Two Talented Goalies, Two Completely Different Seasons
This is a story of two goalies.
Both have performed exceptionally well in their NHL careers. Both have shined in the playoffs, although they have never raised a Cup. And both had something to prove once this season began – one for a new team, the other for his only.
Ilya Bryzgalov began the 2011-2012 season with the Philadelphia Flyers, his first with the squad. Carey Price was returning as the Montreal Canadiens’ starting goaltender after proving his worth over the past four seasons.
Though they both entered the season full of promise, only one looks to be playoff-bound.
Bryzgalov got off to a good start, earning the win in the Flyers’ first three games of the season and recording his first shutout in just two. The Flyers went 6-5 in the month of October – not a great month, but not a completely terrible one.
Price, on the other hand, had a rocky start. The Canadiens won only one in their first three games, and ended the month with a 4-7 record. Price was credited with the loss in six of those seven defeats.
As the season went on, both the Flyers and the Canadiens showed flashes of greatness: a seven-game win streak here (Flyers), a four-game win streak there (Canadiens).
Unfortunately for the Canadiens, they were never able to find much consistency. Even though the Flyers had difficult times, they were always able to bounce back, and it didn’t hurt when Ilya Bryzgalov switched into awesome mode.
Interestingly enough, Price and Bryzgalov share comparable stats on the season.
In 63 games this season, Price has gone 26-27-10 with a 2.42 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Bryzgalov has gone 31-14-7 in 55 games, with a 2.45 GAA and a save percentage of .911.
They’ll both be in net when the two teams face one another in Philadelphia on Saturday for the fourth and final matchup between them. Philadelphia leads the season series 2-1.
Since the Canadiens are in last place in the East, they don’t have much to play for these days. The Flyers, on the other hand, could clinch a playoff spot with a win, and are only five points behind division and conference-leading New York Rangers.
There are eight games left in the season – including three against division rivals – and they are all must-wins.
If the Flyers beat Montreal on Saturday to clinch their playoff spot, it can’t stop there. They will need to keep the momentum going and earn as many points as they can.
A few weeks ago, it may have seemed impossible for the Flyers to catch up to the Rangers. Now, clinching the division is no longer a reach – it’s a strong possibility.