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Flyers need Bryzgalov to be a key player moving forward

Apr 23, 2012, 6:16 PM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (not pictured) scores past Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins (not pictured) scores past Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

A key ingredient to a Stanley Cup winning team is superb goaltending. Do the Philadelphia Flyers have that? Honestly, the jury is still out.

Ilya Bryzgalov left something to be desired for most of the Flyers’ series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it would also be unfair to hold him fully responsible for his 3.89 GA and .871 save percentage in the playoffs. The Penguins have an absurd number of gifted scorers and defense didn’t seem to be the primary focus of either team for the better part of the series.

Still, the Penguins are gone and Bryzgalov did play an important role in that, particularly in Game 6. Now he needs to show he can lead the Flyers through what is likely to be a more conservatively played series where goals will be at a greater premium and each mistake by a goaltender will be more heavily felt.

“We’re going to live and die by Bryz,” Scott Hartnell said. “If he plays anything like he did (in Game 6) throughout this next round, we’re going to keep moving on.”

One thing we’ve seen is that Bryzgalov doesn’t have many equals when he’s playing at his best. If Game 6 was the start of another hot streak, then whichever team ends up facing them in the next round should be very nervous. Conversely, if he remains inconsistent, then Philadelphia will have a hard time making it further than they did in 2010-11.

  1. somekat - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Didn’t you post this yesterday?

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    What team doesn’t live and die by their goalie in the playoffs?

  3. bagjr387 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    difference between the best goalie in the NHL and an average goalie?
    Best sv%:940 average sv%:.915
    Best GAA:1.56 average: 2.50

    my point is that goalies stats are usually pumped up by team defense.. .025% difference on save percentage is a joke. compare Rinne/Lundquist/Miller(elite) to Elliot/halak/smith/quick(average). there is almost no differance in the number except what the teams PAY these players. in my opinion Philly chicago and st louis are teams that are doing it the right way(post lockout).they have good defense with average goaltenders. GAA is a better TEAM stat and you will notice that some teams, like my sabres, play $hit defense in front of a great goalie, and it doesnt matter because we didnt make the dance. the last part of my rant: winning stanley cup goalies since lockout:
    Ward
    Giguere
    Osgood
    Fleury
    Niemi
    Thomas

    Team Defense is the Key to winning a cup!

    • phillyphever - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Yeah, I see two potential HOFs on that list (Osgood and Thomas), so that doesn’t help your case. Plus, if it wasn’t for Thomas last year, Boston wouldn’t have won the cup.

      • bagjr387 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        and 4 Average goalies…my point being to use cap space on other parts of the team instead of paying $7M and not having money for an elite center(my sabres)

      • phillyphever - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM

        Not my problem Buffalo was too cheap to resign Briere.

    • dsd3 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Not sure which games you’re watching. Philly has no D system in place. They do not pump up goalie numbers through team D. In fact, they do the opposite.

      • bagjr387 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

        they did when they played chicago in 2010

      • phillyphever - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        Yet I believe that defense couldn’t have covered up for Michael Let”them in”ton against Chicago.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      Stats go out the window in the playoffs. Most of the guys you named outperformed their career stats during their Cup runs.

    • bigdong28 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:20 PM

      I agree with you but in a 7 game series you can bank on the fact that at some point their will be a defensive breakdown, resulting in an odd man rush or even a breakaway. Since most playoff games are so tight, this is where goaltending comes into play. This is where your goalie needs to come up with a big stop to keep you in it. Goaltending is a weird position and I feel like their success rides a lot on the mental aspect of being a goalie. Unfortunately for Bryz and the flyers he seems to be not so mentally tough.

    • xavier46 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:31 AM

      @bagjr387
      “.025% difference on save percentage is a joke”
      Well sir, I agree that would be a joke. Except in your example, “Best sv%:940 average sv%:.915″ there is a 2.5% difference. .940=94.0% saves, .915=91.5% saves.

      It’s been a while since Ryan Miller was “elite”, no? I understand being a buffalo homer, but dude is no longer elite. He’s even top 10 in the league. In the regular season he had a .916 SV% (good to be T-19 in NHL) and his GAA was 2.54 or 23rd in the NHL.
      Elliot – .940% and 1.56 GAA (Both 1st in NHL)
      Halak – .926% (6th) and 1.97 (4th)
      Smith – .930 (3rd) and 2.21 (7th)
      Quick – .929 (5th) and 1.95 (2nd)

      Perhaps compounding the problem is that you still think the Sabres have a great goalie.

