Flyers Pour It On Without Claude Giroux

13 Dec

WASHINGTON — Who needs a Hart Trophy candidate and a future Hall of Famer? Apparently, not the Flyers. In the absence of Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger, the Flyers made it look easy against the Washington Capitals, pouring it on in a 5-1 win.

Whenever the Flyers have dealt with injury this season, and the current total for man games lost now stands at 73, other players have simply stood up and taken the onus. Despite all the injuries, the Flyers’ winning streak now stands at six, tying their high from last season.

“I thought [it was] one of our better team games,” said Peter Laviolette. “Start to finish, all lines, all defensemen, goaltender, we had everybody going. I was really happy with it.”

Scott Hartnell extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-high six games to kick off the scoring and the Flyers never looked back. Despite dealing with early pressure from Washington, the Flyers were able to rely on Ilya Bryzgalov who made 31 saves and got his 14th win of the season.

In the second period, the Flyers did their damage with three more goals, taking over the contest with offense by committee. They outshot the Capitals 12-10 in the second period, but chased starting goalie Tomas Vokoun.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said Washington defenseman Karl Alzner. “No one wants to do that, especially at home. You’d like to play a little bit better than this. It’s a tough one for us. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board a little bit and watch some video of the mistakes we made, because they’re pretty obvious to us. We’ve just got to go over them and remember them and be more aware next game.”

It appeared as though Jody Shelley had his first goal of the season when he deflected a shot by Marc-Andre Bourdon, but it was ruled that Capitals defenseman Mathieu Perreault tipped it behind the goalie. It was Bourdon’s first NHL goal, to no surprise of his coach who has liked what he’s seen.

“He’s been rock solid,” said Laviolette. “His head is up. He makes a good first pass. He’s been physical. He looks really comfortable out there. His opportunity of some minutes has grown to increased minutes to someone we now count on and rely on. It’s good for him.”

Wayne Simmonds continued his recent success with his fourth goal in his last five games on a deflection from an Andrej Meszaros shot. Max Talbot added his eighth of the year, but he can thank Braydon Coburn for helping him out. Alex Ovechkin entered the Flyers’ zone and Coburn smothered his effort, stripping him of the puck, tying him up along the boards and sending the Flyers on the offensive.

“He’s a talented player and you try to keep the best gap you can on him,” said Coburn. “He’s got a bag full of moves and I feel lucky.”

The third period saw each team add a goal, but the Flyers don’t really mind that. As much as they like the two points, they really proved that their depth is what is most impressive about this year’s team. Thirteen of the 18 skaters found the scoresheet in a win that proved the Flyers are deeper than just one player, even if it is the NHL’s leading scorer.

“It says a lot about this team,” said Jaromir Jagr. “I wasn’t very confident about today’s game when we lost the best player in the league. It’s not easy to play without him. We have to play the same way and the guys stepped up.

“I thought we played all-around. All four lines played good hockey and that’s what you need when you’re missing players like that.”

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