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Flyers at Coyotes, 3/12/2011


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From http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Bill-Meltzer/Flyers-Gameday12311--Coyotes/45/40209

PREVIEW 3:30 AM EST

There is no time for the Flyers (14-7-3) to celebrate their comeback victory last night in Anaheim. The team is right back in action tonight, traveling to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Coyotes (13-8-3). The game starts at 8 PM EST and will be broadcast locally on Comcast Sportsnet Philly.

This is the second and final meeting between the teams this season. On Nov. 17, the Flyers downed Dave Tippett's team, 2-1.

In that game, Matt Read netted the game winner with just 13.6 second remaining in the third period, sending the Flyers to victory. Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves in defeating his former club, while the club in front of him turned in workmanlike all-around performance. James van Riemsdyk tallied the other Philadelphia goal. Mikkel Boedker tied the game for Phoenix at 3:38 of the third period off a rebound into the short side of the net.

The Flyers enter this game coming off a dramatic comeback victory last night against the Anaheim Ducks, while the Coyotes were idle. Phoenix lost in Winnipeg, 1-0, on Thursday night. Mike Smith made 25 saves in a losing effort, while Phoenix was blanked on by Ondrej Pavelec on 29 shots.

I will post lineups later today.

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It may be a good thing that the Flyers had five nights off preceding the game in Anaheim. Trailing 3-0 in the game past the midway point in regulation forced Peter Laviolette to shorten his bench earlier -- including going exclusively with four defensemen and leaving rookies Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall on the bench after just 14 and 11 shifts respectively.

That was not the ideal way to kick off a month in which the team plays 16 times (13 on the road), but all that matters right now is that Philly somehow found a way to put two points in the cash register to kick off the month.

Whenever a team has a long layoff, you can pretty much toss things like power play and penalty kill trends and individual hot/cold streaks from before the break right out the window. However, it a concern that the Flyers have only scored first in one of the last six games and trailed after the opening stanza each time (getting outscored by a combined 11-2 margin). That needs to end immediately.

The Flyers scored three power play goals (in 9 chances) in Anaheim and killed off 2 of 3 penalties, including one late in regulation. The Ducks' power play goal was one that Bryzgalov should not have given up.

The Flyers won in Anaheim despite -- not because of -- their goaltending. Bryzgalov was was not very good in the game, struggling with rebound control and puckhandling while only really having to make a couple "big" saves (including a very nice glove save on Teemu Selänne in the first period when the game was already 2-0 in the Ducks' favor).

Andrew Cogliano's power play goal was shoveled on net with one hand and got through the five hole after Bryz missed an attempted pokecheck. Selänne's goal was unstoppable, as Braydon Coburn got caught in no man's land and Saku Koivu found him near the opposite post.

On Andrew Gordon's goal that made it 3-0 in the second period, the Flyers got caught with Marshall and Bourdon out on the ice at the same time, albeit against the fourth line. They didn't exactly provide textbook coverage on the rush. However, it was a fat rebound Bryzgalov allowed into the opposite slot off a side angle shot by Ben Maxwell that created a situation where the puck went in off Gordon's skate (and possible Bourdon's leg as well). There was no kicking motion at all by the goals scorer, but the play was briefly reviewed after Bryzgalov squawked immediately.

Last night, Laviolette started started seven rookies: forwards Matt Read (who generated a good shorthanded scoring chance early in the game but was otherwise quiet), Sean Couturier (who appeared OK after being boarded dangerously by Matt Beleskey), Brayden Schenn (some good shifts), Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk plus the two defense callups from the Phantoms.

While there was a plethora of rookies in the Flyers' starting lineup, it was the veterans who stepped up to carry the team to victory. The Flyers top forward line, defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Danny Briere accounted for all of the club's goals and assists.

Believe it or not, the plays where Jaromir Jagr (2G, 1A) tallied his two goals that brought the team back to within 3-2 were actually not even his best chances of the night. He was buzzing around the offensive zone all game, showing no ill effects from the groin pull that basically has kept him out (except for one abortive attempt to play on Long Island) since getting hurt early in the first period of the Phoenix game.

Jagr's first tally was more along the lines of a Scott Hartnell (or Gary Dornhoefer) type of power play goal where he got between the circles and had Kimmo Timonen's point shot bounce off his pants and re-direct past Jonas Hiller. The second one was a low and scorching one-timer from the circle off a nice, flat pass from Timonen. Jagr has collected a couple hundred similar goals to the second in his NHL career, but he was denied by Hiller on an even more lethal-looking one-timer in overtime.

Timonen, meanwhile, was an absolute beast in the Anaheim game. He logged huge ice time (25:33), played tremendous hockey in all three zones and generated three primary helpers. That was an All-Star level performance all the way around.

Hartnell (1G, 1A) had an outstanding game along the walls, especially over the latter portion of the game and attacked the net. He was finally rewarded by taking Timonen's feed from behind the net and quickly putting it home before Hiller could react.

Claude Giroux (1G, 1A) absolutely buried the overtime power play game winner past Hiller. One facet of the game that could have gotten overlooked -- after going just 1-for-6 on faceoffs in the first period, Giroux went 12-for-18 (66.7%) on draws over the rest of the game. That played a big part in why Philly spent so much time in the offensive zone over the latter part of the game.

Briere (2A) quietly played a role in Philly clawing their way back into the game on special teams. He rotated the puck to Timonen on the second Jagr goal, as the Flyers got well set up after some missed opportunities. He also got the primary assist on the game winner.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the work of some of the Flyers' supporting-cast defensemen in the game. I thought both Matt Carle (22:57 played, 3 blocks, 0 giveaways) and Andrej Meszaros (21:02, 4 hits, 1 block) were outstanding.

Braydon Coburn got off to a brutal start in the first period, but got much better as the game moved along. He nearly causing a shorthanded breakaway for Cogliano on the Flyers' first power play. Before the period ended, he was late to peel off the side boards and react to the sequence that led to Selänne's goal. However, he recovered as the game progressed and went to log 23:45 of ice time with 3 shots on goal, 2 hits and 2 blocks.

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The Flyers' win last night marks the club's second win of the season when trailing after two periods. They had just one all of last year.

The last time the Flyers came back from a three-goal or more deficit to win a game was December 11, 2008 vs. Carolina, when they trailed 5-1 after two periods and came back to win 6-5 in a shootout.

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Coming back from 3-0 is pretty impressive, even if it's only the Ducks. Glad to see bryzgalov play well after letting in 3. I still think he blows though.

his first quarter report card is a C-, yes he has one shutout but other than that MEH Edited by Irishjim
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Leighton got us to the Stanley Cup Finals I believe....He also got us to hurt during the summer with that flukey goal that he let in...mental mistake at the wrong time.

Bryz is the question mark for this season...Not Jagr, or the rookies, though he had an OK overall game here in AZ, his strong play in the first helped us to get going the rest of the way.

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