Coming into the Flyers-Islanders game tonight, the focus couldn't help but be on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who was going for history.
For the first 31 minutes and 28 seconds every Flyer on that bench knew what they had to do… and they did it.
Ilya Bryzgalov now holds the record for the longest shutout streak in minutes in Flyers history at 249:43 because of his stellar play and every Flyer getting in the shooting lanes, blocking shots and winning puck battles in the defensive zone.
"It looks like he's got his swagger back a little bit," said defenseman Nicklas Grossmann. "It's fun to see him back there. He's confident and he helps us out [and] spreads confidence when he's out there. It's nice to play with him."
The Flyers blocked 19 shots in total, 13 of which came from defensemen.
During the record, Bryzgalov turned aside 112 shots which includes stopping the likes of Phil Kessel on a breakaway, Ilya Kovalchuk in the slot on one-timers and even three additional shots not on the books as he and the Flyers emerged victoriously in a shootout along the way.
The shutout streak may be over now, but Bryzgalov has now won his last seven starts.
The Flyers picked up an important two points in the standings, and based on the play down the stretch from team, they should pick up even more points with 12 games remaining.
Ilya Bryzgalov set a new Flyers record tonight by extending his shutout streak to 249:43 before the Islanders scored. He won his seventh consecutive game.
Claude Giroux set a new career high with his 26th goal of the season.
The Flyers had zero power plays for the second time in the last four games. Prior to the other recent occasion, March 10 at Toronto, the Flyers hadn’t gone an entire game without a power play in just over four years (Feb. 21, 2008).
Zac Rinaldo scored the 51st goal of the season by a Flyers rookie. Rinaldo had six attempts on net – two shots, three that were blocked and one that missed. That’s more attempts than any other Flyer tonight besides Jaromir Jagr, who had seven.
With significant pressure coming into tonight's game at Long Island, Ilya Bryzgalov shut down the Islanders to break the record and earn the victory in what turned out to be a close finish.
Bryz survived a strong push from the Islanders early in the first period, and with the record less than a minute away, denied a tough wrist shot through the defense by Islanders forward Michael Grabner to write his name in Flyers history.
He would eventually go on to shut the team down after the Islanders posted two quick goals to preserve the victory in a close final five minutes of the game with the score 3-2.
"These are tough games. Some teams don't have anything to lose… They take a lot of chances, so it's hard to play against [the Islanders], but we came here and got the two points. Obviously it wasn't a perfect game but who really cares [because] we got two points." - Kimmo Timonen
"Thats the game of hockey. You can't relax in any game. It doesn't matter who your opponent is. They got a couple quick ones on us and I think we learned a lesson there." - Nicklas Grossmann
Tonight's turning point came on the second Islanders goal with 5:55 left to play in regulation.
John Tavares brought the Islanders to within one goal just 35 seconds after New York tallied their first goal to make it a one-goal game.
The Flyers and Bryzgalov responded in a big way from that point to hang on for the 3-2 win. They allowed just two shots on net through the game's final five minutes, which included Bryzgalov turning aside a wrist shot from Tavares with 1:18 left to play to seal the win.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Ilya Bryzgalov made 29 saves, coming within 6:30 of a fourth straight shutout. and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday night for their seventh win in eight games.