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It's Ilya Bryzgalov's time to shine

Updated: December 15, 2011, 11:40 AM ET
By Craig Custance

Thanks to the first episode of "24/7," we learned that Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has a fascination with the universe. He's an expert on the death penalty and how it relates to killing tigers. And if you're looking for help identifying an obscure bottle of Russian liquor, he's your guy.

The HBO documentary leading up to the Winter Classic made its debut last night and it gave us a glimpse into the mind of the Flyers' franchise goalie. It makes him impossible not to like. He admitted in the documentary that going to Philly was like going to goalie hell, but he did it anyway. He had 51 million reasons to move on from Phoenix, where he was wildly successful under Dave Tippett.

"I knew Bryz -- we weren't going to be able to retain him. We knew that last February, quite frankly," said Coyotes GM Don Maloney last week. "And God bless him, he played well for us. I have no hard feelings. He signed a great contract with a very good team."

Now, with both Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux out with concussions, Bryzgalov becomes more than a reality star. He's the most important player on the Philadelphia roster. He's been their best player this month and hasn't lost a game in December as the Flyers continue to find ways to win. He's 6-0 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .912 save percentage this month. After a slow start, he's raised his record to 14-5-2, although his secondary numbers are still average. His goals-against average is 2.75 and his save percentage .901.

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