The Flyers showed how much they appreciate their fans by becoming the third team from the Atlantic Division to clinch a playoff berth on Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. On fan appreciation night, the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 thanks to their special team units and goaltender.
Coming into the game, the Flyers were two-for-last-20 on the power play but they got three power-play goals against the best penalty kill unit in the league. Kimmo Timonen got the Flyers on the board first, a rarity in itself, with a power-play goal, a laser from the point.
Just four minutes into the second, the Flyers had several defensive breakdowns, one resulting in the tying goal on a breakaway by Tomas Plekanec. Danny Briere, who hasn’t scored a goal with a netminder between the pipes since January 7, broke out of his slump and scored two back-to-back power-play goals to send the Flyers into the third intermission with the 3-1 lead.
While Timonen and Briere got things done on the man-advantage, the Flyers PK unit was also on its game tonight. Late in the game, Montreal went on a 5-on-3 power play but thanks to players like Max Talbot and Braydon Coburn, the Flyers kept the Canadiens off the board.
It shouldn’t be a surprise by now but Ilya Bryzgalov had yet another solid night in net, saving all but one of the 24 shots that came his way. Bryz hasn’t given up more than two goals since March 1 against the New York Islanders, a span of 11 games.
Riding on the coattails of their goalie, the Flyers keep on rolling throughout the homestretch. They are 10-2-1 in the month of March and just two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth place.
Besides the plethora of prizes, which included jerseys off the players’ backs, fans got an extra special treat when the JumboTron showed captain Chris Pronger, who is still suffering from post-concussion symptoms, sitting in the owner’s box cheering on the orange and black. Pronger looked to be in good spirits, giving a thumbs up to the crowd while donning a pair of glasses.
With Briere finally finding the net and Bryzgalov playing red-hot, the playoffs couldn’t be coming at a better time for the Flyers.