A key ingredient to a Stanley Cup winning team is superb goaltending. Do the Philadelphia Flyers have that? Honestly, the jury is still out.
Ilya Bryzgalov left something to be desired for most of the Flyers’ series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it would also be unfair to hold him fully responsible for his 3.89 GA and .871 save percentage in the playoffs. The Penguins have an absurd number of gifted scorers and defense didn’t seem to be the primary focus of either team for the better part of the series.
Still, the Penguins are gone and Bryzgalov did play an important role in that, particularly in Game 6. Now he needs to show he can lead the Flyers through what is likely to be a more conservatively played series where goals will be at a greater premium and each mistake by a goaltender will be more heavily felt.
“We’re going to live and die by Bryz,” Scott Hartnell said. “If he plays anything like he did (in Game 6) throughout this next round, we’re going to keep moving on.”
One thing we’ve seen is that Bryzgalov doesn’t have many equals when he’s playing at his best. If Game 6 was the start of another hot streak, then whichever team ends up facing them in the next round should be very nervous. Conversely, if he remains inconsistent, then Philadelphia will have a hard time making it further than they did in 2010-11.