The acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov appears to have solved the
Philadelphia Flyers’ goaltending issues of last season. Bryzgalov,
though, may face his toughest test yet from the Vancouver Canucks’
Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Philadelphia looks to win its third straight home opener when it
faces Vancouver on Wednesday night.
The Flyers (2-0-0) revamped their roster in the offseason, and
trading for the right to negotiate a long-term deal with the former
Phoenix All-Star goalie may have been their most important
Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton and Sergei Bobrovsky combined to
allow 38 goals in 11 playoff games last season, making the need for
a more proven goaltender more pressing. So far, Bryzgalov seems to
have stabilized the position.
He has stopped 42 of 43 shots faced through two games, making 20
saves for his 24th career shutout in a 3-0 victory over New Jersey
”I can’t say enough about the whole team work ethic,” said
Bryzgalov, 7-7-2 with a 2.49 goals-against average against
Vancouver. ”Everybody’s doing their part. It’s been amazing.”
Rookie winger Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds – acquired from Los
Angeles in the Mike Richards trade – scored in the third period,
adding onto Claude Giroux’s first-period goal.
Jaromir Jagr will make his home debut with the Flyers after
returning to the NHL following three seasons in the KHL.
”Can’t wait,” he said. ”It’s very good to go back home with
two wins, with the team playing well. Good team coming in to play
us, and it should be fun.”
Facing the Sedins may not produce such a great time for the
Henrik Sedin has 12 assists in his last six games against
Philadelphia, while Daniel has two goals and seven assists in that
span. Henrik had three assists – one of which set up a goal by his
brother – in a 6-2 win over the Flyers on Dec. 28.
Each assisted on Alex Burrows’ third-period power-play goal that
gave Vancouver (1-0-1) a 3-2 win over Columbus on Monday.
The Canucks, though, have entered the third period trailing in
their first two games. Vancouver had the league’s best power play
at 24.3 percent in 2010-11, but failed to convert on its first six
chances this season before Burrows’ goal.
“Obviously we were slow off the start,” Burrows said after
Vancouver was outshot 11-2 in the first period Monday. “We weren’t
moving our legs, and that forced us to take a few penalties. That’s
definitely not the start we’re looking for.”
Backup Cory Schneider stopped 10 of those first-period shots and
had 23 saves overall, but Roberto Luongo likely will be back in net
Luongo made 25 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on
Thursday. He has won two straight over Philadelphia, stopping 35
shots in the Dec. 28 win and turning aside 38 to beat the Flyers
3-0 on Dec. 3, 2009.
The Flyers had gone 15-3-0 with one tie in 19 matchups with the
Canucks before dropping the last two.