Monday, February 8, 2016

Despite pounding, Flyers' Bryz needs to play Sat.; Reese says swagger is back


Despite pounding, Flyers' Bryz needs to play Sat.; Reese says swagger is back



The Flyers did not practice Friday, but had a team meeting. Goalie coach Jeff Reese had a long one-on-one with Bryzgalov.

“He felt great today. He came in with his swagger and it’s important that his teammates saw him come in like that," Reese said. "He was joking around and laughing and I think that was very important. He’s going to turn this around, no question.”

In a roundabout way, Reese said Bryzgalov will be back in the nets on Saturday.

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For the first time in the franchise’s history, the Flyers scored eight goals in a LOSING effort.

It happened Thursday in a wild, pond-like game in which they lost to the Winnipeg Jets, 9-8, before a stunned crowd at the Wels Fargo Center.

The franchise’s previous high for goals scored in a loss was seven _ 9-7 at Hartford in 1984, and 8-7 vs. visiting Tampa Bay last year.

Incredibly, the Flyers fired 84 shots (48 on net, 19 blocked, 17 missed) and still lost. Winnipeg fired 43 shots (25 on net, 11 blocked, seven missed).

Afterward, goalie Ilya Bryzgalov blamed himself for the loss. Bryzgalov was awful in a relief role (four goals on 10 shots), but his timid defense was even worse, repeatedly failing to clear the front of the net.

“You win as a team, you lose as a team,” said winger James van Riemsdyk, who scored two goals and took 14 shots, including nine on goal. “You can’t ever put it on just one guy. We have to be better in front of him. There were a lot of tips and point-blank chances that we have to cut down and make his job a little easier.”

That’s similar to what the players were saying after Wednesday’s 5-1 loss in Montreal.

In his last four appearances, Bryzgalov has a 5.05 GAA and .802 save percentage.

“I’m lost in the woods,” Bryzgalov said, calling it the worst stretch in his career and apologizing to the fans and his teammates. “I have zero confidence in myself now. I am terrible.”

From here, Bryzgalov needs to get right back on the horse. Put him back in there Saturday against visiting Carolina and allow him to work on a new chapter.

Maybe the fact he cleared the air will allow Bryzgalov to relax, regain his focus and start to resemble the elite goalie who played in Phoenix.


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