One might look at the low score of this game and think that it was boring. They would be dead wrong. This game was one of the most entertaining games this year. It was filled with vicious checks and insanely good goaltending. It was the fifth straight win by the Flyers and the third shutout in four games by Ilya Bryzgalov.
It was a desperate game for the Toronto Maple Leafs who are on the outside looking in for the playoff picture, but the Flyers have been playing on the top of their game lately with much of the credit going to the goaltending. It was Bryz’s eleventh straight game and it will probably be a given that he will play against the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night in a critical game.
The game basically featured back and forth, yet short lived action by both teams. The Maple Leafs had most of the scoring chances throughout but once again the Flyers defense stepped up in the absence of Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina. They blocked almost everything sent their way. Lilja probably had one of his best games blocking six shots. Nick Grossmann continued his physically dominance, something that hasn’t been seen since the loss of Chris Pronger. While he is no Prongs, he gets the job done and without a doubt adds the exact kind of mean and dominating d-man the Flyers have missed.
Ilya Bryzgalov saw everything sent his way. He seems to be in tune with his defensemen who are allowing him to see everything, especially from the point. In the last four games Bryz has had three shutouts and has made 128 saves on 130 shots which equates to a .985 save percentage. Tonight he saved 29 out of 29. This is exactly what the Flyers hoped for when they traded in the off season to bring him in. Many Flyers fans including Flyers 101 questioned if he would come out of his slump. Many had no hope in him, but Bryzgalov has effectively silenced his doubters and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This was his best game as a Flyer.
Of course we can’t forget to mention how game was decided. The game went into a shootout where Bryz was a mountain in net, confidently stopping all three shooters. On the last Flyers attempt, Claude Giroux skated his way in on net. What followed can not be respectfully described through words but only by actually seeing. We at Flyers 101 will try out best. He brought the puck in and performed a carbon copy Datsyuk dangle. He made such an extreme toe-drag maneuver it looked like he was going to be unable to get a shot off, but he did. Giroux faked Gustavsson completely to the other side of the net a roofed the puck top-shelf.
This was a truly awesome game. It was another great team win with outstanding individual performances by Giroux’s shootout goal to Bryz’s fourth shutout this season. They will look to bring the momentum from this win into Newark tomorrow when the face their division rivals the New Jersey Devils.
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