Thursday, February 11, 2016

Bryzgalov flubs, Flyers fall

Devils 3, Flyers 1

Bryzgalov flubs, Flyers fall

The Devils´ go-ahead goal snuck by Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the first period. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The Devils' go-ahead goal snuck by Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the first period. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

And so, this is how it ends, one of those only-in-Philadelphia nights. It is a story that we pass down through the hockey generations, like baldness. The Flyers lost a playoff series to the New Jersey Devils and this will be the enduring symbol from the final game:

Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, trying to shoot a puck away from the front of his net, away to safety, instead seeing the puck picked out of the air by Devils forward David Clarkson and ricocheting behind him and into the goal.

It was impossible, and it happened.

It was Cechmanek-esque, or burlesque.

More coverage
Video: Sam Carchidi on the Flyers' season-ending loss
Broad Street Bull: Will Jagr and Carle return?
Follow the Flyers: On your iPhone, Android phone
Flyers T-shirt: Fear the fist!
Latest Flyers videos
Phil Sheridan: A hard fall for the Flyers

It joins the pucks that impossibly sneaked in through John Vanbiesbrouck that year against Toronto, and the Roman Cechmanek meltdown against Buffalo, and the Cup-losing goal that somehow eluded Michael Leighton in 2010, and the dizzily-spinning carousel that was the three-goaltender situation in 2011.

When that goal happened Tuesday night, it was only the first period. The Flyers’ deficit was only 2-1. But as soon as everyone realized what had happened, and that the puck was in the net, it was obvious that another chapter in the endless municipal tragicomedy was being written.

The final score was Devils 3, Flyers 1. The series was over in five games. Pinning it on Bryzgalov would be more than unfair. At the same time, nobody is ever going to forget how that second one got behind him.

The truth is, he played well in the series overall. Really, he has played well since he allowed five goals on 18 shots in Game 4 of the Flyers’ first-round series against Pittsburgh. In the first four games against Pittsburgh, his save percentage was an awful .844. In the next six games, going into last night, his save percentage was a credible .909.

He was good enough for them to win games, but it was the strangest thing during the series. In the games where Bryzgalov was at his best, the team was timid in front of him. They could never get it synced up.

On Tuesday night, playing without suspending star Claude Giroux, the Flyers came out hitting everything. Zac Rinaldo was a human missile. The Flyers took another 1-0 lead, as they seem to do every night -- but they couldn’t hold either that lead or their early emotional edge.

Overall, they played a much better game than they did in Games 2, 3 or 4 of the series. They did not struggle nearly as much with either getting the puck out of their end or with keeping possession in the New Jersey end. It was a much more even game.

But they were playing from behind because of the goal that went bump in the night. They could never overcome the shock.

And so it will be told.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter