RALEIGH, N.C. – We detailed in today’s paper how Ilya Bryzgalov has found his game again.
Bryzgalov has allowed just 9 goals in his last 5 starts, posting a 4-0-1 record since he said his game was “lost in the woods” back on Oct. 27.
So, after topping the Panthers on Sunday night in Sunrise, Fla., does Bryzgalov go back in the net tonight as the Flyers try for two in a row against the Hurricanes? Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has a tough decision on his hands.
On one hand, Sergei Bobrovsky – who has performed admirably with a 2-0-1 record and .883 save percentage in his 4 starts – needs to play games in order to shepherd his development as a young goaltender. As it stands now, Bobrovsky is on pace to make 20 starts, with Bryzgalov shouldering about 76.2 percent of the 82-game workload.
On the other hand, Bryzgalov has been lights out as of late.
And starting back-to-back games (even with travel in between) is nothing new for Bryzgalov. He did it 7 times last year alone for Phoenix, posting a 3-4-0 record along the way.
Does Laviolette stick with the hot hand? Or does he give Bryzgalov a rest?
Yes, it is a long season. For our money, we’d like to see how the $51 million man responds in a tough situation. He has a little bit of help in the fact that Sunday’s start time in Florida was 5 o’clock and the Flyers landed in Raleigh, N.C., just after 11 o’clock, more than 3 hours before their normal arrival time after a game.
And looking at Bryzgalov’s back-to-back numbers last year, his save percentage (.883) is identical to what Bobrovsky has played at this season.
There are a lot of things to juggle in the process, like how Bryzgalov is feeling the day after a game and even career numbers against the Hurricanes. The latter would also point to Bryzgalov starting, as Bobrovsky was yanked from both of his starts against Carolina last season.
Laviolette will not announce a decision until just before puck drop, as the Flyers do not have a morning skate today at the RBC Center. But it sure will be interesting.
Bryzgalov in back-to-backs (2010-11 w/ Phoenix), with save percentage:
Oct. 9 vs. Boston (W) .952 – in Prague, Czech Republic
Oct. 10 vs. Boston (L) .919 – in Prague, Czech Republic
Nov. 12 vs. Calgary (W) .886
Nov. 13 vs. St. Louis (W) .921
Dec. 28 vs. Anaheim (L) .875
Dec. 29 vs. Los Angeles (W) .885
Jan. 17 vs. San Jose (L) .914
Jan. 18 vs. Nashville (L) .762
Jan. 25 vs. Edmonton (L) .886
Jan. 26 at Colorado (W) .935
Feb. 1 at San Jose (L) .892
Feb. 2 vs. Vancouver (L) .839
April 8 vs. San Jose (W) .889
April 9 at San Jose (L) .919
Record in second game: 3-4-0
Save percentage in second game: .883
P.K. PERFECTION: The Flyers’ penalty kill has been superb as of late, slowing climbing up to 12th in the NHL (85.9 percent) after a sluggish start to the season with a few bad bounces.
They have allowed just one power play goal against, when Tampa Bay solved Bryzgalov in the third period to knot the game last Wednesday.
Overall, the Flyers are 25-for-26 on the PK since Oct. 27, following last night’s 6-for-6 performance against a Florida power play that is 4th in the NHL (21.5 percent).
Sean Couturier played 5:27 of his total 13:06 ice time on the ‘kill. Couturier, 18, continues to lead all rookies in shorthanded time on ice. He is ranked 9th overall in the NHL with a plus-9 rating.
19 YEARS AGO TODAY… Current Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen lifted the Flyers to a 4-3 overtime win in Montreal just 48 seconds into the extra session (Nov. 14, 1992). Did you know that Dineen’s staff in Florida is filled with Flyers connections? Dineen was the Flyers’ 10th captain in team history. His assistants are Gord Murphy (played 261 games for Flyers) and Craig Ramsay (Flyers’ coach 1999-2000).
CAROLINA BARBEQUE: The Hurricanes have been the Flyers’ favorite opponent over the past few years, as they have collected points in 18 of their last 19 games (16-1-3) against Carolina.
JAGR BOMB: Jaromir Jagr, whose line has gone two straight games without a point, has 101 points in 70 career games against the Hartford/Carolina franchise. He scored twice in the Flyers' 5-1 win over Carolina on Oct. 29.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers