The good news is it can only get better from here for Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. His Philadelphia debut in net won’t go down as anything he’d care to remember in the Flyers 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs before a relatively meager and uninspired Wells Fargo Center crowd seeing hockey for the first time since early May.
But with newcomers Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Simmonds and Andres Lilja sitting this one out, in addition to holdovers James van Riemsdyk, Chris Pronger and Matt Carle, it was clear from the outset this was a pre-season game. Especially since only a handful of the Leafs even bothered to make the trip.
That should’ve made life easier for Bryzgalov, only it didn’t turn out that way thanks to a couple of deflections and another goal he felt he should’ve controlled. Afterwards he preferred looking at the big picture.
``It was good for me to get out for the first time and see what’s working properly and what’s not,’’ said Bryzgalov, who gave up goals to Juraj Mikus, Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne among the 24 shots he faced. ``I think it was good test for me.
``Now I have some understanding where I am and what I need to fix. But I can’t be satisfied with my performance because we lost.’’
Teammate Danny Briere, though, thought the new man in net held up well. ``He seemed really calm in there,’’ said Briere, who felt the Flyers sluggish start proved the difference, before rookies Tomas Hyka and Eric Gustafsson scored. `` The third goal got deflected twice.
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``There’s not much you can do.. The second goal same thing.
``But overall he looked solid, calm and composed.’’
Coach Peter Laviolette was impressed, too, as he tries to figure out where to best fit which pieces on his team into the lineup. He won’t have much time to do it, either, since hard as it seems to believe the regular season starts two weeks from tonight in Boston, where the Bruins will be raising their Stanley Cup banner.
By then Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers hope that night turns out to be a bit more memorable than this one.