Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t have to make “humongous” saves Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild. That’s because the Flyers did something they haven’t done frequently the last couple of months which is play pretty well in front of the struggling netminder in a 5-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers drew blood early when they capitalized on a lack of discipline and sluggish start by Minnesota when Kimmo Timonen put the Flyers up 1-0 with a power play goal from the point.
The Flyers followed the goal with a very good first period effort. It was a complete effort which is something the Flyers and Bryzgalov sorely needed to happen. The team played pretty strong on both ends of the ice. It was probably the best all around effort the Flyers have had in quite some time.
Flyers rookie Sean Couturier who has been playing extremely well as of late scored on a beautiful 2-on-1 shorthanded play with a feed from teammate Matt Read to make it 2-0 in the second period.
The kid looks like he’s getting better and better and more confident every game. He plays much stronger on the puck than he did earlier in the year and he’s really showing flashes of being something special a year or two down the line. It’s easy to see why so many were shocked as Couturier’s dip to the 7th overall pick.
A collective “here we go again” was muttered among Flyers fans when Ilya Bryzgalov let in a weak goal over his glove in the 2nd period to former Flyer Darroll Powe. But that would be the only goal Bryz let up on the night, making 25 saves on 26 shots.
Bryzgalov wasn’t tested much with quality chances during the game but after the weak goal the Flyers quickly got that goal back with a Braydon Coburn goal that hit a Wild player and didn’t look back from there.
The Flyers added two more goals from Scott Hartnell (#20) and Jakub Voracek (#7) on the way to their 5-1 rout. The Flyers outshot Minnesota 34-26 and the Wild never really looked in the game.
Even though Bryzgalov didn’t have many chances this is still huge for his confidence and it was visible as he was leaving the ice tonight pretty pumped up.
The Flyers will look to continue to gain some crucial points against lesser teams as they face the New York Islanders at home on Thursday. Bryzgalov will most likely get a chance to build some consistency then.
Flyers Game Notes:
* Claude Giroux picked up with 200th National Hockey League point tonight on Kimmo Timonen’s first period power play goal.
* Sean Couturier extended his goal streak to five straight games.
* Jaromir Jagr added 2 assists tonight giving him 34 pts (12g, 22a) on the season.