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Insider: Picking apart Flyers' goalies

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By Dejan Kovacevic
Friday, April 20, 2012

If the first three games were about the Flyers attacking the Penguins' primary weakness, the defense, Game 4 was the inverse: The Penguins attacked — voraciously — the Flyers' goaltending.

They chased Ilya Bryzgalov with five goals on 18 shots.

They then shelled Sergei Bobrovsky with five more goals on 18 more shots.

Most impressive, perhaps, they went after both by following the scouting reports as if they authored them.

Bryzgalov is a big goaltender at 6-foot-3, but he isn't the most mobile. He relies on taking away angles far more than athleticism, rarely dropping into the butterfly stance that's the foundation for most modern goaltenders. He mostly lets the puck hit him, making it look easy when he's sharp.

His resultant weaknesses, though, are twofold:

1. He isn't quick side to side.

2. He's susceptible to low shots and, because he seldom goes down, loses rebounds in his feet.

Sound familiar?

Four of the Penguins' goals against Bryzgalov immediately followed side-to-side passes, and Evgeni Malkin's first goal came after finding a loose puck in Bryzgalov's skates.

The book on Bobrovsky is simpler: Shoot top shelf, preferably glove side.

Bryzgalov also has a history of melting when the heat's turned up. He's given up 17 goals in this series and 41 in his past nine playoff games, including his implosions in back-to-back postseasons with Phoenix.

Through it all, he rarely finds fault with his own play and openly blames teammates.

He did that again Wednesday, saying of the Flyers' defense, "We gave them the chances."

Never uttered a peep about his own showing, brief as it was.

Photo Galleries

Game 4 Pens vs. Flyers 4/18/12

Game 4 Pens vs. Flyers 4/18/12

The Penguins win 10-3 against the Flyers in game four during the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Center April 18, 2012.

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