Tag Archives: Matt Read

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.

Flyers Collapse In Third, Lose At Ottawa

8 Jan

Two-goal leads are dangerous. Especially when the Flyers have them in the third period. For the third time in four games, the Flyers gave up a lead in the final period, but this time they weren’t able to recover. They were handed a 6-4 loss by Ottawa in the second half of a home-and-home, mainly because of some mistakes in their own end.

As impressive as the Flyers have been offensively, they need some work defensively. That was evident on the Senators’ first goal. Both Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle chased Kyle Turris who had the puck. With Daniel Alfredsson streaking toward the net, Turris had an easy pass target and the Senators’ captain had an easy time getting a shot off as Ilya Bryzgalov had already committed to Turris.

But the Flyers have been a resilient bunch and fired back. Andrej Meszaros’ blast from the point found its way behind Craig Anderson to tie the score. For Meszaros, it was a goal against the team that drafted him in his 500th NHL game.

Aside from the defense, young Flyers stepped up. Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Marc-Andre Bourdon each scored. That makes four rookies scoring five goals on the season in Ottawa. Couturier seems to especially enjoy playing in Ottawa. His goal on Sunday was his first in 22 games. He also scored his first NHL goal against Ottawa back in October.

Bryzgalov played well, despite the goals against. He allowed a goal from Chris Neil that it appeared as though he stopped at first glance, but a lengthy replay revealed that he brought the puck back out of the net from just behind the goal line.

In the third period, he had a goal scored against him that he had zero shot on. Colin Greening made a pass intended for Jason Spezza, but Carle extended his stick to block it and instead redirected it behind the Flyers’ netminder. All-Star Erik Karlsson beat Bryzgalov later in the third period when he took the shot on a 2-on-1 and beat him five-hole.

On the night, Bryzgalov was actually pretty good. In fact the past two games against Ottawa may have been some of his best hockey this season. He made 32 saves on the night and came up huge for the Flyers as time was winding down in the third period. For the most part, he was calm and confident, coming out of his crease to cut down the angle.

In front of him, the Flyers ran out of gas. With 1:11 left in the game, Filip Kuba scored his fourth of the year on a shot from the point that deflected off Scott Hartnell. That was the second of five goals against Bryzgalov that were put in the net by his teammates.

Matt Read To Fill In For Jagr On Top Line

4 Jan

VOORHEES, N.J. — Matt Read nearly wasn’t a Flyer. He went to a camp with the Minnesota Wild before his senior year at Bemidji State, but opted to play his senior year. The Wild weren’t the only team interested in the Ilderton, Ontario native, but despite a guaranteed contract, he returned to college.

“He wanted to come back and lead us into a new building and also wanted to lead us into the WCHA,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore told Philly Sports Daily back in March. “He wanted to come back and graduate. We relied heavily on him the last four years.

“It was the right call because more and more teams obviously again, thought he could play for them. I think he gained more maturity. Again he was in a situation where he was a leader. He was our captain. He was put in different situations. He also gained a degree, which was very important.”

Then the Flyers came in and swept the graduate away with a three-year, $2.7 million contract. And it’s a good thing that he got all that experience as a leader where he was relied upon in a top spot with many people depending on him and pressure was a constant. For the next week and a half, he’ll be filling Jaromir Jagr’s skates on the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.

Jagr is expected to miss up to 10 days with a left groin injury; that projects to around four games. Read has played left wing, right wing and center for the Flyers this year, so change is nothing different for him.

“I walked in and I saw I was on a line with them, I thought oh, Lavy made a spelling error there,” said Read. “I was excited. You probably only get one of these shots to make the most of one of these opportunities and you know I look forward to playing with those guys tomorrow night, and try to cash in on a couple points and help our team win.”

Read is second among rookies with 12 goals this season. He’s been a fixture on both sides of the Flyers’ special teams game. Being on the top unit will open up more opportunity for him to pad those stats. Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on the shelf indefinitely with a left shoulder injury, so now would be the time to catch him in the point standings.

“I think if I get out of my game a lot and try to make good plays, like what Jagr does out there, that’s not my game,” said Read. “I’m just going to try to stick to my game plan, work hard and win puck battles in the corner and get those guys the puck. They’re special players, they’ve got great talent, so I’ll just benefit from getting them the puck.”

