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Flyers' goaltending problems surface again

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- Last year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers needed three different starting goalies to get through their first-round series.

There's little chance, barring injury, of that happening again. However, coach Peter Laviolette, for the first time this postseason, replaced starter Ilya Bryzgalov mid-game. Bryzgalov allowed five goals on 18 shots and was removed 3:07 into the second period.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 3-1-0
GAA: 4.95 | SVP: 0.844
"I think that at that point, Bryz needed to come out," Laviolette said after Wednesday's 10-3 loss to Pittsburgh. "He had seen five goals 22 minutes in and that's enough for him. He's been carrying the load for us. I think it's important for him to come out of that situation and give Bob [Sergei Bobrovsky] an opportunity to go in and battle for us. We have a lot of confidence in Bob as well. To change it up, shake the tree a little bit."

The move didn't help much, as Bobrovsky also gave up five goals on 18 shots.

Bryzgalov was acquired last summer to prevent a repeat of past seasons' playoff goaltending problems. However, despite being up 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Penguins, Bryzgalov has a 4.95 goals-against average and .844 save percentage, both of which rank 19th among the 22 goalies to see action in the playoffs this year.

But no one in the Philadelphia locker room was ready to pin the 10-3 loss in Game 4 on their netminder.

"Today everything was kind of off," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "Everything, from goalies to [defensemen] to forwards -- everybody was bad. There wasn't one person who was good tonight."

Added forward Jaromir Jagr: "We didn't play very good defense and there was a lot of power plays, two-on-ones. Even when [Sergei Bobrovsky] came in, we gave them so many good shots, not many bad goals. They were just great shots and great plays."

Sergei Bobrovsky
Sergei Bobrovsky
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 0-0-0
GAA: 8.11 | SVP: 0.722
Laviolette wasn't asked who his starter would be for Game 5 Friday in Pittsburgh, but it would be stunning not to see Bryzgalov back in net.

"I said it before about Bryz," he said, "the first few games in Pittsburgh I thought he made spectacular saves."

At least one player in the Philadelphia locker room expects he'll some more from Bryzgalov in Game 5.

"I'm not worried about Bryz," center Claude Giroux said. "He knows what he's got to do. He's an elite goaltender. We've got to do a better job in front of him. He'll be our best player in Game 5."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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