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Bryzgalov responds for Flyers

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Bryzgalov responds for Flyers
Ilya Bryzgalov was in a world of his own on Sunday, and it was a good thing, as he stopped 30 of 31 shots to backstop the Flyers past the Penguins.


PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers center Danny Briere took one look at teammate Ilya Bryzgalov on Sunday and had the feeling his team's goaltender was right where he needed to be -- Planet Bryz.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 4-2-0
GAA: 3.89 | SVP: 0.871
"It was his look, the way he was walking around before the game," Briere said. "He was somewhere else. He was in his own world. It's a good thing for Bryz."

 It also was a good thing for the Flyers, as Bryzgalov stopped 30 of 31 shots to backstop Philadelphia to a series-clinching 5-1 win against the Penguins in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"Looking at him in the room, his preparation, you could tell he was in a zone," Briere said. "There's something special in his eyes today. And to see him play, he was composed. He was sure of himself. It's fun to see him that way."

It hasn't all been fun for Bryzgalov in his first season in Philadelphia, and certainly wasn't a lot of fun in the first five games of this series -- he entered with a 4.54 goals-against average and .848 save percentage in the first five games -- but when the Flyers needed him most, Bryzgalov was there.

"You can tell before a game when he's focused," Claude Giroux said. "He's in a bubble, does his own thing. It's weird to say, but in the warm-up we know if he's going to have a good game. He was ready to go. He was our best player on the ice [Sunday]. He gave us a chance to win."

Bryzgalov said he didn't feel much differently for Game 6 than he had in any previous game in the series.

"I just came to the game just like every other day," Bryzgalov said. "You just have to play and stop the puck and help the guys win the game."

PENGUINS VS. FLYERS

Flyers top Penguins 5-1 to win series

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer
The Flyers had dropped two straight games after taking a 3-0 series lead, but they closed the door on Pittsburgh in Game 6.
READ MORE ›

Helping win the game was the Flyers' 40 blocked shots, led by seven by defenseman Erik Gustafsson and six each by blueliners Matt Carle, Andreas Lilja and Matt Carle.

"Blocking 40 shots, I'm not sure I've seen that," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I'm sure it's happened a bunch of times, but usually it's in the 20s. Guys were sacrificing themselves and clearing out the front of the net. And what did get through -- and there were lots of good chances by Pittsburgh -- our goaltender stood really tall today. He was focused.

"Bryz was phenomenal. They move the puck extremely well. There's going to be chances and opportunities against and Bryz was dialed in today. He played a phenomenal game for us."

It was Bryzgalov's first playoff series win as a full-time starter, following a seven-game series loss two years ago with the Coyotes and a four-game sweep last year. However, he said he took no personal pride from finally advancing in the postseason, instead handing out credit to everyone from the secretaries in the team office to the training staff to the coaches.

However, his teammates were more than willing to heap praise on their goalie.

"We're going to live and die by Bryz," Scott Hartnell said. "If he plays anything like he did [Sunday] throughout this next round, we're going to keep moving on."

"Sometimes you just feel there's something [like] there's an aura around you," Briere added, "and there was definitely that there around Bryz."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp