Saturday, March 02, 2013

Bryzgalov sets milestone as Flyers slip by Senators

Philadelphia, PA -- Ilya Bryzgalov posted 33 saves to record his 200th career victory, and Wayne Simmonds netted the deciding goal in the second period to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

In typical stoic fashion, the Russian netminder said he felt "great" about reaching that mark. He improved to 44-25-8 in the regular season since his acquisition from Phoenix two Summers ago. 

Simmonds was more effusive in his praise: “I think he has been playing well all season. So, he stole a couple for us already this year, and tonight was another one. He got his confidence back. You can tell when a goalie has his confidence nothing really fazes him. He’s calm in the crease. He’s observing pucks and he’s playing really well.” 

Jakub Voracek tallied the initial goal for the Flyers, who have won two straight and three of four to reach .500 (11-11-1) for the first time this season.

"It's huge for us to get back to .500," said Voracek. "It's a good step and I think we are in the playoff spot now and we just have to keep winning."

Philadelphia had dropped its previous six games this season when attempting to break even, but this accomplishment will be severely tested in the upcoming week with games at New York, home against Pittsburgh and at Boston.

Marc Methot scored the lone goal of the game for the Senators, who have dropped their past two following a five-game winning streak. Ben Bishop stopped 39 shots in defeat.

Just past the midway mark of the first period, things took an interesting turn for the hosts, as forward Harry Zolnierczyk leveled Mike Lundin in the Flyers zone and was handed a charging major on the play along with a game misconduct.

Philadelphia, though, was able to survive the extended power play thanks in part to a too many men on the ice call to Ottawa during the midst of the advantage. Nonetheless, Zolniercyk faces a hearing with NHL Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan, on Sunday for his actions.

The Flyers finally got through at the 7:24 mark of the second period for a 1-0 lead. Luke Schenn chipped the puck out of his zone and into the Ottawa end where Voracek picked it up along the right wing. Voracek then flew around a defender before snapping it in for his ninth of the season.

It was a 2-0 game four minutes later as Simmonds took a pass at the right circle and charged to the front before slipping a backhand between the pads of Bishop.

Ottawa, though, got one back with 5:49 to play in the middle stanza as Methot's slap shot from the left point beat Bryzgalov cleanly for his first goal of the season.

A cross-checking major to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the third period along with a high-sticking call to Erik Condra gave the Flyers an extended 5-on-3, but they were unable to convert and provide some badly-needed insurance.

“Well it’s a bad play by him. Phillips is in a vulnerable position, right by the boards and he hits him from the side, behind kind of, and I didn’t really know if Chris was injured at the time or not, but I did not like that hit at all," said the 17-year veteran.

The franchise icon was responding to Philly's Zac Rinaldo leveling what he thought was a questionable hit on Chris Phillips that precipitated his own infraction.

"It was a chippy game, no question," said Alfredsson. "I think we took exception to some of their hits and felt like the referees didn't call everything that maybe they should have. We stuck up for each other and obviously my five minutes kind of hurt us in our chance to get back."

A penalty to Kimmo Timonen saw the Senators skate 6-on-4 after pulling Bishop for an extra attacker, but the Flyers blocked several shots in front of Bryzgalov and a couple of clears helped the team kill the rest of the clock.

Notes: The Flyers improved to 23-13-2 at home against the Senators since 1992, and have won eight of the last 11 meetings in Philadelphia...Voracek and Simmonds remained tied once again for the team lead in scores with nine apiece...Ottawa plays a road game on Sunday against the Islanders...Lundin, from the University of Maine, didn't return to play after the hit...Ottawa's power play was 3-for-38 over its previous 11 games coming in and went 0-for-5 on Saturday ... Philadelphia was also 0-for-5 on the power play but has killed off 61 of its last 66 short-handed situations in the last 16 games...These two teams split four games last season.

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