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Hartnell, Bryzgalov lead Flyers past rival Devils

by Mike G. Morreale
NEWARK, N.J. -- A little attitude adjustment from coach Peter Laviolette was just what the Philadelphia Flyers needed Saturday in a 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Despite losing forwards Jaromir Jagr (lower body), Danny Briere (concussion) and Zac Rinaldo (upper body) to injuries during the course of the game, the Flyers (28-14-4) rallied behind several inspiring efforts. At the top of that list was Scott Hartnell, who scored a pair of power-play goals.
"I think we got off to a slow start in that first period … there wasn't much flow and it wasn't our best effort," Hartnell said. "In the second period, after that timeout, we started playing with some jam. We started banging bodies and cycling – playing Flyers hockey and were able to get momentum, get the lead and we never looked back."
The timeout Hartnell was referring to came 3:07 into the second. The game was scoreless at the time, but the Flyers were being outshot 10-4 -- and Laviolette was obviously agitated.
"I think when you see a team playing a certain level, you know what they're capable of and we weren't where we needed to be," Laviolette said. "New Jersey has really done a good job of climbing back into the top of the conference by playing a certain way, aggressive and competitive."
The Devils outshot the Flyers 31-20 but finished 0-for-6 on the power-play. The Flyers went 2-for-5 with the man advantage. Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was making his fourth straight start, made 16 saves.
"You have to be able to match that and we just were a little bit short of that in the first 24 minutes of the game,” Laviolette said. “It was really nice to see us get physical and competitive and, really, play with more attitude. It's all about attitude, and they all stepped up in a big way for the win … a tough win on the road."
After the timeout the Flyers turned it on, scoring four goals on 16 shots to close out the game. Wayne Simmonds struck for the first three-point game (two assists) of his career and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves in the triumph, the fourth in six games for the Flyers.
"[Simmonds] is a beast on the boards and in getting pucks out," Hartnell said. "He has those long legs out on the fore check and makes some great plays down low in the corners and in the trenches. It's not easy work; it's hard to find guys like that that who love to take hits to make plays."

Simmonds' goal came into an empty-net with 2:22 remaining in the third, giving the visitors a 4-1 lead.
The Flyers lost Jagr to a lower-body injury in the first period, and general manager Paul Holmgren said Briere would be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion -- both players are out Sunday against the Boston Bruins. Rinaldo is considered questionable for the contest at Wells Fargo Center. A team source said the Flyers will recall forwards Tim Sestito and Ben Holmstrom for Sunday to play the Bruins.
Briere was leveled to the ice on a hard hit from Anton Volchenkov along the right wing half-boards in the offensive zone with just 1:10 remaining in the third. It's uncertain, however, if the play resulted in his head injury. Briere finished with 16:57 of ice time on 22 shifts and won 75 percent of his faceoffs. He becomes the sixth Flyers' player to suffer a concussion this season, along with Matt Read, Brayden Schenn, Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux.
After the game, Briere told, "I'm not too good right now. I don't even know what happened."
For Bryzgalov, who was making his third start in four games, it marked the first time since Oct. 6-8 that he notched two straight wins while allowing one goal or less in each contest.
"He's looked confident in net and he's playing the puck better," Hartnell said of Bryzgalov. "He's been working on playing [the puck] and chipping it into the corners. He's made it easier on our defensemen for breakouts. When he's making saves, he's one of the best goalies in the league. That's why we signed him. It's nice to see him put together a nice win on the road."
A scoreless first period was followed by some offensive fireworks in the second.
The Flyers opened a 2-0 lead on goals by the rookie Read and Hartnell, who has scored 11 of his team-leading 22 goals on the power play. Read's 15th of the season went top shelf after taking a pass from behind the net by Simmonds at the 9:30 mark. Hartnell's first of the game came off a deflection in the slot following a blast from the left point by Kimmo Timonen with the Flyers on the power play at 13:04.
Hartnell's second goal 8:07 into the third gave the Flyers a 3-1 edge.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, acquired from Carolina on Friday night, made it 2-1 when he connected for his eighth of the season and his first as a Devil when he deftly redirected a point blast by Matt Taormina in the left circle to beat Bryzgalov just 28 seconds after Hartnell's first goal. It was Ponikarovsky's first goal since Dec. 13, snapping a 17-game goal-scoring drought, when he scored in a 2-1 loss at Toronto.
Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk was obviously frustrated after the defeat, the team's second straight 4-1 loss. The Devils dropped a three-goal decision Thursday to the Bruins.
"All the shots were from the outside and no screen," Kovalchuk said. "I can play goal and save them."
Coach Peter DeBoer echoed those sentiments.
"You want to send a message," DeBoer said. "[It was] two teams ahead of us in the standings [Boston and Philadelphia]. An opportunity to really take a step and we didn't."
Ponikarovsky, who played Friday for Carolina but made it to Newark in time for the 1 p.m. ET start, played on a line with center Jacob Josefson and David Clarkson. He finished with 14:13 of ice time on 22 shifts in his Devils debut. The Flyers played most of the game without Jagr, who exited the contest in the first after totaling just 3:12 of ice time on four shifts.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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