So I'll be honest: I listened to the first two periods on radio cause everything in my apartment decided to stop working at once. Only saw the third period + OT (plus the highlights package) of this game. So I'll keep this somewhat brief.
Last night's 2-1 shootout win over the Devils may not change a whole lot about this season or where it's headed. The Flyers are still 11th in the Eastern Conference, with everyone on both sides of them having games in hand. This team still has obvious problems, and from what I gathered it sounds like the Devils controlled the play a bit more often than not. And what Travis said in the preview -- that right now the concern isn't as much about wins/losses as it is about seeing what individual players can do -- is still true.
But can we just enjoy this one? It's been a fairly miserable couple of weeks to be a fan of this team. We've been getting battered by our biggest rivals left and right. And now we get a win -- a shootout win! -- against the New Jersey Devils, who we entered Friday night with a seven-game losing streak against and who we had never beaten in a shootout heading into the contest. We got a win where Ilya Bryzgalov was legitimately outstanding in net, for the first time in a couple weeks.
There's still a good chance that some big changes will be coming to this team in the five-day break following Monday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and you can make a pretty decent case (as some did in the comments last night) that this win wasn't a particularly good outcome for the Flyers' long-term picture. But come on. It's a shootout win against a team that's been destroying us lately. Let's just be happy about this.
Quick bullet points:
* Seriously, Bryz was great. 27 of 28 stops in the game and 2 of 3 in the shootout, including several very nice ones in the third and OT. Best game for him in a while.
* That Talbot-Gagne goal was just beautiful. Awesome patience by Gagne on the pass. If Talbot's really staying on the third line over Couturier (who only played 11:08 grumble grumble) then we need to see more things like that happening.
* I had to actually check to make sure David Clarkson hasn't scored about 32452346 goals against the Flyers since the beginning of last season. He hasn't -- it's actually only six, even if you include the playoffs -- but he seems to be all over the place against us. Scored the Devils' lone goal on a pretty deflection and had eight shots, though he missed in the SO.
* PK looked awesome, killing off several penalties including a long 5-on-3 early and a PK at the very end of regulation. 5/5 in total, allowing six shots on Bryzgalov (four in the 5-on-3 alone). PP didn't look as good, going 0/4, though they got nine shots on Hedberg so it wasn't all bad.
* On a related note, Brayden Schenn had a really really really dumb hit on Peter Harrold with 1:46 left in regulation that led to the aforementioned late-game PK. Looked pretty bad to me, though according to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record it's not expected that Schenn will face supplementary discipline for it. Still, awful timing there, and if a shot with about 12 seconds left in regulation hadn't trickled about an inch wide of the post the way that it did then Schenn would be wearing some rather large goat horns right now.