Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was looking forward to a special game when he faced his former team for the first time. Matt Read made sure he got it.
Read scored on a rebound with 18.6 seconds left, Bryzgalov chipped in with 30 saves in his first meeting against Phoenix and the Flyers prevailed 2-1 on Thursday night.
"It's his former team, and he wanted this win so bad, so the boys wanted to play a good game for him," Read said of Bryzgalov, who spent most of the last four seasons with Phoenix before signing a long-term deal with the Flyers this summer. "He deserves it, to beat his old team."
The game appeared to be headed for overtime, but when Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris went to help near the crease, Jakub Voracek found space along the left boards and fired a shot. Max Talbot collected the rebound and slipped the puck to Read, who put it into the open side of the net for his sixth of the season.
"It was a breakdown again on our end," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Morris had a stick tied up and a guy went to make sure the referee didn't make a call on him, we had a player that thought that he needed help so he left his guy, and the puck came back to the net and it ended up in the net. It's frustrating to give up goals like that."
The Flyers (11-4-3) snapped Phoenix's five-game road win streak. Philadelphia has now won three in a row and six of its last eight. The win helped ease Philadelphia's nerves after losing Jaromir Jagr to a lower-body injury early in the contest. The veteran had six goals and 17 points entering the game, but left after just three shifts and 1:22 of ice time, and did not return.
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Bryzgalov's replacement in Phoenix, Mike Smith, had an impressive game against the League's most potent offense (3.72 goals per game) suffering his first regulation loss in 10 starts.
"You never want to get scored on, in any period," Smith said. "Points are huge right now, any time, but especially when you lose them in the last minute of the game."
Billed as a matchup of the two hottest netminders -- neither had lost in regulation this month -- the game played that way through 20 minutes, as Bryzgalov and Smith stopped a combined 28 shots to keep the game scoreless.
"It's my former team, and it's not an easy team to beat," Bryzgalov said. "It took the whole 60 minutes to win the game."
James Van Riemsdyk -- who replaced Jagr on the prolific line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell – broke the scoreless deadlock at 12:37 of the second. The 22-year-old swept up Giroux's pass near his own blue line and raced into the Coyotes' zone on a 2-on-1 with Kimmo Timonen. When the defender skated off him to cover Timonen, van Riemsdyk ripped a low shot to Smith's right for his seventh of the season.
The Coyotes tied the game 3:38 into the third period on one of their few sustained bursts in the Flyers' zone. Boyd Gordon displayed a nice piece of individual skill, passing the puck off the boards, rounding his defender on the other side and picking up the puck to create some space. Bryzgalov stopped his initial one-timer, but Mikkel Boedker's persistence paid off as he wiggled a shot past his former teammate from close range for his third of the season.
Material from team and national media was used in this report
James van Riemsdyk
1 - 0 PHI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHI
Hi stick - double minor
Holding the stick
Interference on goalkeeper