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Flyers vs Penguins - 12/29/2011

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Goalie vs Penguins - 12/29/2011  

30 members have voted

  1. 1. Who will LAVY start against the Penguins?

  2. 2. Who would YOU start against the Penguins?

  3. 3. If Bob plays and wins on Thursday, who do you start in the Winter Classic?

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We all know how corporations work. When a new 'VIP' comes into the company he, or she, has the red carpet rolled out for them. That person represents management's thought process and initially, their own reputation. The Flyers spent time, company assets and then a lot of money to seal Bryzgalov's nine-year deal. Short of an all-out mutiny on his part, or a career-ending injury, there is no way they are going to dump their newest crease selection any time soon. He will be given every possible opportunity during the regular season. He will also start in the playoffs.

From Sean OBrien

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Bob is in goal against the Penguins as per Holmgren.


PITTSBURGH -- You didn’t have to see Ilya Bryzgalov play in Phoenix to understand that he was a better goaltender there than what he has so far shown the Flyers.

Bryzgalov didn’t have a choice. He had to be better just to carry a pedestrian Coyotes club through the season and into the playoffs.

Look at his numbers there: 2.29 goals against average with a .921 save percentage.

Look at his numbers here and the Flyers $51 million goalie has fallen below the proverbial Mendoza Line: 3.01 GAA and .890 save percentage.

That’s not going to cut it.

“He has to get better, for sure,” said general manager Paul Holmgren, while the Flyers practiced in Mt. Lebanon, Pa. on Wednesday, in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Penguins.

Sergei Bobrovsky will start against the Penguins while Bryzgalov spends time over the next several days working on technical issues with goalie coach Jeff Reese.

Holmgren says he’s “not worried” about Bryzgalov, but wants him to get more quality practice time in with Reese.

“In the stretch that we have had, we haven’t had good practice time,” Holmgren said. “A lot of time he spends with Jeff working on things and hasn’t had that time because he is the one playing.

“Like Sergei gets a chance to work on things more with Jeff because he’s not playing. Today, and I think Sergei is playing tomorrow, this gives Jeff an opportunity to work with [bryzgalov] on some things.

“Technical things. It’s just like any player. You start to get bad habits. More than anything, I think Jeff needs to just work with him on some things and see what is wrong right now.”

Has Holmgren said anything to Bryzgalov?

“That’s Jeff’s area of expertise,” Holmgren said.

Brygalov gave up five goals on just 16 shots during Tuesday’s 5-1 clunker of a loss at Tampa Bay.

During the 26 games Bryzgalov has played this season, he’s allowed four or more goals 10 times. Last season in Phoenix, that happened just 13 times over 68 games.

He’s been all over the map and the crease this season with his play. He started the year winning three in a row. Lost five of his next six. Then won four of five. Sat a couple games when Bobrovsky got hot.

A lot of those losses saw odd, deflected goals that could not be stopped. Yet, even during the winning, there seems to be a bad goal every game. All it takes it one bad goal to lose a playoff game.

“Hoping the bounces start turning my way and not against us, because every game we have two goals and bad bounces,” Bryzgalov said. “Some day it has to stop probably. And I have a better game.”

CSN hockey analyst Bill Clement said it best. When your team is losing in game, like the Flyers were, 3-1, to Tampa Bay at one point, you need your goalie to make a crucial save -- a save that can turn it around and give your team confidence. Bryzgalov hasn’t done that very much this season.

His coach, Peter Laviolette, won’t call him out. Laviolette never calls out his players in public.

“I don’t know if he’s questioning himself,” Laviolette said when asked if Bryzgalov is doing just that.

“There was a game last night and it’s 5-1 and we can all be a little bit better. Some nights it doesn’t go your way and we look to fix that and get on track against Pittsburgh.”

Bryzgalov admitted how poor he’s been after the Tampa loss. On Wednesday, he worked with Reese on rebounds.

“He’s a coach, he sees better,” Bryzgalov said of Reese. “Today we working on rebounds, get better maybe. Control and positioning in net.”

Bryzgalov says he has “40 more games” before he has to think about the playoffs.

“Just continue to work hard and find where is the problem,” he said.

Could it be that because the Flyers are so much better than the Coyotes, Bryzgalov’s focus isn’t as sharp as it should be?

After all, he doesn’t have to steal games with a team that is the third-highest scoring club in the NHL?

Holmgren had to think about that one.

“There’s something here with a new team, a new group of teammates, a different style here,” Holmgren said.

“He certainly doesn’t get as many shots. Last night, I don’t know what the scoring chances were, but I don’t think they had that many scoring chances. In the end they got five goals.

“He obviously has to play better. Ilya knows the same thing. I do think he needs to spend a few days with Jeff working on some things which they are going to do.”

At some point, the Bryzgalov who was a superstar for the Coyotes, needs to show up for the Flyers.

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Flyers at Penguins, 7 p.m., CSN


Flyers: 21-10-4 (Second in Atlantic Division, fourth in Eastern conference)

Penguins: 21-11-4 (Third in Atlantic Division, fifth in Eastern Conference)

Previous games

The Flyers have lost their last two games. They lost 4-2 to the Rangers in a Winter Classic preview on Dec. 23 and then were beaten 5-1 by the Lightning in Tampa on Tuesday.

The Penguins are riding a four-game winning streak into the Flyers game. They have beaten the Sabres, Blackhawks, Jets and Hurricanes.

Who's hot?

Scott Hartnell has a point in the Flyers last four games. He has six points, two goals and four assists in that span.

For the Penguins: James Neal has a goal in the last four games and has an eight-game point streak. Evgeni Malkin also has an eight-game point streak on the line and has 18 points in that span. Malkin (42 points) is two behind Claude Giroux.


Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot will make their returns to Pittsburgh. The last time Jagr was in Pittsburgh, he was a member of the Rangers and was booed by Penguins fans.

This is the last game for the Flyers before the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park. The Flyers are looking to stop their skid and head into the Classic against the Rangers with some momentum.


Flyers: Danny Briere (bruised hand), Sean Couturier (head), Erik Gustafsson (wrist), Chris Pronger (concussion, knee surgery), Blair Betts (lower-body injury).

Penguins: Paul Martin (leg), Robert Bortuzzo (concussion), Sidney Crosby (concussion), Richard Park (fractured foot), Kris Letang (concussion), Dustin Jeffrey (ACL), Boris Valabik (knee).

Sound off

How important is it for the Flyers to win this game going into the Winter Classic?

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Argh, why rush a player back who is not 100% (Couturier and Schenn for that matter) and remove one of the only physical players in the lineup at the same time? Rinaldo needs to learn how to kill penalties, crash the crease, or something extra to keep a roster spot. I like Harry Z too, but I'd rather see Rinaldo in.

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2pts is 2pts.

I'll take those 2 points, especially after it looked like we were in for a long night after the first 90 seconds. (Goal against and penalty against.) I thought Bob looked pretty good. Got lucky a couple of times and thought he went down early on the 2nd goal exposing top corner but that was a perfect shot by Kennedy.

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