Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 10/29/14

DENVER - NOVEMBER 04: Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes looks on during a break in the action against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on November 4, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

As the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins shifts back to the Consol Energy Center for tonight’s game, the pressure to come out and finish the series off intensifies for the Flyers.

After a demoralizing 10-3 loss the other night that saw coach Peter Laviolette yank Ilya Bryzgalov, the talk in the city has focused on what to do about the goaltender. Sound familiar?

Ironically, the Flyers called up some reserves on Tuesday. Among them was the man who authored an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. That man, Michael Leighton, has been largely forgotten about for the past two seasons, except for his appearance in the playoffs last year. Will Michael Leighton come into play this season? Not very likely.

What about Bob? Sergei Bobrovsky was once thought of as the goalie of the future here. After Wednesday night, he is just another horse on the goalie-go-round that has been Flyers hockey for the past 15 years. He won’t be the guy either.

In this installment of Who’s the Goalie, the answer is a definite one. At least you can say that this year. In the past it seemed like decisions on who would start in goal were made with a dartboard. Yes, Ilya Bryzgalov will be the man between the pipes whether you like him or you don’t. The Flyers have invested $51 million and 9 years into this man, and I can assure you that they won’t pull the plug on him just yet. In essence, they can’t. Barring injury, of course.

The questions surrounding Bryz are many. His performance in this playoff series has been a far cry from what he was in March, and there is a nervousness in the air.

You can’t forget that Bryzgalov is playing with a chip fracture in his right foot. Judging by his slowness in moving from side-to-side on Wednesday night, it may be bothering him more than he and the Flyers are willing to admit. Add to that a report from Howard Eskin that said Bryzgalov sustained a hip injury in Game 4, and there is genuine cause for alarm.

The Flyers refuted the Eskin story, but let’s not forget that they have not always been the most forthcoming when it comes to injury. In hockey, you give no advantage to your opponent. Admitting injury is admitting weakness. The Flyers will do neither.

It is a major concern.

It is also a minor miracle that a team with a star goaltender that is boasting a 4.95 GAA and a .844 save percentage is up 3-1 in any series. If the Flyers are going to advance deeper into the Stanley Cup Playoffs or even out of this series, they will need Bryz to be better.

That’s not letting the rest of the team off of the hook, their play has been pretty putrid in their own end. They too will have to be better if the Flyers are to make a deep Cup run.

Tonight, in a pivotal game 5 in Puttsburgh, where the Flyers have had so much success, all eyes will be on Ilya Bryzgalov.

Similar Posts:

  • UPDATED – Bryzgalov “Limping Badly” After Loss to Tampa Bay?
  • What Bryzgalov’s Injury Means for the Flyers
  • Bryzgalov and Flyers Getting Their Act Together at the Right Time?
  • Bryzgalov Returns for Flyers
  • Bryz Is NHL’s First Star

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