Talk about twisted irony.
Only in Philadelphia could beleaguered Flyer goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, trying to find confidence, get his 25th career shutout and still lose.
And feel bad about it, too.
Thats because while Bryz was good in net, his counterpart at the other end Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center, Evgeni Nabokov, was simply sensational.
Nabby logged 45 saves as the Islanders defeated the Flyers, 1-0, in another shootout.
Its the first time this season the Flyers have lost three in succession, but they picked up a point on the New York Rangers, who also lost, 1-0, to New Jersey.
Shot after shot, player after player, period after period, Nabokov turned aside everything thrown at him.
You could see from our first shift we had the chances and could not score, said Jaromir Jagr, whose comments dripped of frustration, much like that of his fellow teammates.
We just could not score. Sometimes you dominate like that and dont even have a pointOne time, four-on-four, Mez (Andrej Meszaros) gave it to me and I thought for sure its a goal and he was there before I even shot it. He was good tonight.
Maybe the only thing the Flyers didnt do was generate traffic. That would have helped.
We got to go a little bit harder or concentrate on the chances we got, Jagr said. Sometimes you have so many you dont take it serious because you know the next chance might come and the game is over. He was good. Weve got to score on our chances.
The upside is that the Flyers played a dominant game. Play like that down the stretch and theyre going to pick up points.
From the last time we played the Islanders where we gave up too many chances and shots, we were able to close it down a bit, Laviolette said.
It was pretty steady. We got it behind them, got into the offensive zone and grind it out a bit. We just couldnt get it past the goaltender.
Overall, the Flyers outshot the Isles 45-18 and had 86 attempts at net.
It was the second-most shots the Flyers have ever had in a shutout loss. They had 48 on Feb. 15, 1969 against the Chicago Blackhawks but lost, 3-0.
Frans Nielsen won it in the shootout where the Flyers are now 1-5 this season. Bryzgalov is 0-4 in those six shootouts.
First time in my career, Bryzgalov said of notching his 25th shutout and still losing, 1-0. Its much nicer when you win the game.
We all played well tonight. Unfortunately, we cant win. The other goalie had big saves. Shut the door, too.
The last time something like this occurred was Dec. 6, 2005 when Antero Niittymaki and Calgarys Miikka Kiprusoff went into a scoreless shootout, which the Flyers won, 1-0, on a goal from Mike Richards.
All this aside, among the notables Tuesday, the Flyers welcomed back Danny Briere, who missed the previous six games with a concussion.
He played with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, a move intended to assist Briere by using two guys who are pretty hot now, while easing Briere back into the lineup.
The first period was tough a little bit to get going, Briere said. The timing and couple of plays you usually take for granted. I was hesitant at times. It got better and better as the game went on. I felt great.
In yet another vote of confidence for Bryzgalov, Laviolette started him in net over Sergei Bobrovsky, who was 7-1 lifetime against the Islanders with a 2.01 goals against average.
Again, if Bryzgalov is your confirmed starter, you have to keep going back to him even when things go awry to get his confidence level up for the playoffs. Hes here for the durationnine years.
Bryz faced very little in comparison to Nabokov, yet he didnt falter. Thing was, his Russian counterpart was unconscious in net.
Nabokov played well and made the saves he had to, said Claude Giroux, who had three official shots and two missed attempts. We didnt put a lot of traffic in front of him. He likes to get his room.
He challenged a lot of shots. I think we kind of let him do whatever he wanted. We got to do a better job of screening the goalie.
Flyer fans remember Nabokov. A couple summers ago, the Flyers got permission from San Jose to try and sign him. Nabby, seeking huge dollars, turned them down and finally ended up playing in Russia because he overpriced his market value here.
Biggest mistake of his life.
Anyway, back to the present ... Laviolette and his players talked about coming out strong and they did, getting the games first four shots on Nabokov.
Still, it was the Islanders who had the better scoring chances in the period, though they were outshot, 10-7. That was the only period the Isles got the better chances.
Bryzgalov had a quality stop on P.A. Parenteau four minutes in and another good save on Michael Grabner with five minutes left in the stanza.
Things turned toward Nabokov in the second period. First, he stopped Jagr from the slot with Scott Hartnell screening him out rather nicely. How he saw the puck was remarkable.
He was quick on any shots, Jagr said. He was reading the plays. He was there even before you shot it. Give-and-go, cross ice pass, he was there. I dont know if he was that quick or read it very well.
The Flyers generated some shorthanded chances, as well, and Nabokov denied Giroux and Max Talbot on separate Islander power plays from close range.
Past few games, when you had the chance, theyre not going in, Giroux said. You get games like that. The good news is we played well and were all over them and Bryz played well, too.
At four-on-four, Nabokov was just as strong. His pad robbed Jagr again on a one-timer from just outside the crease. That was the shot Jagr referred to earlier.
In the final minute of the middle stanza, the Flyers had a brief power play and Nabokov stopped both Matt Read and Briere at his gate.
It was a scene repeated endlessly through the night.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com.