Read has 12 goals and 10 assists in 34 games, putting him fourth in overall scoring among rookies, but he’s in a bit of a slump lately. He has one goal and three assists in his last 11 games. Putting him on the top line should alleviate that and Peter Laviolette is eager to see what he does with the latest challenge.

“Every time we’ve asked him to do something or needed a void filled, he’s been able to jump in there and contribute,” said the coach. “We’re just looking at it. There was practice today. I liked it. We’ll see.”

There is no doubt from his new linemates that he’ll be easy to work with, even if he’s not a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Jagr.

“I think he’s played every position, probably played with every guy on the team too – third line, second line and first line,” said Hartnell. “He’s a work horse, he’s got a good stick, and I think we’ll have a good game. I think he works hard and he’ll want to stay up on that top spot.”

Read’s determination coupled with versatility was one of the things that made him an attractive collegiate prospect and helped him get into the NHL. His coach knew that even before he graduated.

“He’s just got a lot of depth to his game,” said Serratore. “I think the biggest thing is he’s very, very reliable and that’s what Philadelphia’s gonna get is a very reliable player, an all-situational type player.”

Read’s Versatility Helping Injured Flyers

23 Dec

NEW YORK — Danny Briere might not play Friday night in the Winter Classic preview. If he doesn’t, Matt Read will take over his line. Read has played virtually every position for the Flyers this season at forward. From left wing to center to right wing to the point on the power play, the 25-year-old rookie has been a blessing for an injured team in that wherever a guy goes down, he can fill in.

“Wherever coach wants to put me in the lineup, I feel comfortable in any position,” said Read. “If it’s wing, center, on the point on the power play, it’s something that in college I played all positions and I’m comfortable at it and I’m just trying to make the best of my opportunity when I’m put in those positions.”

Despite not having a clearly defined role, Read has flourished. He is fourth among rookies in points and second in goals, behind Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“It’s like a utility player in baseball when guys are injured or guys need a day’s rest and a guy can play all sorts of positions — infield, outfield,” said Scott Hartnell. “He can play left right and center. He’s good on the power play and the penalty kill.

“You don’t know how a kid’s gonna pan out when you sign him like that out of college. All things are pointing to a good start for him and a good NHL career.”

Read may have only one point in the last five games, but the team has been marred with injury and he’s had to fill in wherever the Flyers have a hole. Lately that’s been at center when Claude Giroux was absent and now possibly Briere. Read has spent time on the second, third and fourth lines this season.

If Briere’s hand is too bruised to go on Friday night, Read’s wingers will be James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds.

“When it comes time to score a goal or something like that, you never know what position you’re gonna be, if you’re gonna be a winger, centerman or D man,” said Read. “It’s good to know every position. It helps you see the ice better, I guess and it gives me better opportunity to be on the ice.”

Flyers Get Bryzgalov A Win In Return To Phoenix

3 Dec

They didn’t want to make the same mistake again. After coming out flat on Friday night, the Flyers were blazing on Saturday, scoring four first-period goals en route to a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ilya Bryzgalov returned to the city he called home for four seasons and his teammates helped him feel comfortable early on. He was tested, but he passed by making big saves early in the contest. Bryzgalov came out of his net to make saves, controlled rebounds better than he had and came up with a few big kick saves and glove saves.

What got the Flyers going early was their power play. They had three goals on the man advantage on Friday and got another two on Saturday. With Raffi Torres in the box for an illegal check to the head, Matt Read took a fortunate bounce on the back boards and ripped a shot past Mike Smith from the left-wing circle.

Wayne Simmonds added his first point in eight games on a goal that he batted out of mid air later in the first. Claude Giroux took a one-timer that looked like a replay of Friday’s game-winning goal to put the Flyers up three.

The power play struck again when Scott Hartnell did some dirty work in the Phoenix crease. At that point, the Flyers were 2-for-2 on the power play. Previously, the Coyotes hadn’t allowed a power play goal at Jobing.com Arena in their last seven home games.

Jason LaBarbera relieved Smith to start the second period and it got the Coyotes going a little. A bouncing pass from Radim Vrbata fount Ray Whitney in the slot 7:15 into the period. His shot beat Bryzgalov through traffic to get Phoenix on the board. However, Bryzgalov continued to stand strong. He made 12 saves on 13 shots in the middle stanza.

