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Goaltending Issues Lurk

The Philadelphia Flyers biggest weakness that will prevent them from winning the Stanley Cup was on full display this past weekend, and it’s their inability to find consistent goaltending success.

Bryz gives up another soft goal against New York, a bouncer right through the five-hole.

It certainly was not a super weekend by any standards for the Philadelphia Flyers. A loss on Saturday to the Devils revealed yet again the Flyers goaltender woes as Bobrovsky had another poor outing in goal, giving up six goals and then being pulled later in the game. Then, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, Ilya Bryzgalov gave up a couple of soft goals as they lost 5-2, the fourth time they have lost to the Rangers this season. Bryz, the Flyers’ $51 million man, did not come up with the big saves when he had to. Many times in hockey the game comes down to the man between the pipes. While the Flyers’ goaltending issues were obvious, the rival Rangers were able to show off their brilliant, All Star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, the best in the NHL.

The difference between the Flyers and the rest of their competitors in the East is that all the other top teams in the conference have dependable goalies. The Boston Bruins have Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the Pittsburgh Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury, and the Rangers have the aforementioned Lundqvist. To win in the playoffs you have to be able to stop high-powered offenses with good goaltending. This is evident as the Rangers got away with a win against the Flyers, and are continuing to expand the distance between teams in the standings.

In last year’s playoffs, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup because they shut down the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, and the Flyers because of their awesome goaltending from Thomas.

The Flyers almost won the 2010 Stanley Cup despite their goaltending failures, but the high-scoring Chicago Blackhawks were too talented to stop.

Philly scores the second-most goals per game in the NHL, but when the playoffs arrive and games become less about scoring and more about defense, the Flyers will struggle due to their goaltending problems. A perfect example was last year in the postseason, where the Flyers goalies gave up 38 goals in 11 games, potentially costing them a championship. Even with the signing of Bryz, things on Broad Street haven’t changed much.

The Flyers need Ilya Bryzgalov to return to his All-Star form he showed many times for the Phoenix Coyotes, because after signing a 9-year contract in the summer, he has to play better. Bobrovsky is not going to lead the Flyers past the second round of the playoffs, at least until he matures further.

The Flyers come right back at the end of the week with another matchup against the Rangers, another chance to obtain their first win of the season against a rival that has been eluding them. Currently, they are facing a crisis situation. If Ilya Bryzgalov does not fix his problems in goal, the Flyers are going to have a lot of big questions as they head towards the end of the season.

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Categories: Editorial, Flyers

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One Comment on “Goaltending Issues Lurk”

  1. Otis Baker
    February 8, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    bryzgalov needs to learn how to stop a breakaway

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