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Are Philly’s playoff goaltending problems back? Did they ever really leave?

Apr 19, 2012, 11:10 AM EDT

Bob Bryz 2

Here, now, are Philly’s goaltending numbers through four games of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ilya Bryzgalov: 4.95 GAA, .844 save percentage.

Sergei Bobrovsky: 8.11 GAA, .722 save percentage.

Yet through Games 1-3, those weren’t of major consequence to Philadelphia…because the Flyers were winning. Bryzgalov had allowed three, five and four goals in his first three starts, but they were mitigated by the guys in front of him (who scored four, eight and eight respectively.)

Philly thrived playing old school, fire wagon, last-goal-wins kind of stuff, reminiscent of the 1980s style of hockey where it was cool if the goalie surrendered five…so long as his team scored six.

But last night, Pittsburgh flipped the script.

Bryzgalov — then Bobrovsky — were torched in identical fashion during the 10-3 loss. Both allowed five goals on 13 shots (finishing with .722 save percentages) and both looked shaky on a number of occasions.

Bryzgalov’s rebound control came into question on Evgeni Malkin‘s opening tally:

Later, his lateral post-to-post movement was scrutinized on tallies from Matt Niskanen and Kris Letang (the latter being Bryzgalov’s final goal allowed.)

Bobrovsky was no better but, by the time he entered the contest, things had deteriorated to a shooting gallery at the local carnival.

Following the game, the Flyers defended their netminders. Head coach Peter Laviolette said “Our team needs to be better,” while Claude Giroux insisted he wasn’t worried about the goaltending.

But there’s no way Philadelphia’s 100 percent comfortable with the current situation, especially with the memories of last postseason still fresh. In 2010-11, Bobrovsky, Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher all saw action during the Flyers’ 11-game run — and they all finished with sub-.905 save percentages (not one posted a goals-against average under three.)

Now, the goaltending numbers are actually worse and there’s been nothing to suggest they’ll get better. When asked to sum up the totality of Bryzgalov’s work thus far, Laviolette had this to say:

“I said it before about Bryz. The first few games in Pittsburgh, he made spectacular saves. But when you put it cumulative together and tie everything together, it makes it a little more difficult to answer [if I’m satisfied with goaltending] with a yes or a no.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, that.

  1. atb4 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Unfortunately for the Pens, Philly’s goaltending only needs to be decent one game for them to move on. But in later rounds, yeah, it’s cause for concern.

  2. jaybaileys - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    When you can score 8 goals a game it doesn’t matter. I think moving forward though they better figure it out or they will fall short of the Cup again. Other playoff teams will not be as porous defensively as the Pens. I’d love to see the Pens come back but it’s only happened 4 times ever for a reason.

  3. phillyphever - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Oh sure, blame the goalies. Lets not blame the other 18 guys on the roster who played like crap in front of them. IDC if it was Bryz, Bob, Quick, Rinne or Henrik in net, no team can win playing defense the Flyers played last night. Were there soft goals allowed? Yes, but mixed in were goals the goalies had no shot at making the save. Lavy better be focusing on defensive effort today at practice, and it better show in game 5, otherwise forget worrying about the next round, worry about making history the wrong way and never hearing the end of it.

  4. tackledummy1505 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I love this write up, is this so you all can cover for the horrible reffing that went on last night? Didn’t see a whole write up on Marc Andre Fleury. Lol Bryz will be back in net on Friday and we’ll be fine. Hopefully the refs let 5 on 5 hockey happen again. If not then this will be the biggest fix in sports history.

    • jasong812 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Flyers didn’t score a goal 5 on 5. Pens scored 5. I am good with that.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      Rumor is that Leighton replaced Bryzgalov in net at practice today. So they might be changing it up in game 5.

  5. tackledummy1505 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I would like for a Pens fans defend his team on getting the most power plays in the playoffs. Oh the Flyers are a dirty team, that’s right. Haven’t seen one cheap shot from a Flyer yet. Unless you want to count the powerhouse punch Rinaldo gave last night lol. Do Penguin players go to acting school during the summer or do they practice that on a regular basis lol

    • fruitsareedible - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      Philly had the most PIMs in the regular season, by a significant margin. So how is it surprising that they’d continue that trend in the playoffs? You don’t have to be dirty or cheap to get called for penalties, you just have to commit them. And that’s what Philly does in spades.

    • crashtheboards55 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      How in the hell can you not defend the fact that everytime you turned around last night the flyers were out of position and taking penalities? Here we go the reason you lost the game was the refs…blah blah blah…What rinaldo did was pathetic and complete garbage. Would love to see him actually have the ball$ to do that to engelland. What a joke. Does rinaldo practice being a douche bag or does it come naturally? You are just another uneducated so called “hockey fan” that has no idea of what he is talking about. Oh and what do you call what Kubina and simmonds did to cooke? At least 6 cross checks. Yep that was legal. How about matt read trying to take despres head off? You miss that too? Must be hard to miss all that when your job is a fluffer. Go get educated you dumb$hit.

