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Jeff Reese on Bryzgalov: “That was his best game as a Flyer”

Mar 5, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

Ilya Bryzgalov, Mike Knuble AP

It hasn’t been easy this season for Ilya Bryzgalov. He’s been lost in the woods, ruminating about the universe, and getting yanked from games. Seeing him shut out the Capitals and earn a 1-0 victory last night, however, has fans in Philly feeling good and they’re not alone.

Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese is impressed with Bryzgalov’s play and couldn’t contain his feelings on his performance last night as Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News shares.

“That was his best game as a Flyer,” Reese said. “There’s no question about it. It’s just a confidence thing. The environment, everything around him, he’s starting to feel more comfortable.”

It’s taken all season, but if Bryzgalov has settled down into his role as the team’s No. 1 goalie, that’s a huge lift for a Flyers team that is hurting all over on their defense. Bryzgalov finding his game ahead of the playoffs makes for convenient timing as well because things were looking iffy in goal, so much so that the rumors about the Flyers looking for another goalie at the trade deadline grew strong. Philly held strong and that faith is being rewarded.

Now if the Flyers’ offense could return to action, perhaps the Flyers can overtake Pittsburgh for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

  1. abrienza428 - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    For the sake of argument, should shutouts still count if they’re against the Caps?

  2. flyeredup2 - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    It was his best game as a Flyer, but he still needs to work on going down too early on shots. Hope he keeps it up! Go Flyers!

  3. lsxphotog - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    People – ESPECIALLY THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA – always overlook the mental aspect of the game. You’re not just a talent consisting of numbers that goes out and performs a certain way. Players are impacted by everything around them. Ilya is clearly talented, but he’s under more scrutiny than any other goaltender in the league. Plus he’s Russian…they usually suck at dealing with mental pressure – giving them the impression of being Prima Donnas. I think in time he’ll be a fantastic netminder for the city if he can string some solid performances together…and he’s not directly responsible for their losses in the playoffs. Good luck to him, but the odds are certainly stacked against him in a city filled with buses that only target its own athletes. haha

  4. sheckyrimshot - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    yeah signing a 9 year deal should absolve you from public scrutiny. if you’re playing for the hello kitty all stars.

  5. whlskey - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    As a Flyers fan, I would prefer the team didn’t overtake Pittsburgh for home ice in the 1st round of the playoffs. Our road record this year is much better than when we play at home. Not too mention, Ilya doesn’t seem to play as soundly at home, and maybe that does have a little to do with the fans, but he seems to play with a lot more confidence and less on edge when he plays away games, as was evident last night with his shutout.

    • chaser44 - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      As a sports fan, no matter the sport or situation, you can not honestly believe it is better for your team to go on the road in the playoffs. Road/Home records from the regular season go out the window come playoff time, you want to be at home. Which is one of the biggest problems with the new wild card format in baseball. Next year the winner of the 1 game wild card gets the first 2 games of the 5 game divisional series at home, making the team with the better record who won their division start on the road. What a joke.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Yea, I have to agree with @chaser44. You would rather be at home than on the road in the playoffs. You can’t compare home ice (field) advantage when it comes to the regular season and the playoffs. I do have to point out one thing though, the parity in the NHL is higher than any of the other major sports in Amercia/Canada. All is not lost if your home team doesn’t clinch home ice for the playoffs.

  6. whlskey - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    I wouldn’t say “better,” and I probably shouldn’t have used the word “prefer” either. What I should have said is “this one year in particular, I couldn’t care less about home ice advantage” and that’s mostly because my biggest concern come playoff time, other than our defense getting healthy, is which mask/face Ilya decides he’s going to wear. His own teammate in Briere has just been quoted saying you never know which Bryz you’re gonna get, and whether I agree with Briere saying that publicly or not, it is true. Take that into consideration, as well as the butterflies every player typically has come the start of the stanley cup playoffs and the energy of the crowd, I could very quickly see Bryz getting extremely influenced/affected by a home crowd either cheering or booing him depending on how that first game goes, for the rest of the playoffs. He may try and say it makes no difference to him and that we care too much as fans, but I’ve seen enough of his play at home vs. on the road this season to believe otherwise, playoffs or not.

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