Tag Archives: Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky Comes Up Huge For Flyers In Long Island

12 Jan

The legend of Sergei Bobrovsky was first introduced in Philadelphia when the Flyers signed him two years ago. Bob’s performance hasn’t always been worthy of the legend, but Thursday night on Long Island the goalie seemed, well, legendary. He was the difference as the Flyers got past the Islanders, 3-2.

Bobrovsky got his second consecutive win, coming off a 35-save winning performance over the Carolina Hurricanes. The 23-year-old has created somewhat of a goalie controversy with his play recently. He’s now played 10-3-1 on the year and has made appearances in 17 games; that’s probably more time off than Ilya Bryzgalov was expecting to have.

Early on Bobrovsky showed why Peter Laviolette’s move to go with the hot hand was a good one. Michael Grabner earned a penalty shot at 2:49 of the first period and went low on Bobrovsky, where the Russian had an answer with his blocker.

Bobrovsky saved all of the 12 shots he faced in the first period and the Flyers got him the lead when Scott Hartnell tipped in a Jaromir Jagr offering on the power play for his 19th goal of the season.

Wayne Simmonds added to the Flyers’ lead in the second period when he caught Evgeni Nabokov off guard and got the puck back to Kimmo Timonen. Timonen’s slapshot hit the back boards where it was left for Simmonds. The winger threw it on net, where it bounced off the skate of Nabokov who was still not settled properly, and it went in for his first goal in nine games.

In the third period, Sean Couturier made it three straight games with a goal, showing why he was selected to the Rookie All-Star game. He sniped a shot from the left wing on Nabokov.

It was a rare rush in Islander territory in the third period. Most of the play was in front of the crease of Bobrovsky. He allowed two goals in the final period. One was in close on Kyle Okposo. The other was in the final minute by John Tavares. Bobrovsky made 33 saves on the night to give the Flyers another road victory and another win over the Islanders.

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Flyers’ Lead Collapses As Rangers Take Winter Classic

2 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Everybody showed up. Even Mother Nature. But the Flyers left early and let the Rangers take the lead from them and eventually win the Winter Classic 3-2 at Citizens Bank Park.

When the game began, there was a lot of hesitation and understandably so with the unique surroundings. The Flyers had trouble with the Rangers so far this season, losing both of the first two games of the season. But after the first 20 minutes, the Flyers finally got the better of the Rangers thanks to disciplined play and strong forechecking. After outshooting the Rangers 12-8 in the first period, the nerves appeared to calm in the second stanza and finally the Flyers took the first lead of the year over New York.

With Brayden Schenn already playing a strong game, starting in the faceoff dot, his time finally came. He has dealt with three injuries already this season and finally his hard work paid off. He scored his first NHL goal at 12:26 of the second period.

Schenn won the faceoff back to Matt Carle. Trying to avoid the puck leaving the zone, Carle blindly threw the puck on net. It gave Henrik Lundqvist trouble and he gave up an uncharacteristically big rebound, which Schenn found for an easy tally.

“It’s a positive step, definitely,” said Schenn. “It seemed that every time I’d get a break, it wouldn’t go in. This one landed right on my stick and I was fortunate to get it in. I think I can use it as a positive step.”

It was the second time a Flyer had scored his first NHL goal in a Winter Classic. Danny Syvret accomplished the same feat at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic.

Two minutes later, the Flyers doubled their lead. Max Talbot found a streaking Claude Giroux. He had two defenders draped on him, but it didn’t matter. He deked around them, and Lundqvist, and went top shelf on the Rangers’ goalie.

At one point, it even started to snow. The stars looked aligned for the Flyers.

“Yeah, it was pretty cool,” said Giroux. “Obviously you want it to snow a little bit in the Winter Classic. It kind of reminds you of when you were a kid and it didn’t snow very much, but it did a little bit.”

“We felt great,” said Braydon Coburn. “We just wanted to keep applying pressure and get another one. We could feel like we had a little bit of momentum there and we just wanted to keep rolling.”

