The acquisition of Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) 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(notes).
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 move.
Brian Boucher(notes), Michael Leighton(notes) and Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) 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 on Saturday.
“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(notes) and Wayne Simmonds(notes) - acquired from Los Angeles in the Mike Richards(notes) trade - scored in the third period, adding onto Claude Giroux’s(notes) first-period goal.
“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 Flyers, however.
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.”
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.