You remember Sergei Bobrovsky right? The 21 year old goaltender who led the Philadelphia Flyers to the postseason last year. He’s also the 21 year old goaltender who was benched just three games into last year’s postseason in a panic move by head coach Peter Laviolette. He’s now the 22 year old goaltender who started in the 2012 Winter Classic, but has played just once in the last 20 games. Well after tonight he will have started twice in the last 21 games.
The last time that Bobrovsky started in net was back on March 11th. That was the first game of a home-and-home against the New Jersey Devils. Bobs surrendered four goals on 31 shots in a 4-1 loss. He hasn’t seen the ice since then because Bryzgalov was able to get his swagger back. The confidence that we were supposed to see out of Bryz has finally showed up. You can see it in his facial expressions. When he makes a save there isn’t a look of, oh thank god I just did that, there is no expression. The icy look of Bryzgalov has frozen Bobrovsky to the bench.
That was until Bryz suffered a chipped bone in his right foot in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning this past Monday. That game was by far the worst Bryzgalov has played in over a month, but hey everyone is allowed to make a mistake here and there, also remember just how potent the Lightning offense can be. That wasn’t the concern after the game however, Tim Panaccio reported that Bryzgalov was limping rather badly after the game and would require x-rays.
The Flyers survived a death blow (if you get the Seinfeld reference bravo) when it was determined that Bryz wouldn’t need surgery and he could practice as soon as Friday and play as soon as Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. It all depends on how much pain Bryzgalov can tolerate, so even though the injury isn’t being described as that serious, there is still a bit of mystery surrounding it. One Flyers player who didn’t get so lucky with the injury bug is Kimmo Timonen. His back flared up during the game on Monday and he’ll be out tonight, thus giving Marc-Andre Bourdon a chance to return to the lineup.
Maybe the offense will feel pressured to play more aggressive with Bobs in net tonight. The young Russian goaltender has proven that he can be a starter in this league for an entire season, but the offense won’t have the same type of safety net that has protected them in the 13 games they’ve played this month. Remember earlier in the month when these two teams met the game went into a shootout with the score tied at 0. I highly doubt that the Flyers will be held scoreless by a freefalling Toronto team in regulation again.
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