Bryzgalov, Giroux play heroes as Flyers get by Leafs in SO

Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca

Claude Giroux netted the lone goal of the shootout and the Philadelphia Flyers won their fifth straight game with a 1-0 decision over Toronto at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.

Giroux ended the second round by using multiple stick fakes to pull Jonas Gustavsson out of position before flipping a shot under the crossbar from the left side.

“It’s not fair,” Bryzgalov said of the move, which Giroux admitted he took from Red Wings magician Pavel Datsyuk. “He did it a couple times in our practices, I saw that. But he cannot do that in a game. It’s unreal.”

Phil Kessel tried to sneak his shot home inside the right post, but Ilya Bryzgalov flashed his pad to end the game.

It is the continuation of a tremendous stretch for the 31-year-old, who notched his fifth shutout of the season and third in four starts. He became the first goaltender since Martin Biron to notch back-to-back shutouts in the regular season and the first since Michael Leighton did so in the 2010 playoffs.

Bryzgalov stopped 29 shots through 65 minutes for the Flyers, who have beaten Toronto in all three meetings this year. Also in the ledger for the former Coyote is his current shutout streak, now at 136 minutes, 13 seconds.

And as he had in previous wins during this run, he immediately waved off inquiries in the postgame about his own state of mind and preferred to talk about the team’s accomplishments.

“I’m not even thinking about it. All we need is to get some points, we need to win some games to climb up in the standings. It’s all we’re trying to do, digging hard and playing hard to win some games.”

Gustavsson ended with 27 saves for the Maple Leafs, who skidded to their ninth loss in 10 and are quickly undoing what it took three-quarters of the season to build. Toronto has dipped all the way to 12th place in the East, six points away from eighth place, now held by the Washington Capitals.

The Philly netminder made six saves in the first period, matched by eight stops for Gustavsson.

Bryzgalov made progressively tougher saves through the second period, none better than point-blank stops on Matt Frattin and Mikhail Grabovski on separate Toronto power plays minutes apart late in the second period.

Nikolai Kulemin appeared to have a slam-dunk in the first 40 seconds of the third, but his uncontested whack at the left side hit the post instead. Clarke MacArthur also flubbed his own opportunity facing a half-open net later on.

Foreshadowing his later, more important save, Bryzgalov stoned Kessel on a clear breakaway just over 30 seconds into OT.

Notes: Biron accomplished his feat on April 4-6, 2008 against the Devils and Penguins…Leighton blanked Montreal in consecutive games to open up the Eastern Conference Finals on May 16-18, 2010…Bryzgalov has stopped 128 of the last 130 shots he has faced…The last game between these clubs that went scoreless after 2 periods happened on December 12, 2002, an eventual 2-1 Flyers win in Philadelphia…The last time a game between these two franchises ended 1-0 came on December 12, 1968, a 1-0 Leafs win at the Spectrum…Jaromir Jagr played his first game in Toronto since December of 2007, when he tallied a goal and three assists in a 6-1 Rangers victory.