The Philadelphia Flyers started their road trip off with a win in Edmonton Saturday night. The Flyers won 4-3 via shootout against their former teammate Ilya Bryzgalov.
The first period was rough for the orange and black. Taylor Hall stole the puck from Braydon Coburn in the Flyers zone and roofed a shot over Mason’s shoulder in the opening minute of the game. Things did not get much better for Philadelphia from there. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a two goal lead just four minutes into the game. He made a nifty move around Mark Streit and had plenty of room to take a wrist shot that beat Mason. Over the rest of the period the Flyers started to find their legs. Having played Calgary on Friday night, the Oilers were fresh coming out of the gate. The Flyers had been off for four days and they were clearly a rusty team. The Flyers controlled much of the latter half of the period and ended up leading in shots 11-8.
The Flyers dominated the second period. In the opening seconds of the period Sean Couturier had both a breakaway and a follow up opportunity to beat Bryzgalov. He did not convert on either chance. However, about three and a half minutes into the period, Andrew Ference took a penalty. The Flyers scored only 16 seconds into the ensuing power play. Claude Giroux blasted a slap shot that was redirected by Wayne Simmonds. Later in the period, the Flyers had another power play. On this one, Voracek sent a pass across the crease to Simmonds who put it home to tie the game. The Flyers outshot the Oilers 14-3 in the second period.
The third period went back and forth. Overall, Edmonton controlled play. The Flyers took two costly minor penalties, and the Oilers capitalized on the first opportunity. Luckily, the Flyers were given a 5-on-3 opportunity with 5:44 left in regulation. During the 5-on-3, Timonen’s slap shot was redirected by Scott Hartnell to tie the game. Ilya Bryzgalov, in typical fashion, showed his displeasure. The Oilers hit the post many times in the third period, including David Perron’s breakaway. Regulation ended with the score tied at three. In overtime, neither team had great scoring chances. Braydon Coburn was especially noticeable in overtime with one quality scoring chance and one very good back checking defensive play. The game then went into a shootout. Jordan Eberle started things off well for the Oilers with a nifty goal on Steve Mason. Lecavalier was Philadelphia’s first shooter and he was stopped by Bryz. However, after that, Mason stopped both Perron and Gagner while both Giroux and Raffl scored for the Flyers.
Notes from the game:
-Giroux now has an eight game point streak (5G, 10A). Voracek now has a nine game point streak (6G, 9A). Wayne Simmonds now has three straight two-goal games and has points in five straight games (7G, 2A). Let’s hope this hot streak continues throughout the road trip.
-Luke Schenn was all over the place. On one shift he would make smart plays with the puck and be skating relatively well. On the next shift he would look dumb, slow, and be giving the puck away. On one third period shift he made a nimble move to get around a forechecking forward, then only a few seconds later, he tried the same move at the opposing blue line and gave David Perron a breakaway. I’m rooting for Luke Schenn, but he is a mess right now.
-I hate to say this, but overall, Bryzgalov outplayed Mason. Mase made a few good saves, but he was helped out by the post more than anything. In the second period, Bryzgalov was under seige for long periods of time and kept Edmonton in the game. Bryzgalov’s 35 saves on 38 shots earned him 3rd star honors.
-Michael Raffl’s shootout goal was an amazing display of patience. The 25 year old Austrian has been winning over fans and critics with his play lately. You can watch the whole shootout here. I would recommend skipping the first round.