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Laviolette stands up for Ilya Bryzgalov: “We all need to be better”

Peter Laviolette

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette stands behind his bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. The Flyers won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


For better or worse, Peter Laviolette has been very patient with Ilya Bryzgalov’s struggles in the Philadelphia Flyers’ first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, many of the chances that beat Breezy were the result of some porous defense - and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five of Wednesday’s 10 goals, too.

Sam Carchidi reports that Laviolette voiced his support of Bryzgalov, saying that he “has been satisfied with Bryz’s overall play in the series.” Tom Layberger got to the bottom of why he pulled Bryzgalov for Bobrovsky in the first place, in case that wasn’t evident.

“At that point Bryz needed to come out,” Laviolette said. “He had seen five goals in about (23) minutes and that was enough for him. He had been carrying the load for us and I think it was important for him to come out of that situation.”

Quite logically, Laviolette spread some of the blame to other Flyers players, as you can see on Philly’s official Twitter feed.

“Generally speaking, we all need to be better at what we do,” Laviolette said. “I’ve said it numerous times that desperation wins hockey games.”

The last thing the Flyers should do against a talented - if similarly flawed - team like the Penguins is to act as if they have a big series lead. After all, they’ve seen a team cough up a 3-0 series lead when they came back against the Boston Bruins in 3-0. Losing that sense of desperation could be a huge problem if Philly doesn’t recognize these dangers - or this could just be a sobering warning and useful lesson for a team heavy with young players.