Two wins in a row is hardly a streak, but it’s progress. As the Philadelphia Flyers attempt to take baby steps toward respectability, all forward motion is worthy of being highlighted.
If Peter Laviolette’s team had generated a better offensive output through the season’s first ten games, it’s likely that Ilya Bryzgalov’s name would currently be held in higher esteem across the Philadelphia region. Averaging slightly more than two goals per game (23 total goals scored) surely won’t stamp any spring playoff tickets. Allowing 27 goals to be scored to-date puts the Flyers in twenty-first place in the National Hockey League. But, “Bryz” has been fantastic.
Philadelphia’s esoteric starting netminder has his game face (or mask, as you like) on this year. Last season was a different story, as the entire hockey world came to know. The Flyers might only have four points, instead of eight, if this 32-year-old veteran played like it was the fall of 2011.
The entire organization and every seasoned supporter knows that panic isn’t appropriate during the first week of February, even considering that there are only 38 regular season games left to play.
Last weekend’s 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, was followed by a stellar suppression (2-1) of the Tampa Bay Lightning this week. Stifling the League’s leading offensive team (4.4 goals per game) was quite an accomplishment, though the Lightning did lose 3-2 to the New York Rangers last weekend as well.
It’s possible that this Southeast Division team has begun to skate with (rather than over) their opponents. However, Guy Boucher’s squad remains atop the League’s scoring leader board. His team is nearly one tally mark ahead of the Anaheim Ducks, who are averaging 3.50 goals per game.
The Flyers will attempt to win three games in a row for the first time this season when they host the sunshine state’s other team, the Florida Panthers, on Thursday. With a short slate to play through late April, all points earned can help compressed progress to be made.