Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is ranked 15th among netminders in my Yahoo fantasy league - not great, but a far cry from where he was a few months ago.
After a slow start to his first season in Philadelphia, Bryzgalov has carried the Flyers back into the division race by going 8-0-1 in March with a 1.19 GAA, 0.960 save percentage and four shutouts.
When I said Bryzgalov was off to a "slow" start this season, I might have been exaggerating - he was really bad. In his first nine games, he was 4-4-1 with an ugly 3.16 GAA and a equally bad .880 save percentage. He improved in November, but then stumbled again in December.
It got to the point where even Bryzgalov was joking about it.
"I have great news and even better news," said Bryzgalov as he was being interviewed for the 2012 Winter Classic. "OK, great news is I'm not playing (Monday), and better news is we have a chance to win the game (Monday)."
But the Flyers paid big money for the 31-year-old goaltender and didn't give up on him. Hopefully, neither did fantasy owners who selected him in the second round (Yahoo ADP 18).
The Flyers' No. 1 goaltender has gotten better in each month since the Classic and is now providing the leadership to challenge Pittsburgh and New York for the most points in the Eastern Conference. After Sunday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Penguins, the Flyers are just three points behind the Rangers and two back of Pittsburgh.
The Flyers are no longer splitting their goaltending work and you should obviously have him in your fantasy lineup every day.