PHILADELPHIA – Prized free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, making his first appearance as a Flyer, allowed stick-side goals to Juraj Mikus, Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne, as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated Philadelphia, 4-2, on Wednesday.
Displaying a new Philadelphia-themed mask, Bryzgalov, who signed a nine-year, US$51 million contract in June, received a loud ovation from a sparse crowd when introduced. But he was a bit shaky, as Mikus, pinching in from the point, beat him top shelf with a wristshot at 15:54 of the first. And Frattin whacked a rolling puck past him from 20 feet out at 14:31 of the second, as the two teams completed a two-day, home-and-home, pre-season split.
“We feel full support here, I liked the reaction,” Bryzgalov said. “But I can’t be satisfied with my performance.”
Ben Scrivens and Jonas Gustavsson combined for 21 saves and Colby Armstrong had two assists as the Maple Leafs (2-1) concluded a stretch of three games in three days. Colborne and Frattin added insurance goals in the third. The latter was an empty netter.
“We came out with a lot more pop and intensity tonight,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said, a day after losing to the Flyers, 4-0, at the Air Canada Centre. “We were able to get our legs going early, and we were able to keep it up.”
Tomas Hyka and Erik Gustafsson scored for Philadelphia (1-1). Bryzgalov finished with 21 saves.
“I thought he played well,” Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said of his new goaltender. “But I think we need to be better defensively in front of him.”
Though the regular season is still two weeks ago, there was definitely some tension between the two teams playing 24 hours apart. At 12:34 of the second, Philadelphia’s Jody Shelley received a five-minute boarding penalty for hitting Toronto’s Darryl Boyce when Boyce had his back turned to the end boards.
It’s the exact type of hit that the league is trying to cut down on, and Shelley’s error may offer new league czar of discipline Brendan Shanahan the opportunity to make an example out of him.
Immediately after the hit, Toronto’s Jay Rosehill and Shelley engaged in a lengthy fight. Shelley left the ice with the right side of his face bloodied. Both players received fighting majors, and Shelley was also given a game misconduct.
“Jody typically tries to play an honest game out there, so I’m not sure where we’ll go from there. The league’s looking at incidents, so the fact that there was a call and a game misconduct, I’m sure it’ll get looked at,” Laviolette said. “But hopefully, nothing will happen. He’s a fairly honest player.”
Boyce left the game after the hit, only to return in the third period, when he garnered a 10-minute misconduct at 12:30 for engaging with Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell.