Archive | 9:32 PM

Bobrovsky Comes Up Huge For Flyers In Long Island

12 Jan

The legend of Sergei Bobrovsky was first introduced in Philadelphia when the Flyers signed him two years ago. Bob’s performance hasn’t always been worthy of the legend, but Thursday night on Long Island the goalie seemed, well, legendary. He was the difference as the Flyers got past the Islanders, 3-2.

Bobrovsky got his second consecutive win, coming off a 35-save winning performance over the Carolina Hurricanes. The 23-year-old has created somewhat of a goalie controversy with his play recently. He’s now played 10-3-1 on the year and has made appearances in 17 games; that’s probably more time off than Ilya Bryzgalov was expecting to have.

Early on Bobrovsky showed why Peter Laviolette’s move to go with the hot hand was a good one. Michael Grabner earned a penalty shot at 2:49 of the first period and went low on Bobrovsky, where the Russian had an answer with his blocker.

Bobrovsky saved all of the 12 shots he faced in the first period and the Flyers got him the lead when Scott Hartnell tipped in a Jaromir Jagr offering on the power play for his 19th goal of the season.

Wayne Simmonds added to the Flyers’ lead in the second period when he caught Evgeni Nabokov off guard and got the puck back to Kimmo Timonen. Timonen’s slapshot hit the back boards where it was left for Simmonds. The winger threw it on net, where it bounced off the skate of Nabokov who was still not settled properly, and it went in for his first goal in nine games.

In the third period, Sean Couturier made it three straight games with a goal, showing why he was selected to the Rookie All-Star game. He sniped a shot from the left wing on Nabokov.

It was a rare rush in Islander territory in the third period. Most of the play was in front of the crease of Bobrovsky. He allowed two goals in the final period. One was in close on Kyle Okposo. The other was in the final minute by John Tavares. Bobrovsky made 33 saves on the night to give the Flyers another road victory and another win over the Islanders.

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Timonen, Giroux Named All-Stars

12 Jan

The Flyers will be well-represented in Ottawa at the end of the month. According to the team, Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen will be All-Stars. Matt Read and Sean Couturier will make the trip as well for the rookie game.

This is Timonen’s fifth All-Star nomination. He didn’t play in 2000 due to injury and hinted last Saturday that the same might happen this time around as well.

“It’s hard to say,” said Timonen who had just played against Ottawa despite a wrist injury that nearly kept him out of the lineup. “It’s hard to say no if you get chosen, but it’s one of those things where if you’ve got injuries, it’s time to heal your injuries at that time. When that time comes, I’m gonna really take a look at the situation, but it’s that time.”

Timonen has one goal and 24 assists on the year. He is also the keystone to the Flyers’ defensive corps. That became more obvious when he missed parts of two periods a week ago against Chicago.

For Giroux, the All-Star Game will be somewhat of a homecoming. Ottawa may be hundreds of miles away from Hearst, Ont., where Giroux was born, but it’s still in the same province. Giroux came in seventh among forwards in the fans vote and didn’t initially make the cut when the fans voted the starting six players.

“I don’t care if it’s top six, I just want to make the team,” said Giroux last week. “That would be pretty cool and to go back to back would be pretty cool. It’s in Ottawa where my friends are. It would be a pretty good experience.”

Giroux is second in the league in points, tied with Phil Kessel. Last year he had a goal and an assist in the All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C.

Read is tied for first among rookies in goals. He has played on every line this season for the Flyers. Couturier has seven goals and six assists this season in 37 games. He has centered the fourth line during most of his action.

With Gustafsson Up, Lilja Top Candidate To Sit

12 Jan

He waited and waited and played five games with the Phantoms. Finally, Erik Gustafsson gets the chance to pick up where he left off. On Nov. 5, his last game with the Flyers, he was a plus-6, played a career-high 23 minutes and got his first NHL point on an assist. Then he missed almost two months of action with a wrist injury.

The Flyers called Gustafsson up on Wednesday and sent Matt Walker down to the AHL. The team has been lacking something on the blue line, not that Walker was part of the problem. He hasn’t been able to crack the lineup.

But Andreas Lilja has and he may be the one, instead of rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon, to sit as a healthy scratch. Lilja has been steadily losing ice time to Bourdon, who continues to improve and has even contributed a couple points. He had a goal in Sunday’s loss to the Senators. He seems unlikely to sit with Gustafsson back in the fold.

Some have wondered if Gustafsson has been at full strength, whether he could even take a slapshot. But he was firing from the point at Citizens Bank Park. He said that he was ready even then, but was trying not to think about a comeback to the NHL.

It was a huge disappointment for Gustafsson to miss time. When he went down injured, he was clearly playing his best hockey at the NHL level.

“It was really frustrating at the start there,” said Gustafsson last Friday. “I tried to put that aside and then when I had to have the surgery I was trying to stay positive. It was for sure really frustrating, but I’m just gonna keep working hard right now. It feels pretty good right now and I hope I get another crack at it.”

He was a plus-2 with two shots on net in the Outdoor Classic against Hershey and wants to get back to his old form. He played another game after the Outdoor Classic and registered an assist. According to Gustafsson, his conditioning was the only thing that wasn’t 100 percent. Now it will be tested at the highest level.