If Friday’s game in Anaheim was an example of bounces not going your way at the start of the game, then Saturday in Phoenix was the example of them going your way right from the faceoff.
The Flyers got out to a quick two-goal lead and added another two goals by the end of the period to go up 4-0 in the contest, instead of trailing by a similar margin less than 24-hours earlier.
“Where I think our team has played hard the last four or five games; the first periods haven’t gone the way we wanted them to go,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.
“We’ve been resilient, we’ve fought back and came back and gotten wins when we’ve been behind, but we talked about the start and making sure we’re ready to play, so it’s was nice to see the guys jump on that tonight.”
Despite multiple attempts, the Flyers didn’t allow the Coyotes to crawl back into the game and that can be credited to the Flyers penalty-killing unit which killed off all four Coyotes’ power-play attempts. The Flyers returned to the dominant ways in the first period that had been common earlier this season. The 4-0 first-intermission lead came after the Flyers had been outscored 11-2 in the first period of the last six games. In the first 18 games of the season, the Flyers outscored their opponents 27-14 in the first period.
Just like Friday’s win in Anaheim, tonight’s victory was a total team effort. Where as the Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr line came up big against the Ducks, credit Matt Read who stepped up to the plate as the game’s big point producer by recording three points in the Flyers first period surge.
The Flyers walk away from their first two games on the road during this grueling month with a 2-0-0 record. They have eight more to go away from the Wells Fargo Center beginning on Wednesday in Buffalo.
Matt Read has now had two three-point periods this season… the last Flyers rookie to have a three-point period before Read was Joni Pitkanen in the first against Carolina on 2/21/04.
With his goal tonight, Claude Giroux is now tied for the NHL scoring lead with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points in 25 games.
Ilya Bryzgalov beat both of his former teams on successive nights on this trip. It’s the first time this season that Bryzgalov has played both games of a back-to-back set.
The Coyotes were credited with 49 hits tonight.
The Flyers were outshot 38-30. Phoenix was credited with a total of 82 shots towards the net – the 38 on goal, 22 that were blocked, and 22 that missed.
The Flyers were 5-for-12 on the power play (41.7 pct) on the two-game trip.
This was Philadelphia’s first win in Phoenix since Oct. 18, 2003.
Matt Read gets tonight's first star for the Flyers.
Read was at the forefront of the Flyers who came out flying right of gates by factoring into three of the Flyers' four goals.
Read kicked off the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:23 of the first period and picked up primary assists on Simmonds and Hartnell goals to end the first period.
Read's three points were the fourth time this season that he has had multi-point games.
“I can’t explain what I felt. I played here for three and a half years; winning a lot of games; playing a lot of games; part of my soul is here.” - Ilya Bryzgalov
"It's a great honor, but it's not just me out there. Our whole team is playing great right now." - Claude Giroux
"He's an extraordinary player. He really is. It shouldn't surprise anybody that he is where he is right now. I think the skill level that he has is one thing, but the determination in which he plays the game is really special." - Peter Laviolette on Claude Giroux
Tonight’s turning point is the fourth Flyers goal of the game, which came with under two minutes left in the opening period and put the Coyotes in an even deeper hole.
Hartnell didn’t get good wood on the shot, but enough to flick it past starting goaltender Mike Smith, who was eventually pulled at the end of the first period.
PIC OF THE NIGHT: Ilya Bryzgalov stretches pregame facing some of his former teammates.
Flyers 4, Coyotes 2 Associated Press
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Claude Giroux scored his 15th goal of the season to move into a tie for the NHL scoring lead and the Philadelphia Flyers dominated Phoenix early in a 4-2 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night.
Rookie Matt Read had a goal and two assists as the Flyers took a 4-0 lead after one period. Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell also scored in Philadelphia's outburst. Ray Whitney scored for Phoenix, his 350th career goal. Mikkel Boedker added the second Coyotes goal with 41 seconds left.