Flyers Notes: Laviolette: Struggles not goalie's fault

Posted: March 16, 2013

Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled recently, but coach Peter Laviolette doesn't pin the blame on the 32-year-old goaltender.

"We definitely need to play better in front of Bryz," Laviolette said before the Flyers faced the New Jersey Devils on Friday night  - and before Bryzgalov gave one of his best performances of the season.

The defense was better than it has been, and Bryzgalov was brilliant. He made 27 saves and allowed just one goal in three shootout attempts as the Flyers outlasted the Devils, 2-1.

"He got us the two points," Max Talbot said.  

Bryzgalov, who had a 3.42 goals-against average and .873 save percentage in six March games before Friday, started for the 27th time in 29 games.

"I don't think he's fatigued. We're trying to give him time off, days off, and if he wants a morning off or a practice off," Laviolette said. "I know that's not a game off, but unfortunately, we're not in a situation or a position" to rest him.

"Every game is so important right now that it's almost like a playoff game every night, so he's got to play," said Jeff Reese, the Flyers' goaltending coach. "He gives us our best chance to win."

The Flyers will play just one game - Monday in Tampa Bay - in the next eight days.

Reese said playing lots of games is more of a "mental grind" than a physical one for a goalie, and "he's fighting through it, and he says he's ready. He loves to play."

Slump-ridden

Several Flyers entered Friday in prolonged goalless streaks, including Ruslan Fedotenko (23 games), Sean Couturier (20), Danny Briere (11), and Brayden Schenn (eight).

Matt Read began Friday goalless in his last five games, including four straight since he returned from a rib injury; he was minus-4 and pointless since his return.

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