MONTREAL – Ilya Bryzgalov could barely hide his excitement.
On Monday night against Toronto, Bryzgalov enjoyed his second night off among the Flyers’ first 8 games of the season.
“I love days off,” Bryzgalov said. “Who doesn’t?”
“It’s a pretty boring life … for everybody. For you [media] guys, for us. You go and do the same thing. Practice, game. Practice, game. Practice, game, sleep, practice, game.”
For Bryzgalov, still developing the lay of the land in Philadelphia, the day off was not just a chance to relax in the early stages of what will be a long season. It was also a chance to watch fellow Russian Sergei Bobrovsky and re-evaluate his game after what hasn’t exactly been the picturesque start he was looking for with his new team.
Yes, Bryzgalov is 3-2-1. But after starting with back-to-back wins (including one shutout) against Boston and New Jersey, he has allowed 16 goals on just 119 shots – which is a save percentage of just .865.
Those aren’t exactly stellar numbers, even if you discount for the fact that the Flyers got caught with some bad bounces, including the game against Washington where three goals were scored off of deflections from their own sticks.
“Sometimes, it’s good [to watch],” Bryzgalov said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take it to find yourself. See the game from this side, realize what’s going on. Maybe you did something wrong or something needs to be done [differently].”
Bryzgalov is hoping to bounce back tonight in Montreal, which is the start of back-to-back games for the Flyers, as they face Winnipeg at home on Thursday. He said he wasn’t opposed to start both games in the set, one of the Flyers’ 13 back-to-back sets of the season.
“[My play] is obviously unacceptable,” Bryzgalov said. “I think I need to elevate my game [to] speed a little bit. That’s the main thing I think about. Obviously you’ve got to be a little bit more lucky. You see like every game [so far] you give up so many goals with the bad luck. I don’t know, you continue to work hard and your luck will change.”
PANIC IN MONTREAL: So, just how bad are things for the Canadiens (1-5-2), who are dead last in the Eastern Conference?
It’s been 70 years of steeped tradition since the Canadiens went through the first 8 games of the season without picking up at least two wins. They have now lost six straight.
Few big-name acquisitions have a bigger disappointment in their new home than Montreal’s Erik Cole, who signed a four-year deal worth $18 million with the Canadiens in the offseason. He has just 1 goal and 1 assist in 8 games.
Cole didn’t even know he scored his first goal as a Canadien during Monday night’s 2-1 loss to the visiting Florida Panthers.
“Oh,” Cole shrugged in an interview with the Montreal Gazette when informed. “I guess it really doesn’t matter. The result’s the same.”
Oh, and if it couldn’t get any worse, leading scorer Max Pacioretty is out tonight with a wrist injury. Fellow American Aaron Palushaj has been called-up in his place.
It’s bound to get worse for the Canadiens, who are very thin on offense and defense, if they continue to ask miracle worker Carey Price to play like St. Carey every night at the Bell Centre.
TONIGHT’S LINEUPS: Both are subject to change. Some lines and pairings are an educated guess. Tough to tell exactly what the Flyers will do after only half the team practiced on Tuesday.
Hartnell – Giroux – Jagr
Schenn – Briere – Simmonds
Van Riemsdyk – Read – Voracek
Nodl – Couturier - Talbot
Coburn – Meszaros
Carle - Lilja
Timonen – Walker
Scratches: Shelley (healthy), Pronger (eye).
Moen - Plekanec - Gionta
Cammalleri - Desharnais - Cole
Kostitsyn - Eller - Palushaj
Darche - Nokelainen - Blunden
Gorges – Subban
Spacek – Weber
Gill – Diaz
Scratches: Gomez (upper-body), Markov (right knee), Chris Campoli (leg), Pacioretty (wrist, game-time decision), Emelin (healthy).
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers