Flyers Invite Debate with Game 4 Goalie Change
- Updated: April 20, 2012
The Philadelphia Flyers were crushed in Game 4 against thePittsburgh Penguins. The 10-3 loss was one of the worst in playoff history for the team. There were plenty of bad decisions in this game but one is going to be talked about a lot among the fans. Peter Laviolette made the decision to pull goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the second period and turn to Sergei Bobrovsky. Given that Bobrovskywas even worse, there will be no goalie controversy. However, did the coach make the right decision? I have a mixed reaction on that. Here is a breakdown of the good and bad of his decision.
Pulling Bryzgalov was wrong
Laviolette made the switch early in the second period after Bryzgalov allowed his fifth goal. It is true that he was terrible but the game was only 5-3 at the time. Marc-Andre Fleury looked just as bad for Pittsburgh. As soon as he was pulled, I started to wonder if it would kill any chances the Flyers had to gain momentum. As it turned out, it did. Bobrovsky couldn’t handle the Pittsburgh power play and the Flyers never got back into the game. Worse, they sent a message to the Penguins that they were in panic mode even though the game was still up in the air at the time. With a 3-0 series lead, that probably wasn’t the right move. Bryzgalov should have stayed in the game given how he has settled down in previous games.
Pulling Bryzgalov was right
Laviolette has had no problem switching goalies in the past. He did it plenty of times during the season with these two players. At the time, the Flyers needed a spark and that is probably what the coach was hoping to get with this switch. Bryzgalov was clearly struggling and Bobrovsky presented a new obstacle for the Penguins. Obviously, that strategy backfired since Bobrovsky was so awful. His poor play ensured that there will be no controversy and Bryzgalov will be back in net for Game 5.
Overall, the decision ended up not mattering. The Flyers weren’t going to win that game no matter what and Bryzgalov will return to his starting role. But what if Bobrovsky had played well? That could have caused a distraction that the team doesn’t really need right now. That is one reason that the coach probably shouldn’t have pulled the trigger on the goalie switch. On the flip side, knowing that Bobrovsky couldn’t stop anything might actually provide a boost to Bryzgalov’s confidence. This might have just been one of those games. Hopefully, things will return to normal for Game 5.