Briere: Bryzgalov was “the only one who showed up tonight”


When the Philadelphia Flyers went up 1-0 early in Game 2 against the New Jersey Devils, it seemed like it was going to be one of those games again. Not necessarily a win, but at least one of those high-flying Flyers efforts that have made them stand out as a wide-open team in a playoffs brimming with defense-first (second and last) squads. Instead, they folded after that 1-0 lead, expecting Ilya Bryzgalov to do it all and thus suffered a predictable 4-1 loss.

Danny Briere has been a hero for most of the playoffs basically since his first postseason game with Philly, but he didn’t have a great Game 2. He seems like a pretty accurate judge of the team’s effort, then, as he told Sam Carchidi.

“[We had] no desperation,” Briere said. “It’s frustrating. Bryz is really the only one who showed up tonight.”

Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was a pretty pitiful team effort after the Flyers went up 1-0. The power play went without a goal for the first time in the playoffs (0-for-5) while Claude Giroux (zero points) was awfully quite and Briere (-3 rating) was brutal on defense.

Bryzgalov kept the team in the game even after New Jersey generated a 12-2 shot advantage in the second period, but eventually the floodgates opened in a four-goal (empty-netter included) third period.

For a team that seemingly generated most – if not all – of its five playoff wins despite Bryzgalov’s play, it’s strange that they lost despite one of his best performances in months. However their goalie performs on a nightly basis, Philly needs to turn things around against its division rivals or the Flyers will face another second round exit.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.