The Philadelphia Flyers
rely on Kimmo Timonen
and Braydon Coburn
more for their defensive ability, so any offense they get from either is a gift.
It was a gift the team gladly opened Tuesday, as Timonen and Coburn each scored their second goals of the season to help the Flyers to wrap up a 5-1 victory against the visiting Minnesota Wild
, Scott Hartnell
and Jakub Voracek
also scored, and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
stopped 25 shots. It's the first time in 10 games Bryzgalov, who entered the night with a 3.07 goals-against average and .891 save percentage, has allowed one goal or fewer in a game, and just the fifth time this season.
The win was the Flyers' third straight at home, tying a season-high; they entered the game with just 10 wins in 18 games at Wells Fargo Center.
Former Flyer Darroll Powe
scored the Wild's lone goal, as Minnesota slipped to 2-11-3 in its last 16 games. It was the ninth time in those 16 games the Wild was held to one goal or fewer.
Wild goalie Josh Harding
played well despite allowing five goals on 34 shots.
Most of those shots were taken with traffic in front of goal, as the Flyers made a concerted effort to get traffic and pucks to the net.
A perfect example was Timonen's goal, which came just 2:56 into the game. The Flyers were near the end of the game's first power play when Timonen fired a shot from the blue line that zipped past Harding's glove while Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds
was screening him.
Coburn's goal, which came at 12:47 of the second to make it 3-1, came on a similar play -- a shot from the blue line through traffic that got past Harding. The goal was Coburn's first in 26 games.
Hartnell's goal, his 20th of the season, came when he redirected Matt Carle
's wrist shot from the blue line at 16:04 of the second to make it 4-1.
"We've been practicing that almost every day," said Timonen. "A lot of teams are playing the way Minnesota plays, they really sink down low, and usually what happens is the 'D' is open. We practice getting the puck to the 'D' and move sideways or go 'D' to 'D.' Make sure the puck goes through the first guy, and good things will happen when the puck goes to the net. There's rebounds, sometimes, like Cobie's goal, it hits somebody and goes in. Good things will happen."
The Flyers are second in the League with 149 goals, but just 16 have come from their blueliners.
"It's nice," said Timonen. "Every time the 'D' can do some scoring, it's nice."
"It's always good when you bring it form the back end," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "They moved the puck out high, were able to find some lanes from out high, get some traffic in front of the net. We talked about that, their goaltending has been good all year. You get guys shooting the puck from the back end, we got some tips, some redirects, some good bounces, but you have to bring it there, too. We did a good job finding some lanes. We talked about how Minnesota is a top shot-blocking team in the League, so just make sure we're moving out high and getting in lanes and firing it in there. Both things happened tonight. The 'D' picked up some points because of it."
Usually the offense comes from their top trio of Hartnell, Claude Giroux
and Jaromir Jagr
. The threesome had been held to a goal and two assists in four games since Jagr returned from a groin injury. On Tuesday, though, they combined for a goal and three assists, including a pair of assists by Jagr. Giroux's assist on Timonen's goal was his 200th NHL point.
"It was our best game in probably half a dozen," said Hartnell. "We were getting the pucks deep, we were getting first on pucks, we were skating and we were cycling and we were holding onto it. We were doing everything we talked about. The last few games we didn't execute our game plan, but tonight at home, it wasn't just our line but every line was cycling and every line was getting shots. It was a big win, too."
After Timonen's goal opened the scoring, Couturier capped a 2-on-1 rush with fellow rookie All-Star Matt Read
for a shorthanded goal to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. The goal gave Couturier at least one in five straight games.
"That was a back breaker," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "I felt like we came out, and even the first period wasn't bad, had some chances, and the second period we came out right off the bat, got a couple chances to tie it up, then we had the power play and then after that the wheels fell off. Then that's what I don't like, the way we responded after that."
Minnesota answered 1:11 later when Powe, in his first game against his former team, scored his fourth of the season. Powe raced the puck down the left-wing wall and blasted a shot that ticked off the stick of Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros
and went over Bryzgalov's glove to make it 2-1.
It was the only bobble Bryzgalov had all night. While the netminder tried to downplay his success -- "It's good for the stats," he said -- his teammates were happy to see his have a good game.
"He played really solid," said Hartnell. "He did a great job of playing the puck, as well. I think he was a little shaky last few outings … he made those first saves and he was gobbling up rebounds. It was good for him to come in and play well and we're happy for him."
Coburn and Hartnell scored to close the second period, and Voracek closed the scoring with his seventh of the season.
The Flyers could have had more, as Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck
was whistled for four minor penalties, including a double-minor at 2:22 of the second for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct.
"We were very undisciplined tonight," said Yeo. "Undisciplined taking penalties. They scored two goals because we were on the ice for too long. Undisciplined with the puck at many times, as well. So, you can't expect to win right now going like that."
The frustrated Wild next play in Toronto on Thursday, where they'll try to end a road winless streak that reached 10 games Tuesday (0-8-2).
"It's tough," said center Matt Cullen
. "It's such a big game. It's a very good team and it's a big challenge for us. Everyone wants to respond and come up with a big effort and a big win. It wasn't enough. Tonight it wasn't good enough. We just have to get better."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK