Flyers shut out Panthers

Posted: March 08, 2012

Their best defensemen, Chris Pronger, was at home with a concussion that has threatened his Hall of Fame career.

Their all-star defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, was nursing a sore back.

Their recently acquired 6-foot-4, 258-pound defenseman, Pavel Kubin, was out of the lineup with an unspecified injury.

Oh, and the player who was named the team's top defenseman last season, Andrej Meszaros, was sidelined with what is believed to be a groin injury.

But the Flyers, with a patchwork defense, persevered.

Easily.

Playing with a revamped defense, the Flyers won their fourth straight, defeating the Florida Panthers, 5-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov continued his superb play, the makeshift defense was excellent, and Brayden Schenn (power play), Matt Read, Scott Hartnell, Jaromir Jagr (power play), and Eric Wellwood scored goals to lead the Flyers.

No longer lost in the woods, Bryzgalov was serenaded with "Bryz, Bryz, Bryz" chants after he made a save with a little over six minutes left.

Bryzglaov, making his 10th straight start, has allowed a total of six goals in his last five games. It was his second shutout in the last three games.

Read's goal was his 19th, tops among NHL rookies. The Flyers have never had a rookie-of-the-year winner.

Schenn scored from the right circle after gathering a pass from Claude Giroux (two assists), whose feed went past a fanning Hartnell in the slot. That gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 9:25 left in the opening period.

"He tried to get it to Hartnell, but he didn't get any wood on it and the puck slid right to me and I kind of had an open cage," Schenn said after ending a nine-game pointless streak.

Read scored on a rebound with nearly 17 minutes left in the second period to make it 2-0. Almost 10 minutes later, Hartnell stole the puck from Tomas Fleischmann near the Flyers' defensive blue line and scored on a breakaway, firing a shot from the left circle past Jose Theodore.

Danny Briere nearly ended his 20-game goal drought, but his shot caromed off the post with a little over two minutes left in the second period. Briere was playing in his 800th career game.

After the first two periods, the Flyers had blocked 15 shots - 13 more than the Panthers. Matt Carle and Nick Grossman had three of the blocks.

Jagr, whose minutes were limited because he was returning from a hip injury, scored from the high slot while the Flyers were on a 5-on-3 power play with 17:25 left in the game, beating Theodore to the short side. It was his 18th goal and it gave the Flyers a 4-0 lead.

With Kubina missing the game with an upper-body injury, the Flyers had four of their top defensemen sidelined.

Hence, the Flyers had some different pairings: Carle and Erik Gustafsson; Braydon Coburn and Grossman; and Andreas Lilja and Brandon Manning, who was recalled earlier in the day from Adirondack and made his NHL debut. (Marc-Andre Bourdon and Oskars Bartulis weren't recalled because they are injured.)

With the Flyers holding a 1-0 lead, Carle - who is known more for his smooth skating and puck-carrying - seemed to inspire his teammates by dropping his gloves and going after Florida's Jack Skille with a little more than five minutes left in the first period. Carle had checked Skille into Bryzgalov, but he apparently thought the winger had given the goalie an unnecessary shot.

The Flyers, who climbed to within two points of fourth-place Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference, are 3-0 this season against Florida, the Southeast Division leader.

Florida was missing four injured players, including former Flyers Kris Versteeg (team-high 22 goals) and Scottie Upshall.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com or on Twitter @BroadStBull.

 

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