In four of the five games the Capitals have played so far this season, they’ve faced opposing teams’ backup netminders for one reason or another. Thursday in Philadelphia, however, they will not.
Prized free agent acquisition Ilya Bryzgalov is set to start for the Flyers tonight in what nearly everyone on both sides is referring to as a “test” matchup between two clubs expected to be among those at the top of the Eastern Conference standings all season long.
Bryzgalov, the 31-year-old who signed a nine-year deal worth 41 million this summer, heads into the contest with a 3-0-1 record, .927 save percentage and 1.99 goals-against average. But he’s only faced these Capitals with Alex Ovechkin twice in his career and has a 2.53 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in those outings.
Washington’s star left wing has just one point (an assist) in those outings against Bryzgalov, who was asked what he knew about Ovechkin on Wednesday.
“He’s Russian,” Bryzgalov said. “He wears number eight. He signed a contract with Gillette.”
Ovechkin wasn’t much more expansive about his fellow countryman, but they’ll certainly get better acquainted over the course of this season now that Bryzgalov is in the Eastern Conference.
“We play a couple times against him when he was in Phoenix,” Ovechkin said. “He’s big, huge goalie who read the game well. Again, we have to find the way to score goals against him.”
Meanwhile, Tomas Vokoun is expected to make a fifth straight start for the Capitals against the Flyers. In 19 career appearances against Philadelphia, Vokoun is 7-8-3 with a .916 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average.