Better With Popcorn

Flyers Vs. Penguins ECQF Game 5: Another Shot At Elimination As Bryz Hurts

Now that the pressure of a sweep is off of the Philadelphia Flyers shoulders they should enter this game a little more loose mentally. Their poor play in Game 4 allowed the Pittsburgh Penguins to grab some life and try to chip their way through each minute, period and game to try to carve a path for a comeback. 

Is it time for Flyers fans to panic? Not just yet, but there is cause for concern resulting from the performance in the previous game. 


First, for whatever reason the Flyers could not muster up enough energy to finish off the floundering Penguins in front of their hometown crowd. This is not the biggest concern as they have bigger issues, like the poor play of Ilya Bryzgalov so far in this first round series. 


Coming into Game 4, Bryzgalov's goals against average was an un-impressive 4.00.The only thing that has not had him out in the spotlight like in the early second half of this season, has been the even worse play of All-Star goalie Marc-Andre Fluery. 


His poor play in the first three games (6.66 GAA), has shined the spotlight straight on the Flyers offense, which has not had an issue scoring until they entered Game 4. Scoring a total of 20 goals after three games and the undisciplined play of the Penguins has made more headlines than the spotty goaltending both clubs are receiving from the perspective net minders. 


As for Bryzgalov's play, he entered the series recovering from a cracked weight bearing bone in his foot, which raised questions to how he would be able to handle the pain.  


However, his foot may not be the only spot troubling him. It was being reported that Bryzgalov is questionable for Game 5 with a hip injury.


Flyers General Manager, Paul Holmgren has denied the rumors and has even gone as far to say that Bryzgalov will play in Game 5. Of course, we all know how the Flyers like to handle the divulgence of injuries and sometimes they decide not to reveal every piece of information.


The one thing that is clear is that in Game 4 something just did not seem right with Bryzgalov's confidence when challenging shots. It was noticeable in his lateral movement as it did not look as if he was digging in when he was pushing off to go post to post causing his lateral movements to be slow and non-fluent.


Going forward it looks as if Nicklas Grossmann has suffered a concussion and will almost certainly be out of the lineup for Game 5.  Losing the shutdown play Grossmann for any extended period of time will not be good for Bryzgalov, Sergei Bobrovsky, or the Flyers defensive corps. 


One more point on Bryzgalov from game four. Peter Laviolette pulled him from game four right after the fifth goal was scored with about 16 minutes and change to go in the second period. It was the perfect time to pull him as Laviolette was trying protect his confidence and inject change in the lineup as the team in front of Bryzgalov was engaging in the wrong end of a pond hockey game. 


Bryzgalov seemed as if he was not happy with the decision, as he skated to the bench, he did not give Sergei Bobrovsky a pad tap as he skated by to replace him. This is somewhat of a hockey tradition. After that he was seen walking towards the tunnel in disgust and when he arrived back at his place at the end of the bench he appeared distant, like his mind and thoughts were not in this universe. 


The Flyers will get another crack at eliminating the Penguins tonight, this time they will try to end it in hostile territory and possibly with their backup goaltender.





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