Goaltending problems are a big reason the Boston Bruins are mired in their worst funk of the season.
The Philadelphia Flyers are having no such issues.
Ilya Bryzgalov's shutout streak may be over but his run of hot play certainly isn't, and he's expected to be in net for the rolling Flyers on Saturday in a visit to Boston.
Bryzgalov nearly had a fourth straight shutout Thursday but allowed two goals in a 35-second span midway through the third period in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. He set a franchise record with his 249:43 shutout streak and posted his seventh straight victory, a span in which he's allowed seven goals.
"It's a great team accomplishment," Bryzgalov said. "All the players in front of me have been doing a tremendous job. They deserve the credit."
Bryzgalov will start even though the Flyers (41-22-7) must fly home after this matchup for Sunday's matinee with Pittsburgh, a team they trail by two points for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. He's started 13 of Philadelphia's past 14 games but hasn't started on back-to-back days since doing so twice in January, and both times he allowed five goals in the second game.
The last one came against Boston in a 6-5 shootout loss Jan. 22 in the teams' last meeting. That game marked the most goals Tim Thomas had allowed all season, but that changed Thursday with a 6-2 defeat at Florida.
It was the fourth straight regulation loss for the Bruins (40-27-3), who haven't had a longer losing streak since a 10-game slide Jan. 16-Feb. 6, 2010. They've given up 21 goals during this skid as Thomas has posted a 5.73 goals-against average.
"That's twilight zone-ish. I don't know what we did, but we did something to put luck not on our favor that's for sure," Thomas said. "I haven't seen a run of bounces like this in a long time."
Backup Tuukka Rask (abdomen, groin) remains out, so Boston's only other option in net is veteran Marty Turco. He's allowed six goals in 81:25 of ice time since joining the Bruins last week.
Thomas is 10-1-1 with a 1.85 GAA in his last 12 starts against the Flyers. That stretch includes last year's second-round playoff sweep, which also is part of Boston's 9-1-1 record versus Philadelphia since blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers in the 2010 playoffs.
Bryzgalov is 3-0-1 with a 1.98 GAA in Boston, including a 2-1 season-opening victory, but he's given up five goals in each of the last two meetings as the Bruins won both in Philadelphia.
The Flyers are 7-1-0 this month as Claude Giroux has totaled 10 points. Giroux had a goal and an assist Thursday while Scott Hartnell scored his career-high 33rd goal.
"Our major job is to keep playing hard and stay focused on the task at hand - home ice in the playoffs," Giroux said. "Having a goaltender with confidence is huge for us this time of year."
While Giroux has four points in this season series, Boston's Tyler Seguin has two goals and three assists. Seguin tops the Bruins with 24 goals but has only four in his last 19 games.
Boston is back home after getting outscored 17-5 on a three-game trip. The Bruins no longer have control of the Northeast Division race due partly to a 3-6-0 home record since the start of February.
"We do have some guys that are tired and unfortunately guys that are not playing up to par," coach Claude Julien said. "At the same time we've got lots of games and we have to fight our way through it."
- Boston Bruins
- Ilya Bryzgalov