While the Philadelphia Flyers have a successful record halfway through the season, there are still things that need to be improved upon down the stretch -- namely, defense.
The Flyers are 26-13-4 heading into their 43rd game of the season. They have the offensive depth it takes to make them Stanley Cup contenders, but a team needs to be balanced throughout the entire roster to go all the way.
The struggles of Ilya Bryzgalov in net for the Flyers has been highly publicized.
He is not playing at the level expected of him.
However, the 128 goals allowed by the Flyers so far this season have not all been Bryzgalov’s responsibility. The defense has struggled, and struggled mightily in some cases.
Despite playing the first two periods of Thursday night’s 3-2 victory against the New York Islanders like a virtuoso, Bobrovsky lost his shutout only 22 seconds into the final period.
After stopping 22 consecutive shots that had him sprawling across the crease for two periods, it merely took a tap from Kyle Okoposo to end his perfect night. Then to pile it on, the Islanders snuck a second goal by him with only 15 seconds remaining in regulation.
Not that it mattered at that point, but it distorts what otherwise was a phenomenal night from the 23-year old goaltender.
That’s the most important point to take away from Thursday night. It doesn’t matter that Bobrovsky wasn’t flawless, what matters is that he looked exceptionally good.
It’s a standard that Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette holds all of his players to; the security of your play, not your contract, will determine how much playing time you will receive.
While Ilya Bryzgalov has more than enough security in his lucrative nine-year contract, he will (in all likelihood) be viewing tonight’s game against the New York Islanders from the bench rather than the goal crease.
Ilya Bryzgalov’s time in Philadelphia has been contentious to say the least.
Coming into town on the back of one of the most dramatic shakeups in team history (in addition to one of the largest contracts in league history), the 31-year old goaltender had a giant “X” on his back long before he ever wore an orange sweater.
For a franchise that has had inconsistency at the position since the late 1970s, Bryzgalov is expected to add stability to a role that has been lacking.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case thus far.
Matt Brigidi explains why there is no reason to worry about Bryzgalov
Only the Chicago Bears really understand what's going on in Philadelphia.
The National Football League's Bears have had 15 different starting quarterbacks since 1992. No other sports franchise recently has had one of the most important positions in its respective sport be in so much flux.
That is until the Philadelphia Flyers and their perennial problems in net get tossed into the discussion.
Since Ron Hextall was "the guy" in between the pipes, the goalie position has been a revolving door for the Flyers from 1999 until today. They are hopeful the big money they spent on Ilya Bryzgalov this off season finally pays off, putting a stopper on the door.
The alumni game this Saturday is a reminder of the Flyers lack of any consistent goaltending in the last 15 years.