Finally, Ilya Bryzgalov puts together a solid performance. Instead of taking advantage of their stellar goaltending, the Flyers leave a doughnut on the scoreboard against the 2nd worst team in the league, the Edmonton Oilers. This game left me feeling sick. I just don’t get how the hell we could lose this game. It just looked way too weird to even break down.
Throughout the whole game, it didn’t look like Edmonton had a system. They had a general set of instructions, and basically free-wheeled it. And it worked. I haven’t seen too many of their games, so maybe it’s that they have a really, really wide open system. Which would make sense given some of the young talent they have. As the game got started, it just looked like their plan was to let the skills guys just do whatever to create some chances. On one hand, it gave them some chances, but it also opened them up for some opportunities the other way. So after a few minutes, I was fairly convinced that the Flyers would be all over them and come away with a win. Unfortunately, the goals just never came!
As much credit as Devan Dubnyk deserves, I think Bryz was better. The difference was that the Flyers couldn’t put away their chances. Voracek should have scored after Schenn fed him in the middle and he deked out the ‘tender. Instead, the puck went off his stick and into the corner. Simmonds had a few shots blocked because he just couldn’t snap the puck fast enough. Plenty of other guys just couldn’t get to loose pucks in time to bury them. I can’t say they didn’t create chances, but they just didn’thave their usual flow. I don’t know what it was, but they just didn’t have it last night.
As for Bryz, I don’t blame him on either goal. The first one came from a shot that missed the net, banged off the boards, and came back out in front. If the Oilers weren’t screening him so well, maybe he would have gotten over to cover the post after the wide shot, before getting beat by basically a one-timer. The second goal came off a turnover. I know the puck went through him, but I say he did all he could given that Jordan Eberle is a really good player and he was shooting from close range. When a goal scorer is streaking down the middle, there’s not a ton a goalie can do. You do your best to get big and force the shooter to make the first move. Eberle shot, and Bryz just couldn’t knock it away. He gave us life up until the end, especially when he turned aside Horcoff’s penalty shot after he got a shorthanded breakaway.
It’s just so maddening that the much maligned goalie gives you exactly what you need, and you just can’t get the win. Especially now, when everyone in our division is passing us in the standings and starting to pull away. Everyone else was idle last night, so it was a good chance for us to make up some ground. That ship has sailed, anod now we move on to Calgary tomorrow night. Hopefully Bryz keeps it going, and the rest of the team picks it up for him.
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