Despite Struggles, Flyers Still Back Bryzgalov

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It would have been a nice game if it stopped six minutes earlier. Ilya Bryzgalov had made a few real big saves to keep the Flyers in position to win. They had scored three goals in 4:20 to erase Chicago’s lead and give themselves one of their own.

Then it happened. Brent Seabrook took a Marc-Andre Bourdon slapshot that went off the post the other way and put it behind Bryzgalov. Then 25 seconds later Patrick Kane tied the game from point-blank range.

Luckily for Bryzgalov, James van Riemsdyk came up “humongous big” with the game winning goal in the final 32 seconds.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him obviously to come out and have a good game,” said Scott Hartnell. “Some weird plays. You leave Kane in the middle of the slot for what seemed like 10 seconds and you got the puck. A couple stickhandles and it goes right under the bar and in.”

Bryzgalov made 30 saves in his first win since Dec. 13 in Washington. He had lost his last four games and was benched for the Winter Classic.

“The second goal was tough,” said Peter Laviolette. “Kimmo [Timonen] was trying to get to the guy and they accidently hooked up with each other. That was a tough one. The fourth one, the coverage that we had wasn’t very good out there. We were reeling. I wished I had my timeout in my pocket so we could have slowed it down after the third goal, but I’d already burned it.

“He made big saves when we needed him to make big saves.”

Despite the rough stretch, his teammates have his back and think this could be the start of him bouncing back.

“I believe myself that he’s gonna be the goalie that leads us to a Stanley Cup victory,” said Hartnell.

Bryzgalov was not available for comment after the game. A team spokesman said that he was feeling ill and didn’t want to talk to the media. But at 10:45 p.m. he was well enough to tweet about the World Junior Championship where Russia lost 1-0 in overtime to Sweden.

His tweet praised Andrei Makarov, the Russian netminder who came up with the loss. Bryzgalov got his first win in almost a month, but apparently didn’t want to talk about that.

 

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