Devils down Flyers in Newark opener
The Philadelphia Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov’s struggles continue.
The Flyers’ eccentric and wildly inconsistent netminder endured a nightmarish first period on Tuesday as the Devils handed the Flyers their third straight loss to start the lockout-shortened 2013 season by a 3-0 count.
Bryzgalov conced two goals on just three shots in the first period, including the game’s opening marker from Travis Zajac, who got his team on the board with just 63 seconds gone in the contest when he cleaned up a big rebound that Bryzgalov conceded on a Bryce Salvador shot from the point with an easy backhanded finish.
There wasn’t as much Bryzgalov could do about the next goal. Ilya Kovalchuk started the play when he fired a wild shot from the blue line that ricocheted behind Bryzgalov, who appeared to temporarily lose track of the puck. A mini-scrum ensued behind the cage, where the puck was eventually dug out by David Clarkson, who slid the puck off the skate of an arriving Ruslan Fedotenko and into the net with just 25 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Devils extended their lead to its final margin early in the second period, when Kovalchuk earned a penalty shot and froze Bryzgalov with some nifty (if relatively simple) stick-handling before lifting his backhand past the out-of-position goalie for a 3-0 New Jersey advantage.
Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots for the Devils and earned the 120th shutout of his illustrious career.