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Bryzgalov's strong game helps Flyers win in a shootout

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - Ilya Bryzgalov needed a strong performance to help the Flyers improve their playoff chances, and he delivered.

Matt Read and Claude Giroux each scored in the shootout as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Bryzgalov stopped 27 of 28 shots, including all six in overtime.

Maxime Talbot added a goal for Philadelphia, which had lost four of its last five games.

The win also snapped a seven-game winless streak against the Devils, dating back to last year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

"It was the whole game," Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Bryzgalov's performance. "There were some more tricky shots early on in the game, and we gave up a couple of good scoring chances in the third. Throughout the game, he was terrific."

Philadelphia picked up two points on the Winnipeg Jets for eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With 20 games to go, the Flyers trail the idle Jets by three points, but Winnipeg has a game in hand.

"I think from this point on for us they are only going to be must-win. Sadly we've put ourselves in a rough spot. We're not going to be allowed to drop too many games from here going out," said the Flyers' Danny Briere

David Clarkson scored a goal, and Johan Hedberg stopped 21 of 22 shots for New Jersey, which has lost three straight on the road. The Devils picked up a point to tie the Ottawa Senators for the fifth spot in the East.

"We played a pretty good game," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "But, [Bryzgalov] played really well tonight, so we'll take a point and it's another game tomorrow."

Read scored for Philadelphia to open the shootout, answered by Kovalchuk, who beat Bryzgalov with a shot off the post. Giroux's wrist shot then beat Hedberg.

Clarkson came in strong at Bryzgalov, but lost control of the puck deep in the goal mouth.

Briere was stopped by Hedberg and New Jersey's Patrik Elias skated in deep toward Bryzgalov, but shot wide to end it.

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead with 4:39 left in the first. Talbot took a pass from Simone Gagne and flipped a left-handed shot past a sprawled out Hedberg into an open net to give Philadelphia the lead.

David Clarkson tied it up at 6:09 in the second when he redirected Bryce Salvador's wrister from the blue line past Bryzgalov. The goal broke a 13-game goalless streak for Clarkson, but he still leads New Jersey with 11 goals.

"Obviously, with everybody being all over me about the scoring drought, it's nice," Clarkson said. "I've got to continue now to keep going and keep putting the puck on net."

Bryzgalov played one of his strongest games of the year. He played his best during the overtime period when he stopped three shots during a flurry in front of the net that ended with him making the last save while sitting on the ground.

Philadelphia won its first shootout against the Devils, who came in with a 7-0 record against the Flyers.

Notes: Hedberg had a personal five-game unbeaten streak against the Flyers snapped. Friday's game was the fourth of five meetings between the Flyers and Devils this season and the first in Philadelphia. ... Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn returned to action after missing Wednesday's game in New Jersey. ... Hedberg started his 11th consecutive game for the Devils since taking over for NHL all-time wins leader Martin Brodeur. ... Talbot's goal was his 150th career NHL point. ... New Jersey's Andy Greene played in his 375th NHL game. ... Philadelphia scratches were Kurtis Foster, Mike Knuble, Jody Shelley and Harry Zolnierczk. Brodeur, Mark Fayne, Stefan Matteau, Harry Pesonen, Henrik Tallinder and Danius Zubrus were scratched for the Devils.
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