Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov insists he didn't lobby for the start on Saturday against the Coyotes. "I can't go in and say, 'I want to play next couple games,'" Bryzgalov said. "I just can't do it. (Coach Peter Laviolette is) the boss. He made the decisions." But after playing the night before in Anaheim, there he was, parked between the pipes against his former team in his first appearance at Jobing.com Arena since his rights were traded to the Flyers in June. It was the first time Bryzgalov made back-to-back starts all season. Whoever made the call - whether Bryzgalov made an impassioned plea or Laviolette planned the consecutive starts - there was no way the 31-year-old netminder could have been a spectator for this one. It was during his stint with the Coyotes that Bryzgalov became an elite NHL goalie. Over the course of three-and-half seasons in the desert, he transformed from a waiver-wire player to a Vezina Trophy nominee. That metamorphosis has continued in Philadelphia and after a 4-2 win by the Flyers over the Coyotes, the Bryzgalov chapter in Phoenix history has achieved closure. "I was walking in the building, and I can't explain what I felt, but it's something," Bryzgalov said about his return. "I played here three-and-a-half years. Winning lots of games, losing lots of games. Part of my soul is left here." And for good reason -- Bryzgalov wouldn't have been able to cash in with the lucrative contract he received from the Flyers (a nine-year deal worth $51 million that makes him the highest paid goalie based on cap hit) if it wasn't for his time in Phoenix. Bryzgalov acknowledges that.
Ex-Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov returns to Glendale as a Flyer
Arizona Republic | Dec 4