Sunday, January 27, 2013
Bryzgalov settling in?
By Luke Lapinski
Ilya Bryzgalov is certainly one of the more outspoken players in the league. And the Russian netminder has become a lightning rod for criticism whenever his club struggles. But the Philadelphia Flyers have picked up two quick wins since stumbling out of the gate and Bryzgalov has been strong in goal for each. Is it possible he might be finding a bit of a comfort zone -- at least for the time being?
Over his last two outings, Bryzgalov has allowed just two goals on 50 shots. And a strong case could be made that he really wasn't all that bad in the team's trio of losses to start the season. Through five games, he's sporting a 2.22 goals against average and a .923 save percentage -- not bad numbers for a goalie at all, especially the way this season has begun for a lot of the big names between the pipes.
So does this mean the enigmatic netminder is locked in? That might be a little excessive, as he's shown in the past that a bad outing or two can quickly take him off his game. But he's at least been solid so far and hasn't gotten a ton of help from the defenders in front of him. The Flyers have a nice collection of offensive weapons up front, so it's not as if they need Bryzgalov to stand on his head and pitch a shutout every night. But if he can play most games -- so far he's started all five -- and just be above average between the pipes, Philadelphia could get back on track in a hurry.