Bryzgalov comes through for Flyers in shootout

As the Flames flickered, Matt Read and the Flyers roared back. Above, the rookie is mobbed after his shootout conversion.
As the Flames flickered, Matt Read and the Flyers roared back. Above, the rookie is mobbed after his shootout conversion. (JEFF McINTOSH / The Canadian Press)
Posted: February 27, 2012

SAN JOSE, Calif. - After a shaky beginning Saturday night, Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers' much-maligned goalie, took a step toward regaining his mojo.

Bryzgalov stopped four of five shots in the shootout as the Flyers stunned Calgary, 5-4, for their second dramatic comeback victory in their last three games.

"It's going to be a big boost for him," goalie coach Jeff Reese said after the Flyers overcame a 3-0 deficit. "And the guys were really resilient and found a way to win."

Bryzgalov allowed two rather weak goals in the first 5 minutes, 17 seconds - including a partially fanned shot by Matt Stajan that CBC Television clocked at 41 m.p.h. - as the Flyers fell into a quick 2-0 hole.

But the goalie steadied himself the rest of the way and was superb in the dreaded and, for the Flyers, usually fatal shootout.

"He battled through it and was able to put it behind him," Reese said of Bryzgalov's early troubles.

In the shootout, Bryzgalov stopped Ollie Jokinen, Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla, and Curtis Glencross. The Flyers own a 2-5 record in shootouts this season and a 21-39 mark in franchise history.

"He was very patient in the shootout," Reese said. "You look at Iginla, he came in really slow and tried to make 17 moves - and [Bryzgalov] just waited, waited, waited. And that's what you have to do as a goaltender - be very patient and wait for the shooter to make his move. I'm happy for him, but, again, give our whole team credit for being very resilient."

After the game, for reasons known only to himself, Bryzgalov - who entered the night with just three saves on 10 shootouts shots this season - refused to talk to the media for the second straight game. (The NHL could hand out a fine.)

Maybe the 31-year-old goalie feels he has been mistreated. Or maybe he thinks staying silent will improve his focus.

As for the comeback, it culminated with Matt Read's winning tally in the shootout. Scott Hartnell keyed the pre-shootout rally with his 29th and 30th goals, tying his career-high in a season. The Flyers also got a brilliant all-around effort from Claude Giroux (two assists), who kept the shootout alive by scoring on his team's third attempt.

Newly acquired defensemen Pavel Kubina (five blocked shots) and Nick Grossman (two assists) also played major roles. Grossman had the first two-point game of his career.

"A character win," said Grossman, whose team faced a 3-0 deficit before Jakub Voracek and Braydon Coburn scored in the final 4:13 of the second period. Coburn's point shot was saved by Miikka Kiprusoff, but the rebound caromed off Calgary defenseman Scott Hannan and into the net.

The Flyers also rallied in the first game of the trip, scoring a 5-4 overtime win in Winnipeg on Tuesday. In that game, Wayne Simmonds tied it with 9.7 seconds left in regulation, and Jaromir Jagr won it with 44 seconds remaining in overtime.

Saturday marked the third time this season the Flyers won after overcoming a 3-0 deficit. They did it in Anaheim on Dec. 2 and in Buffalo on Dec. 7. The Flyers hadn't won three games that way in a season since 1991-92, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Breakaways. The trade deadline is Monday, and the Flyers are not expected to do much, if anything, multiple club sources said. . . . The Flyers, who avoided slipping into sixth place in the East, conclude their four-game trip in San Jose on Tuesday. . . . Read is 1 for 3 in shootouts this season and in his career. . . . The Flyers fired 82 shots (45 on goal), while Calgary managed 54 (21 on goal). . . . The Flyers have had 35 or more shots on goal in seven of their last 11 games.

Contact Sam Carchidi at,

or @BroadStBull on Twitter.


comments powered by Disqus