Evgeni Nabokov commanded the show at the Wells Fargo Center last night against the Flyers--who have now lost three straight at home; as well as now losing their fifth shootout in a total of six thus far this season. Plain and simple, Nabokov stopped every shot that was thrown at him.
Nabokov even said after the game that all the shots he challenged from the Flyers best gunners were all ‘quality shots’. So this loss was not from a lack of effort on the Flyers part.
Nabokov made 45 saves for the Isles, securing his 52nd career shutout and second this season. Frans Nielsen and John Tavares helped in this achievement by scoring on Ilya Bryzgalov in the shootout, helping to snag a win against the Flyers 1-0. This stands as the Isles second straight win in Philly but prior to this ‘gold star’, they had lost 13 straight matches on Flyers home ice.
"Anytime you get goaltending like that you get a win, and against a good team," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. That sums it up rather well and stopping the puck is the name of this game.
Sergei Bobrovsky sat this one out for Philadelphia despite a 7-1 career record against the Islanders. Laviolette still remains behind Bryzgalov as his starter and this loss is not entirely a case of Bryz lacking in performance across the board last night.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 18 shots he faced through all of regulation and overtime minutes. This also stands as his second shutout of the season -- 25th of his career. Finally, it's also the fifth time in the last seven starts he's allowed one goal or fewer; which, are NHL Milestones.
"I think we play very well, but it's a bad taste in the mouth after losing in the shootout," Bryzgalov said. "Obviously, I've got to work on this kind of thing in practice more."
Flyers fans are hoping it can be improved upon prior to the playoffs or that the team can simply win in regulation and seal the deal early on -- if the shootout is the pitfall, then winning in regulation is the only solution. I am sure many fans feel this should have been worked on since the downward shootout against the Bruins back on January 22nd.
The Flyers did out shoot the Islanders at 45-18, including 16-3 in the third period and 4-1 in overtime. So fans do need to not place blame and maybe settle in for a phase of 'reconstruction improvements' or ‘growing pains’ within their team. It is not a case of the Flyers not showing up to play here…the stats do prove that.
Nabokov faced Philly's finest including a chance from Claude Giroux in the third period, after stealing the puck. Giroux's dekes were not enough for Nabokov, who later stopped Scott Hartnell on a stellar chance to sneak one in; as well as prime, numerous attempts from Jagr and Briere in regulation. The Isles net minder sealed the deal stomping out Simmonds in the shootout.
When asked about the game, Jagr (who held four shots on goal) had this to say: "He (Nabokov) was there even before we tried to shoot it." You cannot as better ‘puck anticipation’ from any goalie than was witnessed from Nabokov last night.
This was the first time the Flyers have racked a scoreless game in straight regulation since December of 2005 – where they too fell to the Calgary Flames 1-0 in a shootout. The same goes for the Isles as their last scoreless game in regulation since February 2004 – that outcome was a 0-0 tie against the Bruins.
The Flyers face Toronto for a Saturday matinee, February 11th @ 1:00 and have two more opportunities to tangle with the Islanders during the regular season in the month of March.