NHL Playoffs 2012: Why Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers' Game 1 Win Doesn't Matter

Joseph BurnsContributor IApril 13, 2012

After giving up 3 goals in the 1st period, Flyers Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov shut out Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Bryzgalov had 25 saves on 28 shots in Game 1.
After giving up 3 goals in the 1st period, Flyers Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov shut out Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bryzgalov had 25 saves on 28 shots in Game 1.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers' Goaltender and HBO 24/7 rock star Ilya Bryzgalov isn't out of the woods, yet.  The Flyers go into the second game of their opening round playoff series against their cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins with momentum after a gritty 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1. 

Unfortunately, Game 1 doesn't mean much in a seven-game series.   

A win in Game 1 is a luxury item; it's nice to have (especially on the road), but it's not necessary

Since the National Hockey League came back from the lockout in 2005, there have been 90 different playoff series.  The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the series 67 percent of the time.  This is the second lowest winning percentage.  The only game in the series that means less is Game 4, where the winner of the game goes on to win the series only 60 percent of the time. 

For the Flyers and Penguins, tonight is much more important.  The winner of Game 2 goes on to win the series 73 percent of the time.  This is third highest behind Game 7 (100 percent) and Game 6 (74 percent). 

The Flyers can greatly improve their chances to advance into the next round with a win tonight.  When a team goes up 2-0 in a playoff series, they go on to win the series 85 percent of the time. 

However, the Penguins have found themselves down 0-2 three times in the past four postseasons and they have come back to win the series on two of those three occasions. 

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