The final thought, though, is how could Peter Laviolette possibly go back to $51 million man Ilya Bryzgalov tomorrow night in Nashville after Bobrovsky has carried the Flyers on his back for two straight nights? Last night, Bobrovsky was that good, stopping 33 of 35 shots on the way to his 10th win of the season.
"There's going to be stretches during the year when the goaltender is going to win you the game," Braydon Coburn said. "This was one of those nights. 'Bob' won us that game."
Bobrovsky (10-3-1) now has just six less wins than Bryzgalov in 14 fewer starts.
"He was terrific," Laviolette said. "I thought he looked really sharp, and stayed that way throughout the entire game. And he's been that way for his last 10 starts or so."
With the win, the Flyers closed the gap on the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers to just two points, though the Rangers have one game in-hand.
Bobrovsky's performance was strong from the get-go, when he stopped sharpshooter Michael Grabner on a penalty shot just 2 minutes, 49 seconds into the game.
It was Bobrovsky's first penalty shot save in four chances and the Flyers' first overall stop on a penalty shot since Dec. 2, 2008.
"Right from the start, I think he was just solid," Max Talbot said. "I don't think that was our best game, but the positive was that we got the two points. We were just not sharp."
Last night, the Flyers' shot total - 22 over three periods, with no more than nine in any frame - tied their lowest in a win this season. Coburn chalked up the lack of offense to turnovers and "being too cute" with the puck.
"It's been a little hesitant the last couple games," Laviolette said. "We're talking about tightening things up defensively . . . Sometimes when you do that, you lose your identity a little bit moving forward and pounding and pursuing."
Even getting pounded, Bobrovsky was sensational. But was it "Bob" or the brutal Islanders and Hurricanes? The Flyers have now won 23 of their last 24 games against the Islanders.
"I don't want to say it's been easy," Scott Hartnell said, "but some teams have other teams' numbers. When you have confidence coming into a building and a feeling you're going to win, it's a great feeling to have."
With 4:31 to play, Flyers forward Max Talbot was blindsided by Islanders defenseman Steve Staios when he turned around after receiving the puck along the boards.
Talbot, 27, was slow to get up and needed assistance getting to the bench. Video replay shows that Staios' first connection with Talbot was to the head. Staios could face supplementary discipline from NHL director of player safety Brendan Shanahan, who has been trying to cut down on hits to the head.
Talbot did finish the game but said afterward that he had no inkling the hit was coming.
"I had zero idea, none at all," Talbot said. "That's what we're trying to stop in the NHL, shots like that head shot. I had no time to react. I felt like the point of contact was my head. I didn't see the replay or anything, but from what I felt, it was a pretty dangerous hit. But we'll see what they say."
There was no penalty called on the play by either official, referees Francois St. Laurent or Steve Kozari, which riled up the Flyers bench.
"When I saw it live, I didn't like it," Laviolette said. "At the time, the observation [from the referees] was that it was a full-body contact."
Claude Giroux, who turned 24 yesterday, picked up his first point in four games with a first-period assist on Scott Hartnell's goal. He also won 73.7 percent of his faceoffs (14-for-19) . . . Zac Rinaldo was scratched for the second straight game in favor of Harry Zolnierczyk, who had the most hits (four) despite the least ice time (9:10).
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