Instead, it backfired. The Flyers lost their lead. Less than a minute after Giroux’s goal, the first wheel came off. Mike Rupp found himself with the puck in the high slot and used Andrej Meszaros as a screen to beat Sergei Bobrovsky low glove side for his second goal of the season.

While the score looked good after two periods, the Flyers were without Jaromir Jagr. A left leg injury kept him from returning after his second shift of the second period. He returned only to take a seat at the end of the forwards’ section of the bench. Although he returned with the team for the third period, he didn’t play another second.

The meltdown continued in the third perod. Rupp scored again 2:41 into the third when he came in along the left wing and beat Bobrovsky on a puck that squeezed between the goalie and the post.

“We didn’t want to get behind and we did,” said Rupp. “I think it was another example of [why] I like our room. We don’t give up, we don’t hang our heads and we just kept working at it and chipping away.

“I think you could see at the end there, it became pretty difficult. The ice started to wear a little bit and we were just trying to flip pucks in and make it hard on them.”

The Rangers took the lead three minutes later when Giroux left his man, Brad Richards, and the Ranger forward put a rebound past an already beaten Bobrovsky to give the Rangers the lead. It was a familiar spot for the Flyers to be down to the Rangers and their comeback attempt wasn’t successful one.

Even though Ryan McDonagh gave the Flyers a chance by covering up the puck inside the crease for a penalty shot, the Flyers couldn’t convert with 19.6 seconds left. Rangers coach John Tortorella said the penalty shot call was “disgusting,” but it didn’t matter since Danny Briere couldn’t convert. He tried to go five-hole on Lundqvist and missed.

“He’s pretty good at breakaways and shootouts,” said Giroux. “He’s been doing it his whole career and at the same time, Lundqvist is pretty good too. He’s pretty big in his net. We can’t put ourselves in that situation, being down 3-2 with 20 seconds left. We’ve just gotta put it behind us now and learn from it.”

Flyers Back Bobrovsky For Winter Classic Start

1 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — They’re almost like polar opposites. Sergei Bobrovsky is calm and quiet. He rarely shows emotion, even if he’s on the wrong end of a blowout game. Ilya Bryzgalov, for better or worse, wears his heart on his sleeve.

With the entire hockey world watching, the Flyers will turn to Bobrovsky in the Winter Classic on Monday at 3 p.m. The team confirmed that Bobrovsky will start after Bryzgalov dramatically announced his benching following the team’s practice.

But Philadelphia is used to drama in the goal crease. There isn’t really any outrage over Bryzgalov starting the game. In fact, the Flyers were quick to credit Bobrovsky who quietly works behind the scenes.

“Talking with Bob last year when we were having our end-of-the-year meetings, he struggled at the end of the year and he knew it,” said Scott Hartnell. “I think he’s a little tired from playing 30 games to playing 50 or whatever he played. He said ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to get a goalie next year, but I want to be No. 1.’

“I think that’s given him fuel to work out every day after practice and when he gets a chance to play to be great. He deserves the start. He’s played great. I think it’s great to have healthy competition between the two.”

Hartnell isn’t alone.

“Credit to Bob. He works hard. He always stays late,” said Braydon Coburn. “He’s in unbelievable shape. People forget he was a rookie last year. The confidence I’ve seen him play with this year has been impressive. Good for him because he’s played well for us.”

This season, Bobrovsky is 8-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He was reluctant to talk about the opportunity to start in the Winter Classic, but his smile showed his interest.

“It doesn’t matter who starts because the most important thing is the result,” said Bobrovsky through a translator. “It’s a real game. It’s two points on the line, so it’ll be special, but the result is the most important thing.”

While Bobrovsky was talking about the seriousness of another regular season game, one against the Rangers who have beaten the Flyers twice already this year, Bryzgalov was caddy-corner in the dressing room, talking about what kind of tea he’ll be drinking from a thermos on the bench.

