Balanced effort has Flyers cruising past Wild, 5-1

The Flyers' Kimmo Timonen (right) celebrates with Claude Giroux after Timonen scored a power-play goal in the first. Giroux got an assist.
The Flyers' Kimmo Timonen (right) celebrates with Claude Giroux after Timonen scored a power-play goal in the first. Giroux got an assist. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 18, 2012

This story has been corrected from the version that appeared in the print edition of Wednesday's Inquirer.

The Flyers' youngest and oldest players were instrumental in one of the team's best all-around efforts of the season Tuesday, a 5-1 win over the free-falling Minnesota Wild at the Wells Fargo Center.

The special teams produced three goals, including a shorthanded tally by the sizzling Sean Couturier, the Flyers' 19-year-old rookie.

"I think we played a complete game tonight," 39-year-old winger Jaromir Jagr said after a two-assist night. "That's the way we should play. We have a lot of games at home, and you have to take advantage."

The list of positives was lengthy:

- Couturier scored a goal for the fifth straight game, this one on a shorthanded two-on-one with Matt Read, a rookie who had a five-game goal-scoring streak earlier in the season. It gave the Flyers two rookies with at least five-game streaks for the first time ever.

- Jagr, who seems to have recovered from a groin injury, had his first two-point game since Dec. 21, and Read had the third two-assist game of his young career.

- All-star snub Scott Hartnell reached the 20-goal plateau in just the team's 44th game. Hartnell is on a 37-goal pace, which would be seven more than his career best.

- Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, despite allowing a soft goal and not being overly tested, was sharp and won for the third time in his last nine starts.

- The power play produced two goals (Kimmo Timonen, Hartnell) for the first time in the last 11 games. The Flyers had power-play and shorthanded goals in a game for the second time this season.

- Claude Giroux picked up his 200th career point, and his line, which had been struggling, combined for 11 shots and was much more active.

The Flyers have won five of their last seven, while Minnesota, which was minus injured all-star Mikko Koivu, has 14 losses in its last 16 games.

The Flyers scored three goals in a 5-minute, 37-second span of the second period to take a commanding, 4-1 lead.

Couturier, despite partially fanning, got the puck into the net, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead with 9:33 left in the second period.

"Your best offense comes from your defense, and they don't stay in their zone long because [Couturier's] down low with the defense, and he makes the plays to get out of the zone," Giroux said.

A little over a minute after Couturier's goal, ex-Flyer Darroll Powe scored on a drive from above the left circle to cut it to 2-1.

But instead of wilting after the bad goal - it went past Bryzgalov's glove - the Flyers regrouped. They scored two goals in the next 41/2 minutes - tallies by Braydon Coburn and Hartnell to make it 4-1.

"It's nice to have 20 goals, especially this early in the season," Hartnell said. "I just have to keep going."

Minnesota had few quality scoring chances in the first two periods. The Wild entered the night averaging just 2.2 goals per game, 29th in the 30-team NHL.

Bryzgalov made 25 saves and hopes to build on the performance. It was the first time in his last 10 games he had allowed one goal or fewer.

"There were no bad-bounce goals tonight, and that was the difference," he said. "The team played unbelievable. They gave them nothing today."

The Flyers were playing at the Wells Fargo Center for just the fifth time in the last 16 games. Tuesday started a string of nine home games in 12 contests for the Flyers, who were just 10-6-2 at home going into the game. Only three teams had fewer home points.

"Our home record is not where we want it to be," said Timonen, whose team has a league-best 16-7-2 road mark. "We wanted to come out hard and play a full 60 minutes and really show the attitude."

 


Sam Carchidi analyzes the Flyers game, with highlights and postgame reaction from coaches and players. Go to philly.com/flyersvideos


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@philynews.com, 215-854-5181m or @BroadStBull on Twitter.

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