It seems the Philadelphia Flyers have adopted the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra when it comes to goaltending as Ilya Bryzgalov will make his 19th start in the last 20 games tonight against Tampa Bay.
“He’s played extremely well this month,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told NHL.com, explaining why Bryzgalov got the nod. “He’s a big reason why we’ve been able to push up the standings. Our team needs that.
“Teams at the top of the conference are usually led by their goaltender and he’s been excellent this month.”
Bryz has been outstanding in March, posting a 10-1-1 record with a 1.22 GAA and .956 save percentage. He’s recorded four shutouts and come up huge in key games — most notably, a 38-save effort in a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh and a 30-save performance in a 2-1 win over Washington last Thursday (in which he made the game-saving shootout stop on Troy Brouwer.)
The 31-year-old Russian has also allowed two or fewer goals in 11 consecutive starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the first Flyers goalie to accomplish that feat since Bernie Parent did it in 1974-75.
Of note, the Flyers went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, defeating Buffalo in six games.