“It’ll be Earl Gray probably. Lemon, lots of sugar. Sweet. I hope I have enough for the whole game,” said Bryzgalov. “It’s supposed to be colder [on Monday], so we’ll see. I’ll probably make sure I have enough towels. I always wear long underwear and I usually wear lingerie too… what have you guys gotten from this conversation? Basically nothing, right?

“People don’t care how I feel. They want a show. They want entertainment. You remember Rome right? Antique Rome, the Roman Empire? What did the people want? Gladiators and bread. That’s all they wanted. The crowd hasn’t changed. It’s still the same. It’s going to be the same in the future.”

While Bryzgalov has certainly stolen the show this year, Bobrovsky hasn’t regressed at all after playing 54 games his rookie year. It can be a tough thing to do to take a seat in the back after spending most of the year in the driver’s position.

“I haven’t seen any of that from him,” said Coburn. “This guy probably is the last guy to leave from the practice rink every day. I know, because I’m usually the second to last.

“This guy works his butt off every day. He’s always out there keeping himself in shape and you can see the mental preparation he does before games. He’s kind of a little bit on an opposite to Bryz. He’s easygoing and Bryz is a personality.”

Bobrovsky did, however, admit it’s been tough.

“It’s not up to me,” he said. “It’s not my choice and there’s no other way. In comparison to playing every game, it is more difficult to be as confident and as prepared because I never know when I’ll start. There’s no rhythm for the preparation.”

Everyone will likely be a little thrown off by playing outdoors in the Winter Classic on Monday, so he won’t be alone in his awkward feeling. But he’ll be in there. Calm and quiet, Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes.

Flyers Not Concerned With Outspoken Bryzgalov

1 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Things were certainly different in Phoenix. There weren’t as many cameras and there was definitely no Winter Classic. So when Ilya Bryzgalov came east to one of the biggest hockey markets in the league, the Flyers knew they weren’t exactly getting the same goalie that played in Phoenix.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean they were expecting for him to announce, in dramatic fashion, that he had been benched for the Winter Classic, or say that he was “lost in the woods” in his first month as the Flyers’ starting goalie.

Through the first three months of the season, Bryzgalov posts a 14-8-3 record with a 3.01 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. His career average is a 2.57 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

“When Bryz gets in the net … he’s gotta earn it back,” said Scott Hartnell. “I don’t think it’s a No. 1, No. 2 thing. It could be 1A and 1B. But not he’s gotta realize he’s gotta get his job back.

“Obviously, Ilya is a tremendous goalie, but I think he’s had some bad luck the last couple of games and even though it’s the Winter Classic and the big game, it’s still two points in the standings. We want to get it, and if Bob’s our best chance right now for us to get the points, then we gotta go with him.”

There is certainly a case to be made that the Flyers’ expensive shiny new toy, one that cost $51 million across nine years, didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Some say he’s more interested in being an off-ice personality than a Vezina Trophy candidate.

“People doesn’t care how I feel, right? They wants the show, they wants the entertainment,” said Bryzgalov. “You remember the Rome, right? Antique Rome? Roman Empire. What they want? Gladiators and bread. That’s all they want. The crowds doesn’t change: They still the same. It’s going to be past 300 years ago again in the future. It’s going to be the same. It’s all the crowd needs.”

While he’s certainly put on a show, as evidenced by HBO’s “24/7,” the Flyers would probably rather he focus more on his play. The past few days in practice, he’s worked a little bit extra with goalie coach Jeff Reese. That’s who told Bryzgalov he would be taking in the Winter Classic from the bench and the goalie then relayed the message to the media, much to the chagrin of Peter Laviolette.

Still, those in charge say they aren’t worried about the mental status of Bryzgalov.

“It’s good that Ilya’s had a couple of days here to do a couple of extra things with Jeff, talk through some things, I think he’ll be better because of it,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “Am I worried about it? No. He’s seen Dr. Reese the last couple days.

