Thursday, May 5, 2011
Posted: 2:57 p.m.By Sarah BaickerCSNPhilly.com
BOSTON -- Sergei Bobrovskys wild playoff ride might just be about to get wilder.
In a matter of weeks, the 22-year-old rookie goaltender has gone from playoff starter, to backup, to third-string scratch, back to backup. And, according to a source, it looks as though popular suspicion will turn out to be true Bobrovsky will likely reacquire starting duties in net when the Flyers next face the Boston Bruins in a critical Game 4 on Friday.
Bobrovsky hasnt played a complete game since the playoff opener, a 1-0 shutout loss to the Buffalo Sabres in Game 1. But since then, hes come in for Brian Boucher on three occasions all in this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins and hes performed credibly each time.
For that reason, and considering the rocky outing by Boucher in Wednesday nights ugly 5-1 loss that put the Flyers in a 3-0 series hole, theres a strong chance Bobrovsky could be in net when the puck drops Friday.
And if thats in fact the case, his teammates have full confidence.
I thought he looked great in relief in the Boston series, Danny Briere said. Sometimes a lot has to do with how you feel against a team. Certain teams for goalies, maybe he can come in and feel good and see the puck well against the Bruins. I dont know if hes playing or not tomorrow, but if hes in there, Id feel very comfortable.
At Thursdays practice at TD Garden, Boucher and Bobrovsky saw about an equal number of shots. True to custom, coach Peter Laviolette declined to discuss his thoughts on choosing a starting goaltender so the announcement of Fridays starter will have to wait until game time.
Nonetheless, Laviolette had praise for what hes seen of Bobrovsky in each of the three games played so far in this series. The Flyers young goalie has allowed three goals on the 24 Bruins shots hes faced, which is notable considering that entering a game cold can pose a real challenge.
Bob, he came in off the bench going in for the injury there (in Game 2) and I thought he did a good job last night, Laviolette said. He was good. Again, our team, the goals that went in last night, the first two, we need to be a lot better with what we do in our game in front of our goaltenders. There weren't a lot of chances, but we gave up too many good ones, too many quality ones.
Its certainly the case that Boucher does not deserve the full blame for the Flyers loss in Game 3. Too many defensive breakdowns in front of him, and not enough traffic in front of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas absolutely cost the Flyers in the first and third games of the series.
And it is that concern, what the team does in front of whomever is in net, that the Flyers focused on at practice.
Every time we change goalies its not easy for that goalie to come in, Kimmo Timonen said. I dont even know who is playing tomorrow. But Im not worried about our goalies. Im worried about us. And how we come up and do our job.
All along, the Flyers havent liked to discuss whats been nicknamed their goalie carousel. Theyve had faith in whichever netminder gets the call. After all, as a team that held the No. 1 position in the Eastern Conference for close to a third of the season, they managed to find success without a true No. 1 goalie. They were built that way.
I dont think its fair to just blame the goaltenders, Briere said. Games 1 and 3, the goaltending didnt have much to do with it. It was a team effort. We didnt play very well in front of them. And in Game 2, we probably deserved a better fate. Goaltending, on our side, we have no complaints about it.
Thomas was good, but we cant put the blame on our goalie in Game 2 either. Honestly, I think were making too much of it.
E-mail Sarah Baicker at firstname.lastname@example.org
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