Flyers Say Bryzgalov Was The Right Choice

13 Dec

WASHINGTON — Ilya Bryzgalov or Tomas Vokoun? That was the decision the Flyers were faced with in the offseason and they made their decision early on. Now, for the second time this season, they will meet. Vokoun won Round 1, a 5-2 decision on Oct. 20. Both are starting Tuesday night’s game as well and both are riding winning streaks into the Verizon Center.

They are separated by two wins, .06 goals-against average and, oh, say $8.5 million this season. The Flyers paid big money for Bryzgalov, a nine-year deal worth $51 million. Vokoun’s deal is a modest one-year deal worth $1.5 million. But the Flyers think they’ve made the right choice.

“He’s done a good job; he’s put together some [good games] in the month of December,” said Peter Laviolette. “We’ve moved up in the standings, which is what the ultimate goal is for this time of year, and he’s a big part of it.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Bryzgalov who had a stretch of five consecutive losses. But he’s rebounded and is now on a six-game winning streak.

“I think he’s shown a little bit more consistency,” said defenseman Matt Carle. “The goals that had been going in, there was nothing he could really do about them. Sometimes those are gonna happen. He’d like to have them back, those tap-ins sometimes that’s more on the defensemen. He’s done well.”

At one point, as has been well-documented, Bryzgalov was lost in the woods. He needed an iPhone compass to escape, but he has. After a brief “goalie rotation” as Laviolette called it, Bryzgalov is the bona fide No. 1 goalie that the Flyers paid top dollar for.

“You can see him putting in the extra time in practice,” said Carle. “Most times the starting goalie is not gonna be in the net when the power play is practicing. You see him, when we’re doing our power play practices, he’s down there in net trying to get better. It’s been good to see him playing well and the extra time he’s been putting in has been paying off, so it’s good.”

Bryzgalov will start his fifth-straight game on Tuesday. He’s won them all and is 13-5-2 on the season.

“I think it’s still early and there’s still room for improvement as a team,” noted Laviolette. “I think that confidence you get in front of your goaltender or you get with your linemates, I still think we’re still working on that as a group and we continue to get better at it. I think he’s done a good job, and he’s gotten some very important wins in the month of December.”

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