“If Sergei [Bobrovsky]’s playing tomorrow, it can’t be a bad thing. He deserves to play. He’s played well. If Ilya was playing tomorrow, I’d think Ilya would have a good game too. I’m not concerned about who’s playing.”

“I’m not worried about Bryz,” said Danny Briere. “Bryz is a good goalie. He’s going to bounce back. He’s had some bad luck lately, but we all know he’s a good goalie. We’re going to need him down the stretch. We’re going to need him in the playoffs. I’m not worried at all.”

Laviolette, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to diagnose Bryzgalov’s mental status.

“You know, I’m not sure how to answer that question,” said the coach. “You can probably ask him that. I’m not sure. I think that’s more of a personal question, are you struggling. I can’t speak for him.”

The potential problem for the Flyers is when he speaks for himself.

Bryzgalov Says Team Is Better Without Him In Winter Classic

1 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Even when he’s not playing, Ilya Bryzgalov steals the spotlight. In front of all to see, the 31-year-old netminder announced to a locker room full of media members that when everyone is watching the Winter Classic on Monday, so will he. From the bench.

“I have great news and even better news,” said Bryzgalov. “OK, great news: I’m not playing tomorrow night. Good news: we have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

Perhaps it is his famous sense of humor. Maybe it was the HBO cameras, but many people didn’t believe him.

“No, I’m not playing, guys. I’m telling you, definitely,” said Bryzgalov. “Yeah it was written down. Actually my goalie coach, Jeff Reese, he tell me I’m not playing.”

Well, surely he has to be disappointed. The Flyers signed him to a nine-year, $51 million deal in the offseason. He was supposed to be the guy to lean on.

“Yes. I’m a human,” said Bryzgalov. “I’m not made from steel, but it is what it is and I had a good practice again like yesterday and two days ago. We just keep moving forward and lots of games in front of us. Lots of hockey. I heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this.”

So what will he do on Monday?

“Make sure I not forget in the morning my thermos, put some nice tea [in it] and enjoy the bench.”

That means that Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod. He has won two in a row and four of five. Bobrovsky has a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage as opposed to Bryzgalov’s 3.01 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. He was reluctant to talk about the Winter Classic, noting that no official announcement had been made by Peter Laviolette.

For the second-year player, it was a veteran move. Bryzgalov said he hadn’t spoken to Laviolette, but was willing to disclose he wasn’t playing.

“No, I didn’t see the reason why,” said Bryzgalov. “He’s the head coach. He makes these decisions and he’s responsible for the results. I can understand. He probably wants to put the best lineup he’s got for [the game].”

Laviolette wasn’t willing to let Bryzgalov’s diatribe be the official stance of the team.

“I’ve been consistent with how I’ve made the announcement of goaltenders,” said Laviolette. “I have not spoken to either goaltender yet and I have not announced anything yet. We plan on making an announcement later on today as to who the starter will be.”

So why would Bryzgalov say that he wasn’t playing?

“I don’t know,” said Laviolette. “I haven’t spoken to either one of the goaltenders. I plan on speaking to them after I get done with you guys and we plan on making an announcement before the game…sticking with company policy that we’ve had since I’ve been here.

“New year, same policy.”

Yeah, we’re early in 2012, so early the fireworks haven’t stopped yet.

Jagr, Talbot Laugh Last In Return To Pittsburgh

29 Dec

The most important thing was that the Flyers didn’t lose three in a row. It would have been the first time all season they had done so. But make no mistake about it — Peter Laviolette knew the game meant a little more to Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot. The former helped the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Penguins, keeping them undefeated in the Consol Energy Center.

Laviolette started the line of Jagr, Talbot and Claude Giroux for one ceremonial shift. That meant a return to Pittsburgh for Jagr and Talbot.

Once that line left the ice, the Flyers were behind the 8-ball. Tyler Kennedy found Jordan Staal at the right side of the Flyers’ net and he had a wide open net to shoot the puck into as starter Sergei Bobrovsky had already committed to Kennedy.

But the Flyers struck back. On the power play, Giroux found Kimmo Timonen at the point on a power play and the defenseman one-timed the puck over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the score.

