Of his first 38 starts in the demanding Philadelphia market, Bryzgalov was pulled three times. On a separate occasion, in a 9-8 loss to Winnipeg Oct. 27, he was called upon to relieve Sergei Bobrovsky, only to allow four goals on 10 shots in 34:05 minutes.
In the 2011-12 regular season, Bryzgalov had 18 four-goal outings, including seven five-goal salvos, while his single-night save percentage dipped below .900 in 25 out of 59 outings. He briefly rebounded for a solid month of March, only to regress into a postseason that culminated in a highlight-reel gaffe that spelled New Jersey’s series-clincher in the second round.
Okay, the point has been made. The free-agent import from Phoenix did not exactly escape his baptismal fire in Philadelphia without any burns. But he will be depended on to prove that he was ultimately strengthened by the adversity.
After all, he will most likely be in a spot where he will have to bail out a luckless blue-line brigade.