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Swagger back, Bryz sets new Flyers shutout mark

by Adam Kimelman

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- As time ticked toward the midway point of the second period of Thursday's game against the New York Islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers skaters knew what was at stake.
Ilya Bryzgalov, with three straight shutouts and a scoreless streak of 196:13 entering the game, was approaching the team record for consecutive scoreless minutes played.
Bryzgalov entered just 31:27 shy of the mark of 227:40 set by John Vanbiesbrouck in October 1999.
"We couldn't stop thinking on the bench about the shutout streak that Bryz had going on," Scott Hartnell said.
"Any game you get close like that to having a shutout, you want to do it for your goalie," Braydon Coburn, who led the team with four blocked shots, told
Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 29-13-6
GAA: 2.52 | SVP: 0.909
Bryzgalov passed Vanbiesbrouck midway through the second period and extended his streak to 249:43 before giving up a pair of goals late in the third period.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the second-longest shutout streak in the expansion era. The only longer streak was Brian Boucher's 332:01 set in the 2003-04 season.
"I think it's pretty cool to have a record like that," Claude Giroux said. "It's not easy to do. We would have loved to give him the shutout again, but they were able to get a couple goals there."
Bryzgalov was appreciative of his teammates putting in the extra work for him.
"It's nice when team supports you," he said. "They try to help as much as possible. As you can see … they're diving to block the shots, the passes. I think they played unbelievable."
However, he deflected any personal praise as deftly as he's been deflecting scoring chances.
"You think they were never going to score against me again?" he said. "You're mistaken. Not me.
"It's a great team accomplishment. I know I was not alone on the ice. It's a team thing and I think the whole team deserved it. They set the new record."
While Bryzgalov finally showed a crack by allowing the two goals, his overall play has been far above anything else he's shown this season.
He's won seven straight games, he's 9-0-2 in his last 11 games, and has allowed just 20 goals in that span. In his last seven games, he's allowed just seven goals.


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Asked to pinpoint when things turned for his goalie, coach Peter Laviolette pointed to a 5-4 shootout win in Calgary on Feb. 25. It was Bryzgalov's first shootout win of the season. He's lost once since then, but it was a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
"In Calgary when he won the big shootout for us, after that he really seemed to dial in and get going in the right direction," Laviolette said. "He's really focused right now. He comes to the rink every day, especially game days, practices he's working hard, he's focused. I think that's what you notice most about him. Certainly he's on top of his game. He's playing really well."
While the shutouts have been impressive, the fact that the Flyers are winning and piling up the points has been just as important.
"It's very important for the team to get points and move in the standings," Bryzgalov said. "We have to continue to play hard and play right. If you play right like we did, the games take care of themselves and the points take care of themselves. We're on the right path now, we just have to continue to move forward and work hard."
Staying on that path will be easier if their goaltender keeps doing exactly what he's been doing.
"He's got his swagger back," defenseman Nicklas Grossmann told "He's been real good. This is the way we need him to play."
Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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