Who would have ever thought that last year’s rookie sensation, Sergei Bobrovsky, would now find himself playing backup to Ilya Bryzgalov?
After the goaltending debacle in last year’s playoffs, something needed to be done. The Flyers used three goalies in four games versus the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, before getting swept right out of the playoffs.
So Paul Homlgren went out and traded for the rights of Ilya Bryzgalov, the best goaltender available in free agency. It seems to have worked out for both Bobrovsky, also known as Bob, and the orange and black. Not only do the Flyers finally have a solid number one goalie, but also now have one of the best goalie tandems in the league.
In his first start of the season against the Ottawa Senators, Bob played well. He only allowed two goals on 23 shots. The orange and black played solid in front of him, but they still gave up too many power play opportunities that the Senators just didn’t capitalize on. He stopped the saves that needed to be made and also stopped some tough shots.
Peter Laviolette then decided to go back to Bryzgalov for the next two games but he struggled and has been inconsistent this season. The Flyers outshot Washington but still lost 5-2; however three of those goals were deflected in off Bryzgalov’s own teammates. He also struggled in the game versus St. Louis allowing four goals on just 25 shots by the St. Louis Blues.
With Bryz struggling to stop the puck and having miscommunications with his defensemen, the Flyers coaches decided to go back to Bob for the next start against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played well again by making 26 saves on 28 shots and allowing only two goals to get past him. The Orange and Black managed to keep their penalties down, giving the Leafs only three power-play opportunities.
Bob has a 2.01 goals against average and a .918 save percentage in two games, while Bryzgalov has a 2.85 goals against average with a .895 save percentage in six games. It’s too early to tell whether or not Bob can keep up his pace. He’ll get his chance to show that he is number-one goalie material within the next week. Bob should get two starts since the Flyers have two sets of back-to-back games coming up.
It has only been two games, but it looks like Bob has improved over the summer. When going from pipe to pipe, he would sometimes over slide and not be square to the shooter last year. This season he seems to not be over sliding and stopping his pads so he is square to the shooter.
Can Bob earn himself a spot as the number-one goaltender on the Orange and Black? He’s making an early impression, but it’s a long season and you never know what can happen.