The Flyers applied better pressure in the third, but were still on their heels, anticipating the Phoenix comeback attempt. However, thanks to their defense and most importantly Bryzgalov, it never really happened. With 40 seconds left, the Coyotes added another goal, but it was a deflection on a Keith Yandle point shot. Bryzgalov made 11 saves in the third period and finished his night with 36.

Not only did the team keep its foot on the pedal, but Bryzgalov was also sharp from beginning to end. His re-emergence is almost as important as the two points the Flyers gained in the standings.

Missing Key Pieces, Flyers Fall To Hurricanes

21 Nov

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It was an impressive streak, but it had to end sometime. Injuries certainly played a part, but the Flyers’ four-game winning streak over the Carolina Hurricanes is no more. Without Chris Pronger, Braydon Coburn and Jaromir Jagr, the Flyers fell to the visiting Hurricanes 4-2.

In the last 21 meetings between the two, the Flyers were 17-1-3 against the Hurricanes entering Monday night’s action. But the Hurricanes picked up where they left off Sunday night when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.

Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall drove six hours from Glens Falls, N.Y. to make their NHL debuts in lieu of the injured defensemen, but they weren’t the ones who struggled in the Flyers’ end.

For the second-straight game it was the penalty kill that hurt the Flyers. They let up a pair of goals on the disadvantage, allowing Carolina to go 2-for-4 on the power play.

“I’ve said we’ve taken too many penalties for weeks,” said Peter Laviolette.

The first Carolina goal came in the first period when Chad LaRose made a beautiful pass under a sprawling Kimmo Timonen to find Alexi Ponikarovsky for an empty-net goal. Ilya Bryzgalov had no chance and Andrej Meszaros missed his man.

Another pretty play put the Hurricanes up two, when Jeff Skinner picked the puck off a turnover and took Timonen to school 1-on-1 with a nice spin move and scored on Bryzgalov.

In the second period, the Flyers put up a fight. James van Riemsdyk had a brilliant individual effort to outmuscle Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison and score on the backhand right in front of the Carolina net on his own rebound.

Then van Riemsdyk got Matt Read involved. The rookie, fresh off third-star of the week honors, continued his hot streak, scoring in his fifth straight game.

Van Riemsdyk found him with an incredible one-handed pass while fending off a Hurricane and Read put it home.

However, in the end the Flyers couldn’t outlast the Carolina attack. Ponikarovsky added a fourth goal late in the second period, popping up a rebound over the head of an outstretched Bryzgalov to regain a two-goal lead.

The third period saw the Flyers apply some pressure, but they were never able to cash in. They had five shots on Cam Ward and he stopped all of them.

“The game’s about competition,” said Laviolette. “It’s about getting to the areas, the hard areas. Then once you get there, it’s about getting numbers and support there. Then once you’re inside it’s about winning the battles. And we did not.”

Matt Read Pulls Third-Star Honors

21 Nov

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Not only was he an early Calder Trophy candidate, but Matt Read now has star of the week honors. The NHL announced that the Flyers rookie is the third star of the week. Montreal’s Carey Price and San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic nabbed the first and second stars respectively.

Read, 25, had four goals in the Flyers’ three games last week and has had five goals in his last four games. He is red hot right now, but will only credit his linemates.

“Obviously it’s pretty special,” Read said. “Not many rookies I guess have an opportunity to have that, but I just think I got it from the players that I was playing with all week. I felt good out there, but I have to give some credit to those guys.”

Read has eight goals and five assists through his 16 games. He missed three contests with a head injury, but has been on fire recently. He attributes his recent success to being more comfortable the more time he spends in the NHL.

“You can say I’m a little bit more comfortable out there,” said Read. “I’m seeing more ice every game. Learning the open spots on the ice is key, and I guess I’m finding those spots and having opportunities to shoot.”

As for the expectations of being the league’s best rookie, Read is trying not to let that get to him, despite respected hockey analyst Bob McKenzie tweeting that Read is his early pick.

“It’s in the back of my mind,” said Read. “It’s Bob McKenzie’s opinion. I love getting recognition for it, but it’s a long season. One week doesn’t mean anything. It’s an 82-game season. You can’t worry about those things. You have to worry about yourself and your team.”