Maple Leafs-Flyers Preview
Ilya Bryzgalov has been real good at home lately, as long as his
Philadelphia Flyers don’t end up in a shootout.
James Reimer had been mostly awful in road games until his most
Bryzgalov could square off against Reimer and the Toronto Maple
Leafs in Philadelphia on Thursday night in a matchup of goaltenders
who had briefly lost their No. 1 jobs but have played well
While the Flyers (30-16-7) look to halt a season-high three-game
losing streak, the Maple Leafs (28-20-6) try to bounce back from
their first regulation loss in seven games.
Toronto won in Philadelphia in the teams’ only meeting of the
season, 4-2 on Oct. 24, but backups Jonas Gustavsson and Sergei
Bobrovsky were in net.
Bryzgalov has beaten the Maple Leafs all three times he’s faced
them, stopping 62 of 64 shots, and he’s 4-0-3 in eight home games
since the calendar flipped to 2012. All three defeats came in
shootouts, with Bryzgalov stopping just two of the opponents’ seven
shots. He’s turned aside all but two of the 77 shots he’s faced in
regulation and overtime of his last four home games.
The offseason acquisition posted his first shutout since Oct. 8
and first at home in a Flyers uniform Tuesday, but he let the New
York Islanders score on both of their shootout attempts in a 1-0
“He played well, made the saves that he had to and we put a lot
of shots in front of him,” Claude Giroux told the Flyers’ official
website. “He likes to get his room and he challenged a lot of
shots. I think we got to do a better job of screening more.”
A struggling Bryzgalov was splitting time with Bobrovsky for a
month-long stretch that went into late January – even getting
benched for the Winter Classic – but has reclaimed the No. 1 job
with a 1.69 goals-against average over his last eight games.
Reimer lost Toronto’s No. 1 job last month – he had only one
start in January – after losing seven of 11 games in December while
posting a 3.23 GAA. However, he started the team’s first three
games this month and won them all, including two shutouts.
He had gone 1-4-1 with a 4.02 GAA in eight road starts before
making 49 saves in a 5-0 win at Ottawa on Saturday.
Reimer was given the night off Tuesday as Toronto lost 2-1 at
Winnipeg despite Phil Kessel’s 30th goal. Kessel has four goals and
three assists over the last three games.
The Maple Leafs had been 5-0-1 in their previous six before
“It was disappointing. I felt like we had the chances and we
controlled most of the play,” Reimer said. “We just couldn’t find
any good scoring chances in tight.”
While Reimer has allowed five goals in splitting two career
starts versus the Flyers, Gustavsson lost his two career starts
against them while giving up 10 goals.
Toronto has not allowed a power-play goal in any of its
opponents’ 24 chances in 2012.
The Flyers had scored on the power play in seven consecutive
games until getting shut out Tuesday for the first time since
mid-December. However, they finished with 45 shots and didn’t come
“It’s disappointing but at least we’re playing the right way,”
said Danny Briere, who returned after missing six games with a
concussion. “… You just gotta keep your heads up.”