And this man celebrated his 40th birthday in style.
So what happened? A lot of things happened. The first thing though is goalie play. Bryzgalov allowed 3 or more goals in 10 of 11 playoff starts. That won't win you a playoff series.(Unless you play the Penguins) And Brodeur stood on his head in net, and played like a the goalie he was in 2003. Can we blame the whole series on Bryz?(YES!!) No. Although Bryz let in key goals at stupid times. The turnover goal in game 5 against New Jersey comes to mind. It was a stupid goal, and it never should have gone in. But it did.
But Bryz was not the only problem. The offense did not generate goals at nearly the same rate they did against the Penguins. And tempers flared late in the series, as evidenced by Claude Giroux's hit on Zubrus. But the biggest letdown was the urgency. The Devils appeared to have, and the Flyers appeared to have lost it. What happened after the Penguins series? Did the Flyers think they could coast to an easy win over the Devils? Maybe in the beginning of the series, but after going down 2-1, you would think Laviolette would whip his team into shape.
Regardless, this will be remembered as a lost opportunity. A chance for the Flyers to get to a another Cup has been squandered. And it's a team loss. Everyone played their best hockey against the Penguins. No player on the Flyers can say it isn't my fault we lost. But everyone in Philadelphia will be talking about one man and his play. Ilya Bryzgalov. And what could have been had he played just a little bit better.