PHILADELPHIA – Playing for a second straight night and without a good night’s sleep, the St. Louis Blues outworked the Philadelphia Flyers in their own building,
Kent Huskins and T.J Oshie scored early goals and Brian Elliott made the lead stand with 34 saves to lead the Blues to a 4-2 win over the Flyers on Saturday night.
Huskins and Oshie helped the Blues pounce a night after they won at home against Carolina in overtime. The Blues didn’t arrive in their Philadelphia hotel until after 3 a.m. and skipped the morning skate.
“St. Louis didn’t appear to be tired,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.
Not at all. The Blues had the fresh legs and outhustled the Flyers to loose pucks.
St. Louis even got a rare power-power play goal as one of the worst special teams units in the NHL finally came through when Matt D’Agostini scored late in the third to thwart a late Flyers’ scare.
“We’re playing the team game that we drew up at the beginning of the year,” Blues defenceman Barret Jackman said. “We kept it simple and got back to the basics.”
And back to .500 (4-4).
Ilya Bryzgalov had his second straight off game in net for the Flyers. After allowing five goals in a loss to Washington, Bryzgalov allowed two on the first eight shots.
He blamed miscommunication with his defenceman as part of the reason for his slump. The Flyers are filled with new faces and, for all their talent, are still going through an adjustment period.
“We need to have three words and everybody has to know these words,” Bryzgalov said. “Play it, leave it or over. Not, everybody comes up with his own words, like, ‘I’ll pick up,’ or ‘don’t touch’ or something like that. It needs to be a simple three words so everybody understands everybody, and we’re all on the same page. And then we won’t have this problem in the future.”
Danny Briere and Matt Carle scored for the Flyers—who are 3-0 on the road and 1-2-1 at home.
St. Louis centre Jason Arnott set up the first goal when he beat Claude Giroux off a faceoff in Philadelphia’s zone. Huskins took a soft shot from the point once the puck came his way, but it was enough for the left-hander to beat Bryzgalov for the early goal.
The Blues made it 2-0 on a nice give-and-go from Carlo Colaiacovo to Oshie. Bryzgalov bit on Colaiacovo’s give, allowing Oshie to easily pound in his first goal of the season for a 2-0 lead with 9:56 left.
That made it two goals on eight shots for the Blues. The Flyers fans, who saw the home team get routed on Thursday, quickly lost their patience and booed.
Laviolette called a 30-second timeout and unloaded on his team for their second straight sluggish start. Trying to spark the offence, Laviolette switched around line combinations.
He mixed them up at Friday’s practice, only to scrap them and try new combos against St. Louis.
Briere was off to a slow start with only one goal in the first six games. He showed a sign of snapping out of the funk when he snapped a wrister from the circle high over Elliott’s glove 56 seconds into the second to make it 2-1.
All that momentum against Elliott, back in net a night after holding off the Hurricanes, was short lived.
They could never sustain any more serious attacks against Elliott.
The Flyers caught a break late in the third when a replay review showed Carle’s puck crossed the line before it was swiped away by a St. Louis defenceman to make it 3-2. The crowd roared when the review went in Philadelphia’s favour and momentum could have shifted on home ice.
But the energy was sucked out of the building when D’Agostini backhanded the pivotal power-play goal just over a minute later for a 4-2 lead.
The Blues had been an NHL-worst 1 for 25 on the power play entering the game. D’Agostini, who scored the winning goal a night earlier, made the Flyers pay with Scott Hartnell in the box for crosschecking.
The Blues were the team with more jump all game. Late in the second period, Colaiacovo knocked in a loose puck late off a rebound for a 3-1 lead. Like Oshie, it was his first goal ofthe season.
Colaiacovo played for the second straight night after missing five games with an upper-body injury suffered in the season opener.
The Blues could have another player on the injury list after forward David Backes left in the second period with an upper-body injury. He was plowed on a clean hit by Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger and was down on the ice for a bit before skating off on his own power.
Elliott got two straight starts after Jaroslav Halak was pulled in a 5-0 loss to Los Angeles. Elliott has convincingly made his case for increased playing time. He improved to 5-2 lifetime against the Flyers with two shutouts in seven appearances.
“Internal competition drives a hockey team to be better every day and this is no different,” Blues coach Davis Payne said.
Notes: This is the only game this season between the two teams. … The Blues earned points in their past five games against the Flyers. … This was only the second time since 1999 that the Blues have scored four goals against the Flyers, a span of 15 games.