In a completion of the home and home series, the Philadelphia Flyers were able to come away with a much needed home win keeping their slim but possible playoff hopes alive. Thanks to superb play from the goalie Ilya Bryzgalov who stopped 27 of 28 shots, the Flyers came away with a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Johan Hedberg stopped 21 of 22 of his shots, but was unable to stop Matt Read and Claude Giroux in the shootout.
Late in the first period with Philadelphia on a 3-on-2, Devils player Andy Greene collided with goalie Johan Hedberg and gave the Flyers a wide open net which Maxime Talbot buried off the assists from Simon Gagne and Matt Read. Besides the little mishap on that shift, the Devils came to play and were clearly out hustling the Flyers and just looked like the better team early.
The Devils had an early 5-on-3 with Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds both in the penalty box, but were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
The shots were an even 10 shots for each team.
In the second, the Devils were still forcing the issue and sooner or later they had to put one in the back of the net. That's exactly what happened as David Clarkson finally got out of his goal drought and redirected the Bryce Salvador shot into the back of the net tying the game at 1-1.
The shot totals in the second were 7-7 and 17-17 overall.
In the third, there was no scoring from either team but the physical play began to pick up on both sides. For the Devils you could see the Flyers becoming desperate to get this win and earn at least one point in this game.
There were outstanding opportunities for both teams to score but the goalies rose to the occasion and made excellent saves to preserve the tie game.
Peter Harrold of New Jersey was the victim of a vicious charge (can't even call that a hit) from Brayden Schenn and was lucky that he got up. Schenn should have got at least a 5 minute major for that hit and will certainly be getting suspended for leaving his feet.
On that powerplay the Devils were nearly inches away from winning the game. Tavis Zajac ripped a shot from the point which deflected off Bryzgalov, bounced off a couple of bodies in front of him, and trickled just inches away from going into the net and stunning the Flyers in Philadelphia. However, they were unable to score and the game would go into overtime.
The overtime was all Devils as they came close many times to ending the game but Ilya Bryzgalov would stand strong making some very impressive saves. He would make 6 saves in the overtime and basically kept the Flyers in the game.
The Devils had plently of opportunities, but couldn't convert the chances into goals.
"We had a couple good chances," Kovalchuk said. "But The Bryz was playing real well tonight.
In the shootout, Matt Read scored and Ilya Kovalchuk matched him. Claude Giroux scored on the second attempt, and both David Clarkson and Patrick Elias would miss on their shots giving the Flyers the win.
The Devils were 7-0 vs. the Flyers in shootouts all-time before Friday nights game.
"We needed to win a hockey game tonight," coach Peter Laviolette said.
Peter Laviolette said it perfectly. The Flyers needed this win, not only for keeping their chances of a playoff birth alive, but to get some momentum for this team heading into their next game. Philadelphia came into the game having lost 4 of their last 5 games and sitting at 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
No doubt Philadelphia need this win.
(AP Photo/ Matt Slocum)
The Devils (13-9-6) will be in action on Saturday night at the Prudential Center, as they will take on the Montreal Canadiens (18-5-4) at 7:00pm. Until Saturday night, Go Devils!