PHILADELPHIA — Matt Read and Claude Giroux both scored goals in the shootout to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
Read beat Johan Hedberg on the first shot and New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk matched him. Giroux scored the second shootout goal, and David Clarkson and Patrik Elias both failed in their attempts against Ilya Bryzgalov.
The slumping Flyers badly needed this win following a 5-2 loss to the Devils on Wednesday. The Flyers are still on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Max Talbot scored in regulation for the Flyers and Clarkson had a goal for the Devils.
Bryzgalov finished with 26 saves, coming up big in all types of situations — and positions.
The Flyers’ penalty kill, which staved off a 5-on-3 in the first period, was clutch in the closing minutes of regulation. Brayden Schenn was whistled for charging with 1:42 left, but the Devils couldn’t convert. They attacked Bryzgalov and one puck got loose and trickled just outside the post, that had Flyers fans gasping as the final seconds ticked off.
With every man advantage or easy looks, the Devils just couldn’t convert.
With Bryzgalov flat on his back in the crease, Marek Zidlicky failed to flip the puck into the open the net. Zidlicky just didn’t enough lift on his shot and pushed the puck smack into a sprawled out goalie.
No doubt, the Flyers had to have this one.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren ripped the team in a 15-minute meeting at practice Thursday. He then gave embattled coach Peter Laviolette a vote of confidence and said he hadn’t considered firing him. Holmgren demanded the Flyers play hard and with purpose for all 60 minutes.
Holmgren’s gamble to dismantle the Flyers after a run to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals has yet to produce a roster capable of a deep postseason run. Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, James van Riemsdyk were all traded and Bryzgalov has been maddeningly inconsistent in his two seasons in net.
The Flyers entered the night five points behind Winnipeg for the final playoff spot in the East.
Playing with the spirit they needed more of in this underachieving season, the Flyers played one of their better first periods of late.
With Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek in the penalty box for hooking and Wayne Simmonds serving time for roughing, the Devils had the early two-man advantage.
Bryzgalov came up with a pair of clutch stops, first on a pad save against Kovalchuk and then holding off Clarkson on the rebound. Bryzgalov heard a well-earned rousing ovation for keeping the Devils off the scoreboard.
The Flyers backed him up when Talbot punched the puck in a wide-open net with Hedberg drawn out to the tip of the crease for a 1-0 lead. Simon Gagne was open on the wide side and made a perfect pass to Talbot on the low circle.
That left the Devils down a goal — and a player — and the end of one. The Devils lost center Andrei Loktionov for the game with an undisclosed injury after only 4:04 of ice time.
New Jersey tied it 1-all when Bryce Salvador’s shot from the point was redirected by Clarkson for his 11th goal. Kovalchuk rang one off the post toward the end of the period. Salvador headed for the bench in the first after he was smacked blocking a shot.
NOTES: The Devils fell to 3-1 vs. the Flyers this season. … The Flyers don’t have another home game until March 26.