Ilya Bryzgalov came up huge again for the Flyers, as he stopped 37 shots in the Flyers’ 3-2 win against the visiting Detroit Red Wings tonight. On an evening where the Flyers’ organization retired Mark Howe’s number, Bryzgalov and Philly’s penalty kill showed up to give the Flyers’ their second straight one-goal game victory.
“He’s been great for us the last month,” said Claude Giroux of Bryzgalov. “When he plays great, it’s motivation for us to step up and play great.”
Giroux had a goal and an assist in the win, as he created scoring chances throughout the game. After his flashy breakaway goal in the first period, Giroux’s hustle on a penalty kill in the second period led to his assist on Max Talbot’s goal.
The only downside to the win were the injuries to Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr.
Voracek, who scored in the first period, left after he was laid out by Niklas Kronwall in the second period. With his head down in an attempt to pick up a puck that was wrapping around the boards, Voracek was rocked by the back of Kronwall’s shoulder before he dropped to the ice and had his arms positioned up to signify the intensity of the hit. He might have a concussion, as the forward received stitches after his departure from the game.
Jagr left in the second period with a hip injury after he engaged in an awkward collision in the Flyers’ zone. The veteran forward is day-to-day.
As for the game, a slow start handed Philly another early deficit.
At the four-minute mark, Valtteri Filppula skated into the Flyers’ zone and passed the puck to Henrik Zetterberg, who had just charged over the blue line. After he received the biscuit, Zetterberg guarded the puck from Braydon Coburn until he released a backhander at the bottom of the circle. With Bryzgalov already dropped to his knees, and not ready for a ridiculous backhanded shot from such a sharp angle, Zetterberg was able to roof the puck for his 16th tally of the season.
Later in the period, after the Red Wings dictated play for a bit, Voracek capitalized on a Detroit miscommunication.
Wings’ Goalie Joey MacDonald left the puck behind the net for Doug Janik before he skated back to the crease. Janik, who was in the corner to MacDonald’s right, thought the goalie would pass the puck to him rather than leave the puck behind the net. Due to the confusion, Voracek was able to swoop in and throw a wrap-around shot towards the net. After the puck hit Brendan Smith’s skate and beat MacDonald, the Flyers found themselves in a tied game.
In the final two minutes of the period, Giroux made MacDonald look silly to give Philly the lead.
From the defensive zone, Coburn was able to move the puck from the corner into the neutral zone, where Giroux pounced on it for a clear path to MacDonald from the Wings’ blue line. After a quick jerk of his shoulders to drop MacDonald to his knees, Giroux moved the puck to his backhand and put home his 24th in 2011-2012 past the hopeless Detroit netminder.
“I got a lucky bounce and I was able to get the puck behind the ‘D,’ said Giroux. “Anytime you get a chance like that, you obviously want to put it in the net and I was able to do that.”
Talbot nearly gave the Flyers a two-goal lead before the end of the first, as he failed to convert on a chance from the bottom of the slot with MacDonald on his bottom.
To start the second period, the Flyers had several scoring chances before Kronwall’s monstrous hit on Voracek.
As tempers started to flare in the shifts that followed the check, Zac Rinaldo was sent to the sin bin for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Flyers’ pest pushed Brad Stuart once after the whistle on a call where Rinaldo was sent to the box due to his reputation rather than his actions.
Philly killed off the penalty, but found themselves down a man just minutes later due to a Scott Hartnell roughing minor. After he laid out Smith clean in the Wings’ corner, and Brayden Schenn had a healthy hit on Cory Emmerton, Hartnell hit Janik after the puck left the zone to earn two minutes in the box.
With the fans incensed by the call, as well as the sting of Kronwall’s hit still fresh in their minds, Talbot exacted some revenge for the Flyers and their faithful following.
Giroux was able to knock the puck away from Ian White at the Flyers’ blue line to start a two-on-two the other way. As both White and Kronwall focused on Giroux, the Flyers’ forward was able to get a shot off to create a rebound. Talbot, who followed Giroux and Detroit’s defenders into the zone, found himself alone in the slot with the puck and MacDonald out of position. He slammed home the chance for his second shorthanded goal of the season.
The score was still 3-1 after 40 minutes, as Bryzgalov stopped every shot the Wings threw at him in a late-period surge.
The third period was dominated by the Red Wings, but Bryzgalov let the Flyers hang on for the 3-2 win.
Early in the final period, Hartnell ran into MacDonald to earn a goaltender interference minor. The Flyers were able to kill off the penalty, but Johan Franzen scored seconds after the man advantage to make it a one-goal game.
Franzen received a cross-ice pass from Smith after he bolted into the Flyers’ zone and ripped a shot by Bryzgalov’s right shoulder for his 25th goal of the season 8:47 into the third period.
Detroit continued to dominate play throughout the remainder of the period, which led to Mike Babcock’s decision to pull MacDonald in the final minute in an attempt to tie the game. Bryzgalov, much like he did against the Capitals on Sunday, came up big when he needed to with several crucial saves.
The Flyers’ goalie made big saves on Filppula, Jiri Hudler, and Zetterberg in the final 60 seconds to give Philly their third win in a row.
The Orange and Black’s next contest will be on Thursday, as they host the Florida Panthers.
Notes: This is the Flyers’ seventh straight regular season win against the Red Wings in Philadelphia…This is the Flyers’ first winning streak of three games or more since they started off December with a seven-game winning streak…Every Flyer wore a Howe jersey during the pre-game skate in honor of the Former Flyers’ defenseman’s special night. Each player wore a patch with the number 2 on their right breast during the game…The Flyers killed off all four of Detroit’s power-play chances tonight and extended their streak to nine straight successful kills. They haven’t allowed a power-play goal against since Mark Giordano’s first period goal in the Flyers 5-4 shootout win against the Calgary Flames on February 25th…This was Bryzgalov’s ninth straight start. He is 6-2-0 with one no-decision and a save percentage of .912…In the Flyers’ last four games, Bryzgalov has a save percentage of .950…Zetterberg’s goal in the first period ended Bryzgalov’s shutout streak at 74:49…The Flyers blocked 24 shots tonight…Talbot’s shorthanded goal makes him one of two Flyers with two shorthanded tallies this season (Sean Couturier). The goal was the Flyers’ fifth shorthanded tally this season and their first since Couturier’s against the Minnesota Wild on January 17th…Andreas Lilja’s hooking minor at the 5:21 mark of the first period was the first time the Flyers went on the penalty kill since Coburn’s interference minor at the 15:04 mark of the third period in Thursday’s win against the Islanders…Today is Eric Wellwood’s 22nd birthday…Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Jimmy Howard (groin), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Jakub Kindl (upper body), and Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) were all out for Detroit…The Red Wings had two shots in the first period…The Flyers improved to 1-1-0 against the Red Wings, 4-3-0 against the Central Division (STL 0-1-0, DET 1-1-0, NSH 1-1-0, CHI 1-0-0, CBJ 1-0-0), and to 11-5-2 against the Western Conference…The Flyers improved to 37-21-7. They were 40-19-6 after 65 games last season.