  4. sgtr0c - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Odd article. Title makes you feel the Flyers only make it as Bryz goes, do or die.
    Then you point out that Bryz did well in game 6 and did win against the cup favs with a star lined offense.
    Then yesterdays quote from Hartnel.
    Then say whoever faces the Flyers might be scared.
    Seems like going in a circle.
    My thought today was about how many pucks the Flyers blocked, 40, and they did that without Grossman, their leading shot blocker. That should make the next team nervous about the Flyers desire.

  5. lasallehockey81 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Goalie? Who cares about a goalie? Just score 36 goals a series and score your way to a Cup. (disclaimer: this is obviously sarcasm, for those Internet tough guys who inevitably will call me a moron, idiot or some variation.)

    • crazemastercraze - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      your pointing out a long, on going epidemic: flyer fan delusion. they believe that they’ll win the cup this year (every year) even though every aspect of how their team works points to epic fail!

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:55 PM

        Wow. And you’ve just pointed out one of two things: you’re either a) illiterate or b) have no idea what diclaimer or sarcasm means. How stupid can you be?

      • crazemastercraze - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM

        crameeh????

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        Exactly. It’s past your bedtime.

      • crazemastercraze - Apr 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        jam!

  6. vasteelerfan - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    A good goalie will beat the filthy fryers unless refs let do their usual on the edge sniping. Should really get the cryer fans foaming at the pie hole!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 23, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      Someone’s bitter….

      • bobhpine - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:09 AM

        jim morrison died

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:03 AM

        Hence the ‘1971’ part.

  7. vasteelerfan - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I b frum filly. Wat is bitter?

  8. sjsharks66 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I have noticed Bryz will have a good game, maybe two. Then he plays really bad for about 3 or 4. He needs to show up big time if they are going to make it far. In the sharks situation Niemi wasn’t very good during the year but was really good in the playoffs. The blues defense just shut us down and we couldn’t score.

  9. myvickinabox14 - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Vasteelerfan, like MAF? I remember it like it was a couple of days ago…”MAF is getting hot, this is a new series” Why are you still on here. Shouldn’t you be in your troll cave by now. You have no reason to even be talking. You just got whipped by a , “talentless, defenseless, crappy goalie having bunch of nobodies. The refs were against the pens and the pens completely outplayed Philly.” How in the world could you lose that series? Stop trollin bro, it’s over. You lost.

  10. mclovinhockey - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Flyers have good D when they play D. Their 9th defenseman just played Malkin very well in game 6. He also put up just as many goals as one of the leagues best players that game. Philly has a 10th D named Manning who is very promising as well and can eat up time like crazy.

  11. vasteelerfan - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Ah dog beater you took the bait. The flyers won fair and square. Just wanted to see you jump thru your butt over a small dis.

  12. vasteelerfan - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Ah dog beater you took the bait. Flyers were the best team. Just wanted to yank on the chain you should be tied to.

  13. myvickinabox14 - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    You really got me man, that’s one victory in the many defeats of your pathetic life. Great job man. Keep on trollin, you’re a pro

  14. sledgehorn - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Bryzgalov reminds me of Donnovan McNabb…
    They both can be All-World type talents…
    But only 4-6 games in a row.
    Then they phase in and out from awful to unstoppable.

  15. pasportyxlc - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Brzzz can be scary but with good “D” which we are very capable of playin we need him to steal 1 game per series……how many series will we go????? cant say…prolly further than sidney and mallowcup……gotta say they really surprised me how cheap they played…….better not hear any of the Pins cry about cheapshots again….EVER !!!!!

    • bobhpine - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:08 AM

      yeah errrbpdy sooooo scurrred

  16. pasportyxlc - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    compairing Mcnutt to Brizzz…… really ?????

  17. jimw81 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    Flyers team everyone saw in Game 6 against Penguins is what this team is suppose to play like. The problem with the flyers all year was there was no consistency playing a team game.

    • bobhpine - Apr 24, 2012 at 2:11 AM

      repeat and keep leaning forward and back again…ahmmmmmm…maybe pray to satan

      • matthewmacisaac - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:40 AM

        If that is what it takes…

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