Ilya Bryzgalov looked sharp in the first and second periods. Really sharp. He was so sharp the Flyers apparently thought they could take the night off after scoring a first-period goal, but leaving the goalie out to dry proved to be a bad idea.
"It is disappointing," Danny Briere said. "Bryz is the only one who showed up. I am sure he is disappointed, just like the rest of us. When you get into the playoffs, it doesn't matter who plays well and who doesn't. At the end of the night the only thing that matters is a win. We didn't get that tonight so it is disappointing for everybody."
The Flyers didn't get a shot on goal in the second period until there was 1:27 left in the middle stanza. Any thought they had of this being an easy series, let alone a sweep, was whisked away with one of the poorest efforts they've shown in the playoffs.
"Our skating was off. And this game is all about skating and speed nowadays, and if you don't have it, you're going to be in trouble," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "And we were trouble today."
The Flyers had said one of the ways they could advance to the Eastern Conference Finals is to get traffic in front of Marty Brodeur and get him off his game. James van Riemsdyk did that quite effectively in Game 1, but in Game 2 the Flyers couldn't even get in the same ZIP code as Brodeur's net.
"It wasn't just the offense, it was three zones," coach Peter Laviolette said. "They were quicker, they were more competitive on the puck than we were. There are times when a goaltender stands on his head like that and you're able to squeak one out, but often times it doesn't last or it doesn't hold up. In the end, the results are just based on our play. Bryz, he was phenomenal tonight, but we have to do a better job in front of him."
Bryzgalov passed every test in the first two periods, when he had 25 saves on 25 shots, but he could hold down the fort by himself for only so long.
"He was unbelievable," Jaromir Jagr said. "If he wasn't in the net and didn't make those saves, it would be a different story. We would be probably down a lot after the first. He kept us in the game, he gave us a chance to win, but we had nothing today."
Although the Flyers won with overpowering offense in the first round against Pittsburgh, they'll need a more complete effort to be successful against New Jersey. Bryzgalov wasn't there all the time in the opening round, but he was Tuesday night. The Flyers just never bailed him out.
"It is all about the will and desperation," Briere said. "We have to get that back. So far in this series we have only had it for about three periods. There is no sense in me telling you how good we are. You guys have seen us all year. You know if we are good or not. One thing I can tell you is that we need to have more desperation if we want to get back to winning games."
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