Originally posted on Philly Sports Live  |  Last updated 3/13/12

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a huge contract last summer in hopes he would end their goaltending problems. Right now, he’s play even better than they could have expected.

Bryzgalov, the reigning First Star of the Week, stopped 17 shots for his third straight shutout and fourth in five games as the Flyers blanked New Jersey 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Bryzgalov is the first Flyers goalie with three straight shutouts since John Vanbiesbrouck during the 1999-2000 season. His shutout streak is now 196:13, dating to the third period last Tuesday against Detroit, and he’s approaching the team’s all-time shutout streak of 227:04, also held by Vanbiesbrouck.

After getting the night off Sunday in the Devils’ 4-1 win at New Jersey, Bryzgalov outplayed Martin Brodeur, who made 26 saves for the Devils. New Jersey’s four-game winning streak ended.

Sean Couturier, the eighth pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, beat Adam Henrique on a key faceoff and scored the game’s first goal at 11:07 of the second period. Couturier won a draw in the New Jersey end to the left of the Devils’ goal back to Braydon Coburn, who took a shot that caromed off the end boards and into the crease. Brodeur couldn’t corral the puck, and Couturier was able to poke it past him for his 12th of the season.

Couturier, who had back-to-back 90-point seasons in junior hockey, has made his mark this season with his defensive skill. He entered Tuesday’s game second among Flyers forwards and third among NHL rookies in shorthanded ice time per game at 2:45, and he spent a large portion of time on the ice during a pivotal four-minute penalty kill for the Flyers in the third period after Nicklas Grossmann took a double-minor for high sticking.

Couturier also is third among rookies with a plus-16 rating. He’s also dished out 67 hits, blocked 27 shots and won 47.0-percent of his faceoffs. He’s also second among all rookies — to Henrique — with 592 faceoffs taken and 314 faceoff wins.

The Flyers had other chances to go ahead in the second, as they dominated the Devils for most of the period, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances, including three power plays on which they managed a total of three shots.

The Flyers did get a little breathing room early in the third. Danny Briere won a puck battle deep in the New Jersey end and slipped the puck to Jakub Voracek in front. Voracek, playing for the first time since a three-game absence due to a concussion suffered last Tuesday against the Red Wings, dug the puck out of his skates and beat Brodeur for his 12th of the season at 2:14.

Briere closed the scoring with an empty-net goal, his 14th of the season, with 4:49 remaining — ending a 23-game goal-scoring drought.

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