Better With Popcorn

Gone Streaking: Bryz extends shutout streak to three

As the final horn sounded at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, it marked a milestone moment.

For Ilya Bryzgalov, the 3-0 shutout victory over the New Jersey Devils marked the third time in as many starts that he had held an opponent scoreless.

He has now gone 196:13 minutes without allowing a goal.

It is the third longest streak in the team’s history.

“I’ve been around a long time,” Flyers alternate captain Daniel Briere said after the game. “I’ve played with goalies that have been on hot streaks. I can’t remember being part of three straight shutouts though.”

While the streak is an impressive accomplishment for Bryzgalov, it is also an honor for the franchise as a whole.

Bryzgalov tied a Flyers record with the shutout, joining John Vanbiesbrouck as the only other goaltender in franchise history to record three consecutive shutouts. 

In a way, it’s a monkey off the back of an organization who has had goalie problems for over a decade.

Either way, Bryzgalov’s recent success has allowed fans to breathe a sigh of relief over the thought of leaving the dark age of goaltender woes behind.

If anything, they’re thinking about the prospects of a golden age to come.

With his ability to smoother every puck that comes his way, a new found creativity that has allowed him to make saves without a stick, and strong positional play, Bryzgalov has begun to fill the role of ‘shutdown goaltender’, a brand of player that has eluded the team for years.

While Bryzgalov’s solid play has made it a nightmare for opponents to light the lamp, the players in front of him must be given credit as well.

After a poor showing in the game on Sunday against the Devils, the team defense regained their form on Tuesday night.

Blocking only three shots in the previous game, the group banded together and made it difficult for the Devils to get pucks to the net blocking a total of 15 shots.

In addition, the Flyers registered 32 hits that helped slow down New Jersey’s attack making it difficult to gain speed through the neutral zone.

The team is well aware of the streak and hopes to keep it going for Bryzgalov.

"Yeah for sure,” Jakub Voracek said when asked of the streak. “We're playing good defensively for him.  Hopefully it's going to last longer."

Ultimately, the streak is going to come to an end.

Whether it’s this week or the week after that, one of the Flyers opponents is going to eventually score a goal.

While there is no fighting the inevitable, the streak has been a cathartic release for everyone involved.

After early season struggles, Bryzgalov now has a clearly defined accomplishment that displays his potential.

The fans have an event that calms their nerves about the huge investment in Bryzgalov.

Most importantly, the team can be assured that their goaltender isn’t going to let them down.

“There was a point blank shot in the third period and it looked like nothing,” Briere said. “To us on the bench, this is a huge play, it’s a huge chance for them [. . .] he makes all of us look better playing that way.”

Consistent play from Bryzgalov is a necessity if the Flyers hope to put together an extended run in the postseason.

After some shaky starts for most of the year, it appears as though Bryzgalov is out of the worst of it.

“He's playing very well the whole month of March,” Voracek said. “Like I said it's only about the timing. He's getting good playing in before the playoffs."

Ultimately the team will go as he goes.

With four shutouts in his last five games, apparently Bryzgalov is going in the right direction.


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