In the second period, however, the big statement was made. With fans mercifully booing Jagr each time he touched the puck, he was given a drop pass from Scott Hartnell and carried in, danced between two defenders and backhanded a shot past Fleury. It was a classic Jagr goal, kind of like one of the 439 he had as a Penguin.

Jagr hunched over along the boards, as if to avoid the rain of boos, and made his trademarked salute, seemingly directed at a fan who gave him a salute of his own (although of the one-finger variety).

Second periods had given the Flyers trouble in recent games, but against the Penguins they won the period 2-0, making the most of their six shots on goal.

Matt Read added the second tally of the period, snapping a nine-game goalless drought when Sean Couturier, who returned to the lineup after a head injury kept him out four games, took a shot that bounced off the leg pad of Fleury and right in the slot for Read to bury.

In the third, Kennedy made it interesting with a blast over Bobrovsky’s glove side where there was precious space available. In the game’s final minute, Talbot tallied on an empty net for his 10th of the year, completing a storybook ending for the former Penguins.

Bobrovsky did his part as well, making 24 saves. His performance gives him a fourth career win over Pittsburgh and begs the question: Does he get the start in the Winter Classic?

For now, the Flyers will just focus on the fact that Jagr silenced some boos, they avoided a third straight loss, and put them in a tie with the Rangers for the first place in the division.

Sergei Bobrovsky Says He’s “Definitely Playing To Be No. 1”

26 Nov

NEW YORK — Signing Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to eliminate the phrase “goalie controversy” from the vocabulary in Philadelphia, but the way Sergei Bobrovsky has been playing recently is demanding ice time. That’s why Peter Laviolette said he played Bobrovsky in consecutive games on consecutive days.

“Just based on the way Bob played, I think he deserved to go back in there,” said Laivolette. “He didn’t get a lot of work [Friday] night. There weren’t a lot of chances at him. He was fresh and he came in and for two games in a row, five periods, he really gave us an opportunity to win a game and we did twice so it wasn’t really a hard decision.”

After declining to speak in English, Bobrovsky spoke through a Russian translator and said that he wasn’t surprised to get the call on Saturday, but announced his intentions moving forward.

“I’m definitely playing to be No. 1 and not sit on the bench and watch someone else play,” said the goalie. “I’m hoping I will be No. 1.”

Certainly, every player will say that he wants to be at his best and strive to be in the best position possible. But Bryzgalov, the $51-million man, is supposed to be the No. 1. These weren’t words that Bobrovsky minced in English. He spoke them in Russian.

Bobrovsky came on in relief of Bryzgalov on Wednesday against the Islanders, made 20 saves and got the win. He turned away 18 of 19 shots on Friday against Montreal at home. He made 30 saves against the Rangers on Saturday, but it still wasn’t enough as the Flyers were blanked 2-0. The 23-year-old was especially sharp in the first period when the Flyers struggled the most to get any kind of pressure on New York.

“Bob is doing well,” said Danny Briere. “He played well in New York [against the Islanders] and gave us a chance to win that game. He played well [on Friday] against Montreal, basically saved our butts in the first period.”

Bobrovsky is now 5-2-1 on the year. He had won two in a row coming into the game against the Rangers and Laviolette has the reputation of playing a goalie with the hot hand. That’s what he did on Saturday. In the short-term, it seems harmless that Bobrovsky got the start.

“Well, Bob played great for us the other night,” said Braydon Coburn. “I’m sure [Laviolette] just wanted to go with the hot goalie. Bob played a great game [Saturday] night.”

At the same time, the Flyers think that Bryzgalov, the 31-year-old veteran, is mature enough to take something like this in stride.

“He’s not 22 years old anymore,” said Briere. “He’s been around. He knows there are ups and downs over the course of a season and things are going to get back into place for him.”

Now if Bryzgalov doesn’t start the Flyers’ next game, one that’s five days away, well then the term “goalie controversy” might hold a lot more water.