Claude Giroux backed up his words after the loss on Saturday, as he led the Philadelphia Flyers to an emphatic 7-0 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Monday afternoon.
The captain, who ripped his teammates for their effort in the wake of listless back-to-back road losses at New Jersey and Montreal, posted two goals and an assist, while he also set the tone early with hustle and physicality.
Danny Briere recorded the same stat line and Matt Read had a three-point performance with a goal and two helpers. Jakub Voracek produced a career-high four-assist game, while Ilya Bryzgalov picked up his first shutout of the season with a 19-save effort.
As for the Islanders, they absorbed their worst home shutout loss since entering the NHL in 1972, and took the worst defeat against the Flyers since losing 10-2 at the Spectrum in March of 1973.
The visitors dominated every facet of the game, especially in hustle and on special teams, two places they have struggled all season.
“I think as a team we weren’t satisfied,” Giroux said after the win. “How we showed up every game and how we played as a team, I think it wasn’t acceptable. [Monday] you saw everybody coming out, everybody was paying the price, everybody wanted to win. It’s a lot more fun to play like that.”
Philly went 2-for-4 on the power play, but more importantly the team was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. What could be considered the turning point of the game came in the first period when the Flyers had a one-goal lead and the team had to kill off a two-man advantage for two minutes. With Kimmo Timonen and Wayne Simmonds in the sin bin, Bryzgalov made one save and Ruslan Fedotenko blocked a shot to keep the lead intact.
As for the effort, the Flyers flew around the ice and had several scoring plays result simply from plays of heart and desire. Philadelphia had 25 hits to the Islanders 13, as well as 23 blocked shots to New York’s eight blocked shots.
“Everybody took a good hard look in the mirror,” Briere said. “(The meeting)
wasn’t very long, but it was to the point, saying that we need everybody to get
into the game. What he did the last few years for this team, I think he earned a
lot of respect throughout the room.”
The Islanders, on the other hand, seemed like a team that felt as though today’s contest was going to be an easy win. Coming off a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the hosts lacked any ability to cycle offensively and played sloppy throughout the loss. The high-scoring trio of John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Brad Boyes each posted a minus-3 rating and combined for just five of the team’s shots on net.
The scoring started when Giroux beat Evgeni Nabokov 26 seconds into the contest.
After he set the tone with a couple of checks on Boyes and Tavares, Giroux found a rebound from a Read shot that was blocked by Andrew MacDonald in the slot. The captain beat Nabokov high glove side for his fourth of 2013.
Philly proceeded to provide seven of the game’s first eight shots before the Islanders started to push back. After the shot count started to become more even, the 5-on-3 kill that lasted for two minutes occurred to let the Flyers leave the first period with a 1-0 lead.
The Orange and Black scored in the first minute of the second period thanks to Read’s ability to put home a rebound at the side of the cage.
Nicklas Grossmann’s shot from the point caused Nabokov to come out of the crease, as well as out of position, for the save. The rebound bounced towards the circle to Nabokov’s left, where Voracek nudged a pass to Giroux in the slot for a shot on a wide open net, but Travis Hamonic miraculously denied the attempt and forced it wide right. Unfortunately for Nabokov and Hamonic, Read was right where the blue liner’s blocked shot landed, as the second-year forward potted his seventh of 2013.
Later in the frame, Max Talbot created a rush shorthanded deep into the Isles’ zone before he was dumped and then cross-checked to the back by Kyle Okposo on the ground. This created a brief 4-on-4 segment before Philly converted on their shortened man advantage.
Voracek carried the biscuit into the offensive zone before he left a drop pass to Briere at the point. The former Buffalo Sabre returned the puck to Voracek, as the young forward streaked to the bottom of the circle to Nabokov’s right. The goalie shifted his hands on his stick as though he was going to poke check Voracek, which resulted in him being caught off guard when Philly’s winger tossed it to Brayden Schenn in the slot for his fourth tally of the season.
Later in the frame, the line of Giroux-Voracek-Read scored again to extend the Flyers’ lead to 4-0.
After Voracek possessed the puck behind Nabokov’s cage and worked off Lubomir Visnovsky’s physical defense, he found Read in the middle of the slot. Read slapped a pass to Giroux at the right side of Nabokov’s net, where the captain dangled his way past the Islanders’ goaltender and put the puck over the goal line before Visnovsky had time to come over and prevent the tally.
In the final 20 minutes, Zac Rinaldo scored early in the third period before Briere potted a pair in the last 10 minutes of regulation to make it a seven-goal game.
Rinaldo’s first goal of 2013 was thanks to a great play by Harry Zolnierczyk. In his second game of the season, Zolnierczyk flew into the Isles’ zone with the puck and drew Nabokov out of the cage before the forward skated below the goal line. With the goaltender out of the crease, Zolnierczyk tossed a pass through the blue paint to Rinaldo, who was in front for the easy dunk to make it 5-0 with 16:29 left in regulation.
Briere’s first of the game came less than seven minutes later, when Sean Couturier found the veteran at the far post on a cross-ice feed for an easy tap-in tally.
With 2:14 left, Briere gained possession of the disc in the neutral zone on a pass from the younger Schenn before he gained ground on Visnovsky in the offensive zone. Briere roofed a shot glove side on Nabokov for his second of the day and fifth of the campaign.
Following a brief scrap between Braydon Coburn and Matt Martin, the game concluded, as the Flyers had their most impressive win of 2013.
The Orange and Black conclude their six-game road trip on Wednesday, as they look to go 3-3-0 on their stretch of games away from the Wells Fargo Center with a meeting against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Notes: The victory was their largest by shutout over the Islanders since New York entered the NHL in 1972…The scoreless rout proved to be the club’s first by shutout since March 13, 2012 in a 3-0 win over the Devils. Including the playoffs, it ends a 40-game span without a whitewash…In his 400th regular season game, Bryzgalov recorded his 30th career shutout and improved to 196-139-43…Giroux produced his first three-point game and multi-goal game of the 2013 season. His last three-point game came in Game 6 of last season’s ECQF against the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he had a goal and two assists. His last multi-goal game was Game 2 of that series, where he recorded a hat trick and three assists…Giroux was also plus-3 today, which ended an 11-game span where he was posted an even or negative rating. It was his first game with a plus-3 rating or better since he was plus-4 in Game 2 of last season’s ECQF…Voracek notched his third multi-point game of 2013…This is the Flyers’ first win where they scored at least seven goals and shut out the opponent since their 7-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on October 28, 2008. Mike Knuble had a two-goal game in that victory over four years ago…Monday’s victory marked the second time the Orange and Black scored seven goals in a single game and the first time they won by a margin of seven goals…The last time Philly won by seven goals was their 9-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 5, 2011…With their win today, the Flyers are 5-3-1 when scoring a power-play goal and 5-4-0 when going 100% on the penalty kill…Rinaldo’s first in 2013 ended his 29-game goal drought, which includes five postseason games…Tye McGinn was scratched today in favor of Zolnierczyk, who had an assist, a hit, a blocked shot, and one minor penalty while going plus-1 in 8:50 of ice time…Kurtis Foster and Tom Sestito were also scratched for Philadelphia…Eric Boulton, Marty Reasoner, and Thomas Hickey were scratched for the Islanders…Giroux’s goal 26 seconds into the game was the quickest the Flyers have scored in a contest all season…The Flyers are 1-0-0 against the Islanders in 2013 and 2-4-0 against the Atlantic Division (PIT 0-1-0, NJD 0-2-0, NYR 1-1-0, NYI 1-0-0).