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The Philadelphia Flyers have won four playoff series over the past two seasons. Those two Flyers teams were backstopped by netminders Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton and Sergei Bobrovsky. Imagine how much more those teams could have achieved with a legitimate No. 1 between the pipes.
In June, the Flyers acquired the rights to former Vezina finalist and Stanley Cup champion Ilya Bryzgalov—a player almost universally acknowledged as a top-10 NHL netminder. The team now boasts one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL, with the aforementioned Bryzgalov joining über-talented youngster Sergei Bobrovsky.
The Flyers believe they have finally found the answer between the pipes in Bryzgalov, and they may well be correct. The Russian netminder has been one of the best in the NHL over the past two seasons, putting up stellar numbers (137 games played, 0.921 save percentage, 2.381 goals-against average) while playing behind a mediocre Coyotes team.
Adding an established star like Bryzgalov to a defense as deep and talented as the one in Philadelphia can only mean good things for the Flyers, which is bad for the Penguins in 2011-12.
The Penguins will return otherworldly talented but maddeningly inconsistent Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. At least on paper, the Flyers finally have the advantage between the pipes.