Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 3/30/12

When it comes to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there always seems to be one inconsistency in their lineup: goaltending.

Ever since former Flyers great Bernie Parent stopped manning the pipes for the Flyers, it seems like the team's goaltending in the postseason can be compared to picking a name out of a hat. Last season, it was both Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky. The season before, it was Boucher and Michael Leighton and so on and so forth.
During the offseason, GM Paul Holmgren went out and signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Ilya Brzygalov to a nine-year deal. As always, these long-term contracts are always a gamble and if Bryzgalov's season has been anything for the Flyers this year, it has been a crapshoot.
For the first few months of the season, Bryzgalov did not play like he did when he was with the Phoenix Coyotes. He was not confident, allowed a lot of soft goals, and seemed more focus on coming up with a good quote rather than stopping the puck.
Fast forward to now and it appears that the $51 million man has his game in order.

On the season, Bryzgalov is 32-15-7 with a 2.46 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and 6 shutouts. While the numbers are not as good than what they were with the Coyotes, it shows just how far Bryzgalov has come in between the pipes for the Flyers this season after an extremely inconsistent start to the year. He has played exceptionally well in March, going 10-2-1 with a 1.43 GAA in 13 starts.
One thing that could make a Flyers' fan somewhat nervous about Bryzgalov is not only his past postseason performances (a combined 3.77 GAA and .896 save percentage in last two postseasons), but the fact that he now has a chip fracture in his right foot. While the team insists that it is not too serious, it would be a bad thing for Bryzgalov not to get any reps in before the playoffs begin.

Bryzgalov has either been really good or really bad this season; no happy medium. If he gets past those two things, the Flyers will be a potent opponent for anyone in next month's playoffs. They definitely have players that can put the puck in the net in the playoffs, but will they get the goaltending they need from "Mr. Universe" to get to the promised land?
Photo credit: Getty Images
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