Bob Bryz 2

Are Philly’s playoff goaltending problems back? Did they ever really leave?

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Here, now, are Philly’s goaltending numbers through four games of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ilya Bryzgalov: 4.95 GAA, .844 save percentage.

Sergei Bobrovsky: 8.11 GAA, .722 save percentage.

Yet through Games 1-3, those weren’t of major consequence to Philadelphia…because the Flyers were winning. Bryzgalov had allowed three, five and four goals in his first three starts, but they were mitigated by the guys in front of him (who scored four, eight and eight respectively.)

Philly thrived playing old school, fire wagon, last-goal-wins kind of stuff, reminiscent of the 1980s style of hockey where it was cool if the goalie surrendered five…so long as his team scored six.

But last night, Pittsburgh flipped the script.

Bryzgalov — then Bobrovsky — were torched in identical fashion during the 10-3 loss. Both allowed five goals on 13 shots (finishing with .722 save percentages) and both looked shaky on a number of occasions.

Bryzgalov’s rebound control came into question on Evgeni Malkin’s opening tally:

Later, his lateral post-to-post movement was scrutinized on tallies from Matt Niskanen and Kris Letang (the latter being Bryzgalov’s final goal allowed.)

Bobrovsky was no better but, by the time he entered the contest, things had deteriorated to a shooting gallery at the local carnival.

Following the game, the Flyers defended their netminders. Head coach Peter Laviolette said “Our team needs to be better,” while Claude Giroux insisted he wasn’t worried about the goaltending.

But there’s no way Philadelphia’s 100 percent comfortable with the current situation, especially with the memories of last postseason still fresh. In 2010-11, Bobrovsky, Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher all saw action during the Flyers’ 11-game run — and they all finished with sub-.905 save percentages (not one posted a goals-against average under three.)

Now, the goaltending numbers are actually worse and there’s been nothing to suggest they’ll get better. When asked to sum up the totality of Bryzgalov’s work thus far, Laviolette had this to say:

“I said it before about Bryz. The first few games in Pittsburgh, he made spectacular saves. But when you put it cumulative together and tie everything together, it makes it a little more difficult to answer [if I’m satisfied with goaltending] with a yes or a no.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, that.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.