      • maalea - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Yes, Rinaldo is a douche and if JVR is healthy, Rinaldo will not see the ice until Sept.

        But let’s look at the scoreboard of douche bagery….

        3 Pen’s suspended 0 Flyers suspended

      • crashtheboards55 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        I never once defended the Pens actions. In fact I posted earlier that they were too light with the suspensions and that I was embarrassed by them. I was simply repsonding to the moron above that wants to place blame on everything but the flyers play for why they lost. To imply that Michalek was acting or that the Pens act when getting cheap shoted from behind, look at Courterier after Neal hit him. They post above is a just another reflection of someone who knows absolutely nothing about hockey.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      considering the pp opportunities were even last night until rinaldo lost his cool, i dont know how more fair you could make it. also the fact that the pens outscored them 5-0 on even strength i dont see how you can make an argument blaming the refs. this is nothing new for the flyers anyway, taking dumb minor penalties that is.

  6. orangegesus - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    The team as a whole was horrible for sure. But the Malkin goal after Bryz was too slow to cover was all on him. He just looked lazy on some of those goals. Lavy is a great coach, so I think he gets them to tighten up Friday, but if Grossmann is out, that’s a big spot to fill.

  7. bcisleman - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Flyers could be in trouble with the Pens if Bryz doesnt get his act together. No way will they beat the NYR or Bs w/ Bryz playing like this. They were a collective 1-9 against those two teams. They need him to become a very good goalie again very quickly if they are to have any hope of getting to the SCF. PHI misses the Big Guy big time.

  8. schiver - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I would put about 3 of the 5 goals from last night on Bryz. The one was a deflection that went over his shoulder and on the other, Kubina was literally blocking him from moving across the net (why the hell was Kubina in the net on that play?). Still, 3 goals on 18 shots isn’t good and he sure needs to get better. But what is being slightly ignored today is the Pittsburgh goalies’ numbers:

    MAF: 5.43 GAA, .817 S%
    Johnson: 6.00 GAA, .667 S%

    Fleury’s save percentage going into the game was below 80% and he needed two scoreless periods to get his GAA under 6. Bryz hasn’t been Rinne or Elliot by a longshot, but he has made some spectacular saves this series that kept the Flyers in games. I agree it’s not good enough to beat the Rangers or B’s, but they also don’t have nearly the juggernaut of an offense that Pittsburgh has (they led the league goals scored, remember?). I think calmer heads need to prevail. I have played goalie for years in rec leagues and bad games and bad streaks happen, especially to high-scoring teams. He has a day to think it over and regroup. I just hope this doesn’t go to his head too much.

  9. hockeyflow33 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    No one mentions that Bryz is coming off a broken/fractured foot; I imagine that would make pushing off for leteral movements difficult

    • hystoracle - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      If he can’t do the job physically, then why is he on the ice?
      The most humourous part of this is that Philly is stuck with this guy for a long time.

      Maybe they can trade for Luongo and have 2 $5mil+ goalies who flake out in the playoffs.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        I’d imagine he’d trying to tough it out to win a Cup. Boucher wasn’t much better and he’s their only other option.

  10. bigal5888 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Tackle dummy – I’m a flyers fan, but blaming the refs is ridiculous. The pens had way too many even strength goals (6 or 7, I lost track) for the pp goals to make enough of a difference. The flyers have to d up or this series might turn around in a heartbeat.

  11. vasteelerfan - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    No tackle just a dummy. Better to remain silent an appear the fool than speak and remove all doubt. Win or loss do it with grace. Simple concept even for a dummy

  12. crusty14 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Schiver, it’s true the penguins led the league in scoring (282 goals), but when you say the bruins aren’t the offensive juggernaut in comparison to Pittsburg , you’re forgetting the B’s scored 269 goals, only 13 less than Pitt . No matter who comes out of this series , if the goaltending doesn’t improve greatly , Boston or the rangers will have a field day with them because no team is going to put up 4-8 goals a game against them!

  13. pens101 - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Fleury’s goaltending improved greatly yesterday if he keeps it up pens have straight forward road to the cup. All the rangers fans are saying that they are better than the pens. My understanding is that whoever plays better AGAINST!!! each other is the better team. And the pens won the regular season siries 5-2 so in my mind pit has the advantage.

  14. crazemastercraze - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    the only people who think the bryz is a great goalie are flyers fans who are willfully ignorant of the fact that a huge amount of goals have been scored on their team. the flyers have only had the luxury of scoring more than the pens and thats it! they love living in the void of delusion

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