Ilya Bryzgalov would eventually allow two goals in the Philadelphia Flyers' 3-2 win over the New York Islanders, but not before stretching his streak to 249:43, which bested John Vanbiesbrouck's previous mark set in 1999.
A season after the Flyers went all 82 games without a single shutout, their new netminder has broken the franchise’s record for consecutive minutes without allowing a goal. Ilya Bryzgalov would eventually allow two goals in the Flyers’ 3-2 win over the Islanders, but not before stretching his streak to 249:43, which bested John Vanbiesbrouck’s previous mark set in 1999. It’s also a personal best for Bryz, whose previous career best was 249:15, which he set in the 2006 playoffs with the Anaheim Ducks.
Bryz wasn’t the only player to top a career best. A pair of top-line forwards did as well.
Zac Rinaldo opened the scoring for the Flyers, who held a lead in the first 10 minutes of a game for the first time in 26 games. The fourth line was working hard early, and Rinaldo appeared to be throwing the puck on net just to set up something for Max Talbot, who was trailing. Instead, the hard-angle shot caught Evgeni Nabokov by surprise and snuck past him on the short side.
Five minutes later, Claude Giroux would set a new career mark for goals in a season, wristing home his 26th. Jaromir Jagr deserves a chunk of the credit for this one, as he used his body to shield the puck along the boards before turning and putting an easy pass on G’s tape out in front.
Giroux is the fourth Flyer to set a new career high in goals this season, following Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Max Talbot.
Hartnell would pick up another career record of his own on that play. Credited with the secondary assist, Harts topped his previous career high in points. And, in the second period, he added to his goal total, scoring his 33rd on a blazing breakaway wrist shot.
Midway through the second period, Flyers fans stood in their living rooms to applaud Bryzgalov’s passing Vanbiesbrouck’s mark. During the worst of his (and the defense’s) struggles this season, most fans knew he had this in him. It was hard to be certain he’d find that groove this season, but he’s rewarded the believers lately, including his teammates and coaches.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to continue extend the shutout streak a full four games. Defensive breakdowns late in the game were costly, and Michael Grabner punched in a nice goal to snap us back to reality. The Isles kept buzzing, and less than a minute later, it was a one-goal game. John Tavares scored his fifth goal in four games with more than five minutes on the clock.
The defense steadied despite a wave of attack from the Islanders, and Bryz remained strong enough to hold the fort for another Flyers win.
Jaromir Jagr was outstanding in this one, narrowly missing on a play where he just dominated his way through several Islanders. His presence on the top line is clearly a reason Giroux and Hartnell have had career years.
Sean Couturier and the fourth line were strong overall as well. Coots led all forwards in ice time on the night, and just he has all season, played valuable late minutes.
The defense played well through two periods, limiting the Isles to long shots and limited screening opportunities and second efforts. But they lapsed hard late, and the Isles very nearly came all the way back. Perfection wasn’t going to last forever.