After watching the Flyers game Tuesday evening against the Jets--I have to say that it may just be possible that Bryzgalov has finally shifted the focus from his press antics to his game. He has made some saves that in the not so distant past may have gotten by him.
I have to admit that I did not jump onto the Bryz 'bandwagon' immediately. In all honesty, I refused to until I witnessed his performance against the Bruins on Jan. 22nd. That game may just have been his turning point, in that too, he asked the press to back off so he could focus more on his game and the task of achieving a better performance regimen for the team.
I had stated that I would not support him until he did get his mind in the game, and by George, I think he has. It is rather enjoyable to realize the fact that Bryz is making me eat my words prior.
The Jets are a noteworthy team within their history with the Flyers and remain a team to beat for our boys. The Jets have won six straight games inPhiladelphia, including four when they were the Atlanta Thrashers, since a 5-3 loss on Jan. 21, 2009. The franchise has beaten the Flyers in nine of the last 10 meetings.
Bryzgalov held strong through the rather quiet three periods of play...that still brought some serious shots right at him. His most definite confident glove snag that just ate the puck right out of the air in the third period proved that he can make important saves and his reaction time is improving some.
The shootout though still remains his 'voodoo', if you will.
Pavelec remained solid through the game and all three rounds of the shootout, facing Coutorier, Giroux and Jagr. Bryagalov, unfortunately allowed Bryan Little to get one right through his pads to allow the Jets to leave Philly with a win under their belts. This is not the first time I have been known to yell at my TV for Bryz to close his legs in order to utilize the pads...and it may not be the last. Every goalie has their strengths and weaknesses.
Bob has battled the same demons with the upper corners of the net for two seasons and opposing players have come to know this spot wit him. With Bryz it appears that going down in an effective sense to take away the 'between the pads' option may be his demon to battle.
On any front though, there is no denying that Bryz is making progress--just not to the approval of many fans unfortunately--as many of us have watched our squads struggle over the years with the lack of a solid and consistent net minder since the days of Parent, Lindbergh and Hextall. These names are not easy to be compared to I am sure.
This game could have been worse, as could have been the bout that Bryz gave toBostonin the first shootout of the last three (Bob won one in FLA). In both instances, Bryzgalov could have very well played less impressively and lost the games in straight regulation time. At least we are battling to the end...we just need to start nailing the shootout and becoming a serious threat in that department.
Bryz did stop more shots on goal than Pavelec as the tally stands for SOG at: Jets (24) - Flyers (28).
Laviolette pulled three hot guns for the shootout (Couturier, Giroux and Jagr); Pavelec was just on his game all night long...cannot toss any better at any opponent.
This is a newly built squad and it will not improve over night; however, the young blood continues to show signs of sparking a winning fire being lead by veterans like Jagr for instance, that can bring a world of knowledge and experience to these new guns. The Flyers may not win every game (as no team does), we may have a struggle through the playoffs...but this fan senses that things are coming together and I am willing to watch the movie develop.
Bryzgalov’s record thus far: (W) 18 - (L) 10 - (OT) 5
First Period: PHILA: [15:11] Brayden Schenn (4) (Power Play); Assists: Matt Carle, Jaromir Jagr
Second Period: JETS: [2:06] Chris Thorburn (1); Assists: Nik Antropov, Ron Hainsey
PHILA: Shootout attempt by Sean Couturier MISSES
JETS: Shootout attempt by Kyle Wellwood saved by Ilya Bryzgalov
PHILA: Shootout attempt by Claude Giroux saved by Ondrej Pavelec
JETS: Shootout attempt by Blake Wheeler saved by Ilya Bryzgalov
PHILA: Shootout attempt by Jaromir Jagr saved by Ondrej Pavelec
JETS: Shootout GOAL scored byBryanLittle on Ilya Bryzgalov
FINAL: Jets (2) - Flyers (1).
Next the Flyers tango with The Nashville Predators who won last night (5-4) over The Wild. Pekke Rinne comes to town with a record currently standing at: (W) 29 - (L) 11 - (OT) 4. Should make for yet another great match up. Nest game is Thursday evening, as the puck drops in the Wells Fargo Center at 6:00 p.m.