The Captain Approves, Flyers Skate Past Devils 2 - 1
So Pronger dressed last night. I'm sure you either heard or saw it for yourself. Our Captain - who no one was positive would even be ready to start by the first game of the regular season - led his team on to the ice last night against Kovalchuk and the rest of those chumps from Newark, NJ.
I liked how Pronger stayed effective in our zone, yet didn't over do it. He did not just go through the motions, but I did notice he decided against taking a couple one timers from the point on last night's power-plays.
No worries. Our Orange Soldiers capitalized on the man-advantage twice which wound up being our only two goals. But oh how sweet those goals were.
Heading into the 2nd period with the score blanked on both benches, New Jersey seemed to control the puck the first twenty minutes. It stung a bit when Stephane Veilleux profited from a turnover just inside the neutral zone and wristed the puck to the back of Bryzgalov's cage, burning the lamp oil, 1 - 0, fourteen seconds after intermission.
After that, it was all Flyers.
Despite the ridiculous drama that has swarmed Wayne Simmonds early in his Philadelphia tenure, he continues to be impressive in the opponent's zone. When he isn't grinding the puck loose and lengthening our boys' chances, he's skating through the slot on the power-play and potting the rubber with excessive tenacity.
The 39 year old netminder, Marty Brodeur, made some saves last night that made Jesus' water-to-wine miracle seem like a cheap magician's card trick. But his effort wasn't enough to cut the head off Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr's chemistry with a Devil in the sin bin.
Virtually halfway through the 3rd period with the score tied at one, Zac Parise took a trip to the penalty box and out came that wonderful duo.
With the help of Simmonds' physicality, the puck was mailed to Giroux who sent it at light speed to a Jaromir Jagr camping in front of Brodeur's goal mouth. Jagr-Meister then snapped his stick in half as he cracked the pass into an empty net opposite from where the play existed a split second beforehand.
Once again, Jaromir turns to the haters and begs the question be answered, "You think I still got it?"
You wonderful 240 lbs Czech, you.
That is now four goals in three games.
Speaking of streaks, Sergei Bobrovsky took the net over halfway through the 2nd period and continues to display his brilliance. Bryzgalov was playing great, in my opinion. The one goal allowed was completely not his fault, but the fault of lousy attempts to get the puck out of our zone. Ilya stonewalled the first attempt, but ultimately the Devils' chance succeeded as Bryz laid sprawled on his stomach in the paint.
The goalie switch was purely for preseason reps reasoning. But I'll be damned if that tiny flash of lightning wearing the #35 sweater finished the tilt without allowing a single shot to the back of the twine.
Bob's success this preseason is coming from a mixture of three things; He's not physically fatigued. He's gained more NHL/North American-style hockey experience. And the pressure to be this team's saving grace has been lifted off his shoulders by a $51M contract outweighing the other end of the scale.
Despite the confidence I have in Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov is still this team's #1 puck stopper. However, Bob's performances only strengthen my argument that these two should platoon much more than people anticipate. Like I've said, Bryz has no trouble starting 65 - 75 games in the schedule. But why test the durability?
Give Bryzgalov his 55 starts and save his endurance for a strong final quarter of the season, and the post season, while you dress Sergei 27 times between the pipes giving him the games he'll need to grow.
Having the most reliable backup goaltender in the league will save us many nights from holding our breath for sixty minutes. This isn't an inconvenience. This isn't a "good problem to have." This tandem in net is a weapon, folks. One weapon I believe could be the primary reason for this team's success.
Though the Phillies begin their World Series run on Saturday at 5:07pm, don't forget about our Orange & Black battling their final preseason game at 7:00pm in Newark, NJ.
P.S. ~ When asked if he'd join the team on the ice on Saturday, Philadelphia Flyers Captain, Chris Pronger replied, "Let's put it on my headstone that I won't go to Newark for a preseason game."
I love that man.