The memories will come flooding back for several Blackhawks on Thursday when they set foot in Philadelphia, the site of their 2010 Stanley Cup clinching victory … and the place where goaltenders come and go quickly.
Since Ron Hextall departed in 1999, the Flyers have used 17 different goaltenders, which includes plucking Michael Leighton from the minors to face the Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals.
“Not that they haven’t had good years, but when you’re expected to win it becomes tough on a goalie,” said Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery, who played 29 games for the Flyers in 2009-10 before getting hurt. “If a team doesn’t do well a lot of times, they point the finger in that area. It’s good that they’re expected to win and have that type of pressure on them.”
Ilya Bryzgalov, who signed a nine-year, $51 million deal to stabilize the Philly crease, hasn’t responded well to the pressure. Bryzgalov (“Right now, I’m very into the universe.”) is 14-8-3 with a generous 3.01 goals-against average and a substandard .890 save percentage.