Remember when this season was supposed to be full of games that finished with the score of 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1 because of the offseason changes? This was supposed to be a Flyers team that thrived on playing physical defense with consistent goaltending (finally).
Remember how little was thought of the offense when the season started because the team’s leading goal scorer was sent to purgatory in Columbus and the captain was sent to lala land?
Remember when the only discussion from the media was how inconsistent the play of the goaltending was (again)? How could you forget, those were the types of conversations that were taking place just weeks ago when the Flyers were floundering games away.
Remember when the goalie finally shut everyone up (including himself), and started playing the way that everyone hoped he would? Well how could you, because that script is just beginning to write itself.
On Sunday night Bryzgalov turned out his most impressive performance since the two opening games of the year against Boston and New Jersey. His anticipation of where the puck was going to be was spot on and he finally looked like he was in good position to force shots into either his chest or his pads. There have been so many times this season where he leaves a good chunk of the net open and the shooter cashes in, yet on Sunday night he made you forget that those problems ever existed.
His performance couldn’t have come at a better time because the Flyers really needed to win back to back games to stop the rollercoaster ride that started back in late January and carried over through the entire month of February. They couldn’t afford to lose a game against a struggling Caps team that is playing like a group of individuals who can’t wait to hit the strip clubs; maybe that explains why Ovechkin is so pissed off this season. The hockey is getting in the way of the off ice activities. Either that or the Capitals are a team that just doesn’t give a fuck until they get into the playoffs because they have been there and done that in the regular season. Problem with that is come four weeks time they’ll be clearing out their lockers if they continue to play like this.
Look the Capitals are far from a bad team, they have the talent to contend for a cup, which is why they would be so dangerous if they squeaked in as an eight seed. In fact I think the Flyers should insist on making a banner that says Go Caps! Somewhere in the city because a Caps-Rangers first round series could very well be the first part of the perfect storm that the Flyers need to make the finals. Remember the 09-10 run? That happened because of three miracles; first the Flyers played the Devils, who they absolutely owned that year, then the Boston miracle happened, and the final miracle came in the form of the eighth seeded Montreal Canadiens. Philadelphia was the beneficiary of riding out the perfect storm.
This year the same type of storm is going to have to happen for the Flyers to reach the Stanley Cup. That is unless Bryzgalov continues to churn out performances like Sunday night. He said before that he plays better when he starts in consecutive games, so it is no coincidence that the eight straight starts have perhaps started the transformation back to the goaltender that anchored those playoff runs for Phoenix. God knows that he is going to have to be if the Flyers want to beat the Rangers, Bruins and Penguins in a seven game series, especially if Crosby can finally suit up for the end of the season/playoffs.
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