keeping the score 4-1.

Minutes after the four-on-four session, the Flyers went to the penalty kill as Timonen was flagged with a delaying game minor. Making two saves on the kill, Bryzgalov came through again for the Flyers keeping their three-goal lead intact.

Less than a minute after Timonen exited the sin bin, the teams endured another four-on-four session as Briere and LaBarbera exchanged pleasantries producing a Briere slashing minor and a Labarbera roughing minor.

As neither team scored on the four-on-four, the Coyotes scored in the last minute of regulation to make the final score look a little closer.

Yandle slapped a shot from the point that Mikkel Boedker managed to tip past Bryzgalov with only 41 seconds left in the game. The goal gave the Coyotes a moment of hope, but it ultimately didn’t matter.

In the dying seconds of a game that was essentially over, Torres slammed an unsuspecting Andrej Meszaros into the corner boards resulting in both Max Talbot and Schenn coming to their teammate’s defense. Torres and Talbot received coincidental minors for roughing.

A little after the roughing minors, the final buzzer sounded as the Flyers earned a 4-2 in Phoenix.

The Flyers absolutely dominated the first period, but then they allowed the Coyotes to dictate play for the second half of the second period and for the entire third period. Luckily for Philly, their first period was so productive that the Coyotes couldn’t overcome their early deficit.

Even though the Coyotes were spending most of the game in the Flyers’ defensive zone, they weren’t producing too many great scoring chances. They produced 38 shots overall, but a lot of the Coyotes energy was spent on their 22 shots that never hit the net.

Another reason why it looked like the Coyotes were dictating play was the fact they out hit the Flyers 49-16.

Finishing games on back-to-back days, the Flyers don’t have another game until Wednesday when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres.

Notes: The Flyers have won three of their last four road games and two of those wins came in overtime…Bryzgalov had 69 shots, 3 goals against, and a save percentage of .957 in the two games against the Coyotes this season…The first period marked the fourth time this season the Flyers have had a four-goal period,with their last coming in the third period of their 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on October 29…Tonight marks the first time Briere has had back-to-back two-assist games since Games 5 and 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals…Whitney’s goal in the second period ended a 102:13 goalless stretch for the Coyotes…The Flyers improved to3-0-1 against the Pacific Division this season (DAL 0-0-0, LAK 0-0-1, SJS 0-0-0, PHX 2-0-0, ANA 1-0-0)and also upped their mark to 5-1-1 against the Western Conference this season.

  • XX89

    He wasn’t traded guys, he walked away when we gave him a better deal.

    • http://flyersfaithful.com Marcello

      Bryzgalov? He was traded for Clackson, a 3rd round pick, and a conditional pick in the beginning June. Then he signed before free agency started. The update to the post that says he tested the free agency market is actually wrong. He never made it to free agency.

  • XX89

    He wasn’t traded guys, he walked away when we gave him a better deal.

    • http://flyersfaithful.com Marcello

      Bryzgalov? He was traded for Clackson, a 3rd round pick, and a conditional pick in the beginning June. Then he signed before free agency started. The update to the post that says he tested the free agency market is actually wrong. He never made it to free agency.

  • XX89

    He wasn’t traded guys, he walked away when we gave him a better deal.

    • http://flyersfaithful.com Marcello

      Bryzgalov? He was traded for Clackson, a 3rd round pick, and a conditional pick in the beginning June. Then he signed before free agency started. The update to the post that says he tested the free agency market is actually wrong. He never made it to free agency.