Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov once attended a barbecue with Alex Ovechkin. The two are friendly. But Bryzgalov does not know much about Ovechkin's style on the ice.
Bryzgalov should learn more about Ovechkin Thursday night when the undefeated Washington Capitals visit the Flyers at 7 p.m.
"I never studied him," Bryzgalov said. "I never had much experience to play against him. Only, I guess, two games. This whole [Eastern] conference is new to me."
After a relatively pedestrian season last year, Ovechkin has tallied two goals and an assist in Washington's first five games. The Capitals are 5-0 for the first time in team history, the beneficiaries of balanced scoring and impressive goaltending. Nicklas Backstrom leads the Caps with six points, and Tomas Vokoun is 4-0-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .935 SV%.
The Flyers have also started the season with a bang, accumulating a 4-0-1 record through five games. After Tuesday's 7-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators, the Flyers have a +9 goal differential that leads the NHL. Calude Giroux leads the Flyers with seven points, and Bryzgalov is 3-0-1 with a 1.99 GAA and .927 SV%.