Flyers Notes: Bryzgalov won't share preparation secret

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Flyers Notes: Bryzgalov won't share preparation secret

Ilya Bryzgalov has been the Flyers’ best, most consistent player through each of the nine games he’s played in 2013.

But if that’s got anything to do with the way he’s getting himself mentally prepared, we won’t be hearing about it.

“I can’t tell you,” Bryzgalov said after Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning (see story). “Because you wouldn’t believe me.”

Nonetheless, Bryzgalov was stellar yet again against the Lightning, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced, and keeping the Bolts silenced through almost 50 minutes of play. Bryzgalov was calm and focused through the entire game, coming up with key saves a few times against center Steven Stamkos, who has averaged a point a game against the Flyers in his career.

During a brief injury scare in the third period -- a collision with Lightning center Cory Conacher -- it was as if the air were sucked out of the Wells Fargo Center. Losing Bryzgalov would be a huge blow to an already injury-riddled team.

“It was my ankle,” Bryzgalov said. “It was hit and twisted. I felt sharp pains for a short amount of time and I had to stretch my ankle in my skates, but it was fine.”

It’s been a rocky start to the season for Bryzgalov, but not because of the way he’s played. He’s been the Cliff Lee of the Flyers, giving his team the chance to win but not getting any offensive support.

But if the Flyers can find a way to jump-start their goal scoring, Bryzgalov’s success will make them a much greater threat than they’ve been through 10 games this season.

“Bryz was solid again [Tuesday night],” Danny Briere said. “He looks comfortable, he looks in control. Nothing fazes him at this point. It’s good to see. I said this morning, if he keeps playing the same way, we’re going to be a dangerous team. And a game like tonight, a lot of offensive power on their side, and he more than did the job against them.”

‘I regret nothing’
Zac Rinaldo’s fight against Lightning winger B.J. Crombeen sent the game’s sellout crowd to its feet. The fans only got louder once they realized a perfectly landed punch had knocked Crombeen out cold.

Crombeen was kept out of the rest of the game as a precaution, but afterward hinted that maybe Rinaldo had continued to hit him well after he should have stopped, after he’d gone down to the ice.

According to Rinaldo, however, that’s not the case.

“I hit him 'til he was down,” Rinaldo said. “I’m not going to hit nobody, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I’ll hit him 'til he’s down, I made sure he was down, and that was it.”

Wearing a hoodie pulled close over his eyes -- almost like a boxer might -- Rinaldo added he even checked in with referee Kelly Sutherland to make sure he stopped himself from needlessly pounding his opponent.

Sutherland said he had, according to Rinaldo. That’s a good thing, considering his mind was blank at the time.

“So many things are going through your mind when you’re fighting,” Rinaldo said. “It’s a fight! You ever been to a fight? It’s crazy. You don’t know what you’re thinking.”

Loose pucks
Claude Giroux was 18 for 25 (72 percent) on faceoffs Tuesday night. ... Rookie Tye McGinn led the team in shots with four.

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).

 

Flyers collapse in second period vs. Devils, fall in wild card

Flyers collapse in second period vs. Devils, fall in wild card

This was game the Flyers needed to win.

A team they were more than capable of beating.

Two points they absolutely had to have if they’re going to reclaim the wild card they so carelessly tossed aside in the past month.

And it was all lost when they became unglued over a bad penalty, then an even worse call, during a tied game late in the second period.

Poof! Two goals later, it’s 3-1 New Jersey as the Flyers collapsed in a 4-1 loss Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center to the Devils and slipped one point behind Toronto (51) in the wild card (see Instant Replay).

Veteran referee Dan O’Halloran, who calls an honest game, whistled Radko Gudas for clipping on a legal hip check for a Devils power play.

Then, Flyer MVP candidate Wayne Simmonds argued and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct call.

New Jersey scored on the subsequent 5-on-3 power play, then the Devils added a bad goal off a horrendous line change in the final 48 ticks of the stanza to completely change the complexion of the game.

“I’ll take blame for that,” Simmonds said. “I didn’t agree with the [Gudas] penalty, I got an extra two that’s my fault. They score a goal, make it 2-1, that’s a momentum changer, I take all of the blame for that.”

O’Halloran should have warned Simmonds to walk away, but didn’t. That’s what a good, veteran official does. He blew it. Twice.

“What was said both ways?” Simmonds asked. “The referee was talking to me; I was talking to him. I am not commenting on calls; it is what it is. It happened, it’s over with now. I am not going to say anything about that.”

That the Flyers collapsed so easily at that point just goes to show you how vulnerable and how fragile this team is right now. This was fifth loss in six games for Dake Hakstol's squad.

“It’s a turning point in the hockey game, but no one play or one situation dictates a hockey game,” Hakstol insisted.

Indeed, the poor line change was just as bad or worse. Jakub Voracek was going off the ice at the blue line when the puck was unexpectedly tossed at his feet.

“I didn’t [expect it] and tried to redirect it and it kinda fumbled and we changed and they got a breakaway out of it,” Voracek said.

Miles Wood sped past several Flyers up the right side on Michal Neuvirth, who had not had to make a momentum save till then. He couldn’t. It was 3-1.

If Voracek gets the puck deep enough, the entire sequence is voided.

“It’s two-fold,” countered Hakstol. “It’s the turnover and not being able to get the puck deep. And then it’s the line change.”

A lot of bad things are happening to the Flyers right now. Just a little adversity seems to collapse them like a house of cards.

That wasn’t the case in December when they won 10 games in succession.

“When you lose so many games, you lose confidence,” said Neuvirth, who was pulled for “precautionary reasons” said general manager Ron Hextall, as Steve Mason played the final period.

Neuvirth was limping after the game after tweaking his left knee again, sources said.

“For us it was a tough break to come back, the Devils playing really good hockey, but I think we got to keep believing and keep pushing forward. I still believe in this group,” Neuvirth said.

Question is, do they believe in each other?

Even after giving up the game’s first goal, the Flyers came back tied it, 1-1, on a jam-in goal past Keith Kinkaid by Travis Konecny, had some momentum, then lost everything in that brutal second period.

That’s not to say they didn’t have their chances. Six power plays? No goal? Then again, the power play is 0-for-11 over the past two games. Claude Giroux’s first unit was awful in this one.

And then there’s eight penalties the Flyers took, as well.

“Yeah, we had penalty trouble,” Konecny said. “I think it has kind of crept into our game in the past four or five games. It is not like it is one specific guy. Everyone is taking penalties. We are working hard, and some of those penalties are working hard.

“There are some things we can clean up a little bit, but at the same time when we have taken penalties our  guys have been great. You can’t stop everyone. Everyone’s got good power plays and our guys have been phenomenal on the PK. We just have to take a little less.”

“It’s tough," Neuvrith added. "Seems like taking bad penalties at the wrong times and it’s costing us the games.”

Hakstol insists the team’s confidence hasn’t waned even if it seems that’s exactly what has happened.

“No, I’ve answered that question before,” Hakstol said with a certain amount of irritation. “It’s hard, if we want to rest on confidence sagging, that’s the wrong answer. Our answer is pull together, dig in and get back to work.”