After the Eagles' absolute debacle of a loss to the travesty that is the 2011 Arizona Cardinals, I barely felt like watching another second of sports this Sunday evening. Thankfully, the Flyers gave us a reason to lock up our sharps and settle in for some HBO programming without doing ourselves or others harm.
Ilya Bryzgalov was a rock in net to limit the Florida attack to just one goal until the waning seconds of the game, and the Flyers hung three on Jose Theodore in a solid overall performance by the Orange & Black.
Danny Briere opened the scoring with a backhand cleanup just off of Theodore's doorstep, giving him five on the season. Danny had very little angle and was coming in from his weaker side, yet still elevated it to the top shelf for a gorgeous finish. Braydon Coburn tallied in the second on a great breakout off a takeaway in the Flyers zone, and Matt Read scored on a penalty shot to put the Flyers up 3-1. The Panthers would score a garbage time goal to pull within one, but Philadelphia had control for most of this game, and the way they scored in three very different ways was a great indicator of what this team can do.
Video highlights and discussion below.
Coburn's goal was a nice reminder of how fast this team can change gears if they can pull a takeaway in their own zone. Max Talbot fed a breaking Coburn, who found Jakub Voracek, who in turn fed it back to Coburn with a wide open net. The speed of the transaction was more than Florida could handle, and Coburn added his first goal of the season to a November that already included a contract extension, a fight win over Steve Downie, and the birth of a new baby. Way to go, Cobie.
Read's penalty shot came while the team was shorthanded on a highsticking call to Talbot. It's amazing to think that despite the personnel this team lost in the off-season, they're still very dangerous on the kill. Read drew a call as he barreled toward the net, and on the ensuing penalty shot, powered one through Theodore's legs.
The double-minor to Talbot was still on the clock, and the Flyers killed it off with some smart work by their PK unit, a group that includes rookies that play like seasoned veterans. Sean Couturier has been very good in all situations so far this season, and Peter Laviolette clearly trusts him.
The rookies gave the Flyers a boost tonight. Read's contribution will show up on the scoresheet, but Zac Rinaldo was a fireball, notching a few more big hits, and Cooter put in 5:27 of time on the penalty kill alone.
Bryz was sharp all night, with his positioning making him look even bigger than he already is.
Overall, not much more we could ask for from the Flyers, topping a solid Panthers team by a 3-2 count.
Talbot drew some bad luck from the zebras, issued a double-minor for a love tap that somehow drew blood only Dexter could find in the mouth of Brian Campbell. Fortunately, the Flyers scored on the man-down when Read pocketed the penalty shot goal. Later, Talbot would take a stick in the mouth, going to the ice with blood pouring out of his mouth without even a call.
The Flyers got a break when Stephen Weiss did something to piss off the official who called him for hooking on the play that led to Read's penalty shot. Weiss was assessed a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct, one of the Panthers' leading scorers then missing crunch time of a close game.
Neither team scored on the power play despite a total of 12 penalties being called.
Bryzgalov made 31 saves on 33 shots, again looking very much out of the woods.
Chris Pronger is looking healthy, as he led all skaters with 24:13 of ice time, a few minutes more than any other player. Claude Giroux led forwards in TOI with 21:36.
Couturier leads all rookies in shorthanded time on ice per game, per the Flyers.
Giroux and Briere were strong at the dot, with G winning 13 of 18 and Danny 9 of 13.
The Flyers are in action again tomorrow night, when they head to Carolina to face the Hurricanes.
Photo by Steve Mitchell-US Presswire