Give That Man a Cigar, Bryzgalov is Named NHL's 1st Star of the Week >

It seems Ilya has turned the corner! 

"Let me alone, guys. Just let me be and let me play hockey," he told us after defeating the Devils back in February.

Bryzgalov was named the NHL's #1 Star of this past week. Ilya went 4 - 0 - 0 with a .985 SV% and 0.490 GAA, then extending his personal winning streak to five, with three shutouts since the beginning of March. During the first four months of the season, the first on his nine-year, $51 million free-agent contract, Bryzgalov blanked only two opponents. 

Why is that you think? 

Is it help from goalie coach, Jeff Reese? 

It seems to me that Bryz has been fundamentally sound, cutting off angles, and has been so much better in breakaways/shootouts in which he's bailed the team out numerous times. I always felt that the Flyers netminder just needs to make the stops he's supposed to stop, and they'd win. He has, and they have.

Is it the D stepping up? Without the services of Kimmo Timonen, Pavel Kubina and Andrej Meszaros, the new addition of Nicklas Grossmann is one of the reasons people in this city are talking about Homer as GM of the Year. And as much as he's been ragged on in the past, Matt Carle is showing that he's worthy of a big extension once this league year is completed. 

One other thing I'm missing......oh yeah, the BLOCKED SHOTS! 

A total of 55-blocked shots in the last 4-games in which Bryz was between the pipes. Unfortunately our Flyers only blocked 3-shots on Bobrovsky's net Sunday night against New Jersey. Nevertheless, lately we're clearing the porch, letting Bryz see the puck and he's giving up fewer rebounds. 

Is part of the recent run due to effective backchecking from the Flyers forwards, watching the odd man rushes? 

It says a lot about this team to have six or seven rookies playing on a regular basis and not have to chew our nails to bits while they rush back to the defensive zone. This is telling me that the coaching has taken exceptional steps forward. That credit goes to Asst Coach Kevin McCarthy.

So which is it? Jeff Reese, the defense or our younger guns on the backcheck?

My guess is that it's all three working together like the gears from a clock. Before we'd see one part of our game excel while the others weren't managing to keep up. Now we're witnessing much more consistency in our performances, rink-wide. 

Tonight's contest is one of the biggest of the regular season. It cases a potential first round match-up in the New Jersey Devils. And for a small sigh of relief, the Flyers are expecting (F) Jake Voracek back for the game.

One more?

Bryzgalov's your starter.

7pm on TCN tonight. 

Let's go Flyers!

Bogle's Fine Points

On Feb 6th, 1972, a chain-smoking, overweight man named Bruce Gamble was in net for the Flyers against the Canucks. Early in the 1st period he went down to make a save, which was blocked by defenseman Barry Ashbee. 

Bruce slumped over in pain, but he got to his feet and played on. Bruce was within 1:58 from a shutout, the Flyers won the game 3 - 1. Bruce had suffered a heart attack during the game and still continued to shut the gates. They don't make 'em like Bruce anymore.

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