What a difference a month makes.
It’s unbelievable really, the turnaround that has taken place with Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. A month ago we were all talking about trading him, or hiding him in the minors until he could “find it in his soul to play in this city”
With the help of a much improved penalty kill unit, and defensive play, Bryzgalov has 4 shutouts in the last 5 games, and has given up just 6 goals since February 26th. He’s 9-2-1 in his last 12 games, and he’s given the Flyers a much needed boost heading into the stretch run. Bryzgalov is the first Flyers goalie to pitch 3 consecutive shutouts since John Vanbiesbrouck did it way back in 1999. The Flyers are now 5th in the Eastern Conference, and trail the conference leading New York Rangers by 8 points.
I’ll be the first one to admit, I was one of the people who wanted Bryzgalov gone, but you know what, everyone did.
He was absolutely terrible, and not for a few games–for a few months. He looked clueless, slow, and like he didn’t care at times. Exactly the type of player that Philadelphia sports fans love so much (eye roll). Now, he is fast, aggressive, and it’s obvious he is playing with way more confidence.
The Flyers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and look to be heating up at a crucial point in the season. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on fire, winning 9 of their last 10, and are about to get Sydney Crosby back tomorrow against the Rangers. Speaking of which, the Rangers have been solid all year, and are 6-3-1 in their last 10, and have one of the best goaltenders in the league.
The upcoming stretch run won’t be a cake walk, but hopefully the Flyers, and Ilya Bryzgalov can ride this momentum for a few more months, and hopefully all the way to a Stanley Cup. It will be a team effort obviously, but it’s great to see Bryzgalov finally coming around. The Flyers will need him.