One Flyers employee who has seen hundreds of players come and go has a short list of two of the hardest working athletes they've witnessed off the ice: Ivan Provorov and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Provorov’s offseason regimen has been well documented, but word is, Bobrovsky would be riding the bike or working out well after all the lights to the facility had been turned off.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner didn’t just stumble into greatness, but unfortunately, it now comes at the expense of the Flyers, who infamously traded him to Columbus a season after backing up Ilya Bryzgalov. Claude Giroux was one of the few Flyers who remembers what it was like to battle Bobrovsky over the course of a season.
“Just in practice when he was here, he battled every shot,” Giroux said. “It was fun to have practice with goalies like that. They just won’t let any pucks go in, even with rebounds when the play was over. He made it a lot of fun. I’m not surprised how good he’s playing because his work ethic is really good.”
Take that talent and work ethic and add an extra five percent of incentive — motivation against the organization that elected to go in a different direction — and you have a stellar 9-3-1 record, 1.82 goals-against average with a .935 save percentage in 13 starts against the Flyers.
“I think we’ve played good games against them,” Giroux said. “Bobrovsky has been pretty solid all those games. For us to beat him, we’ve got to find ways to get pucks to the net, get rebounds. If he sees the puck, he’s going to stop it. We’ve got to have a lot of traffic in there.”
Sixteen different Flyers have scored goals against Bobrovsky, and you can count the number of players who've beaten him twice on one hand. Impressively, the one player who had the greatest amount of success against Bobrovsky is no longer here. Brayden Schenn scored six goals against big, bad Bob.
Dave Hakstol has a different sense of history, one that has seen the Flyers' last three games against the Blue Jackets result in a 2-1 game, with the Flyers winning two of those matchups.
“You stay with the game, whatever the game is," Hakstol said. "You look at the history of these 2-1 games against Columbus, it’s going to be a tight, close game. Our guys have full understanding of that.”
To compound the challenge facing the Flyers, scoring hasn’t been a strength of theirs recently, as they’ve scored two or fewer goals in seven of their last eight games.
“I think that’s one thing we can do a little bit better is keep pucks in the scoring area a little bit more,” Hakstol said. “In saying that, I think in the last 10 games, we’ve been outshot once. I think you’ve got to factor everything in and not overreact to anything.”
Flyers leading scorer Sean Couturier beat Bobrovsky for an overtime winner on Feb. 16, and he hasn’t scored since.
For Couturier and the rest of his teammates, nothing would be prettier than the ugliest of goals and wins against Bobrovsky right now.