Fitting in with the theme of late in which the Flyers play rather unexciting hockey games, the Flyers and Islanders played a rather unexciting hockey game tonight, but it ended the way that we all know a Flyers-Islanders game really should. A late goal on a rocket by Oliver Lauridsen from the circle gave the Flyers a 2-1 victory in their final home game of this sorry season. The win was the third straight for the Flyers, and with the storyline coming into the game being the potential buyout status of the team's two expensive, controversial veterans, it's kinda fitting that Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov were the ones who ultimately led the Flyers to a win tonight.
Briere opened up the scoring in the first period on the power play, with a great pass from Brayden Schenn ending up behind Kevin Poulin in the back of the net. The goal was the first for Briere -- who's, of course, had some injury troubles this year -- in over two months, dating all the way back to a game on February 18 where he potted two against...the Islanders. Long Island: good for what ails Danny Briere, apparently. Pretty much everyone seems to believe that Briere's on his way out, so no matter how you feel about Danny, it was kinda nice to see him get that last goal here in front of the fans.
Ilya Bryzgalov's fate is a bit less certain, and information on both sides regarding him is fairly conflicting, but he played quite a nice game for the fans at the Wells Fargo Center as well. 21 of 22 saves, with the one that trickled past him a redirection from Hart contender John Tavares. He made a number of nice saves in the second and third periods to keep the game tied, keeping the Flyers in a fairly slow game until Lauridsen's blast in the game's last few minutes.
So good for those two. If it's their last game as a home-team player in South Philly, they went out on a pretty high note. Hell, with one game left, the Flyers could even end above the NHL's definition of a .500 record!
Not a whole lot else to say, but three other quick notes:
* Both Flyers goals really were quite nice. The pass from Brayden Schenn down low made it pretty easy for Briere to end his scoring slump, and Lauridsen's shot from the circle was just an absolute bomb -- a much better story for him than what his "first goal" was on Tuesday.
* Flyers are 2-0 with Luke Schenn as their #1 defenseman. Good trade, Homer. But really Schenn and Erik Gustafsson, somehow this team's top two defensemen, have done a respectable job holding this unit of AHLers together these past couple of games. Like I said above, this was a pretty boring game, which generally means your defense is probably doing something right. Kudos to them.
* Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek combined for 11 shots on net. You wonder if they're both gunning for that scoring title. Though none of them went in, it's nice to see them still getting their chances out there. That'll probably be the biggest storyline on Saturday's finale, sadly enough.
Questions with Answers:
1. Maybe Briere's last game as a Flyer in Philly. Any acknowledgment from the crowd? Reports were that he got a good amount of cheers before the game. And naturally they cheered him when they scored a goal.
2. Maybe Bryzgalov's last game as a Flyer in Philly. Any acknowledgment from the crowd? Not that I could tell, but maybe missed it? He played a very solid game, so there were some cheers scattered around here and there.
3. Who wins the team awards, handed out before the game? Travis why would you ask this you wrote the answers already. Voracek cleaned up, Timonen won the Ashbee. Rinaldo had most heart, Hartnell is the classy guy. Nothing particularly shocking.
4. Voracek and Giroux still going head to head for the team scoring title. Who's on top at the end of the night? Still Claude, by a point. As mentioned above.
Comment of the Night:
and a Danny B backcheck sighting!
-- Risky Bryzness, noting that tonight is indeed a special night for ol' Danny Boy.
And one other quick note: this'll be my final recap of the season, so thank you all for reading through this turd of a year. That you all read and interact here the way you do, especially with the Flyers playing the way they have, makes it that much more fun. Here's me, to all of you.
Lighthouse Hockey recap here for the Isles' side. Ottawa to close it out on Saturday at 7. Go Flyers.