January 22, 2013
(Box Score from Flyers.NHL.com)
The Flyers started out slow in the opening period of their first two games, but they came out firing on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately, the Flyers were playing a game where the puck just wasn't bouncing their way. The New Jersey Devils shutout the Flyers 3-0, handing Philadelphia its third 0-3-0 start in franchise history.
Like in the first two games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo, the Flyers found themselves in an early 1-0 hole once again.
Sean Couturier was supposed to defend New Jersey's Travis Zajac, but allowed Zajac to get open in front of the net.
Zajac intercepted a slap-shot from the point by Dainius Zubrus, then wrapped a shot around Ilya Bryzgalov for the 1-0 Devils' lead. It was Zajac's second goal of the season, and it came just over a minute into the game.
With 35 seconds left in the first, Braydon Coburn was sent to the penalty box for interference. Ten seconds later, New Jersey's David Clarkson converted on the power play oppurtunity.
Clarkson, positioned behind the net, deflected the puck off the skate of Ruslan Fedotenko in front of the net and in for a power play goal and a 2-0 Devils' lead at the end of the first period.
The Flyers were actually on the offensive attack more than the Devils were in the first, out-shooting them 9-3. But Philadelphia couldn't get anything by veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur, while the Devils took advantage of the opportunities they had.
The Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk was awarded a penalty shot early in the second, after Kimmo Timonen hooked him in an attempt to stop a breakaway. This happening while the Flyers were on a power play.
With a one-on-one chance against Bryzgalov, Kovalchuk scored on a backhander to put New Jersey up 3-0.
Frustration began to take over the Flyers from there.
14 of the Flyers' 16 penalties came after Kovalchuk's penalty shot. The most notable being Wayne Simmonds cross-checking Brodeur after the whistle halfway through the second.
Simmonds was sent to the box for goaltender interference, but not before his move caused a few fights in front of the net and more penalties to be handed out.
The Flyers also went 0-for-6 on power play opportunities, continuing their struggles on special teams. They are now a dismal 1-for-15 on the power play in three games thus far.
Although Ilya Bryzgalov gave up three goals, he was actually one of the Flyers' top performers for the game. He stopped multiple other scoring opportunities generated by the Devils, keeping the score from being a lot worse.
Bryzgalov made 23 saves on the night. The goals he allowed were the result of poor defense in front of him, a fluke and a match-up against one of the more skilled players in the league.
The Flyers next game will be at home against the New York Rangers on Thursday night. They need to get their act together before then, because they lost to the Rangers all six times they played them last season.
If the Flyers let their frustrations get to them again like on Tuesday night, then things could get ugly for them fast.
Forward Tye McGinn and defenseman Bruno Gervais debuted as Flyers in Tuesday night's game. McGinn got 12:13 of ice time and Gervais played 12:44 on the blue line.
Danny Briere (wrist injury) skated with other scratches Tuesday morning. It may be another week until the veteran forward returns according to CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio.
(Image from BroadStreetHockey.com)