If you are trying to get a handle on the Flyers’ goaltending situation: quit while you’re ahead.
Even after sitting out for 5 of the Flyers’ last 6 periods, Peter Laviolette will not turn to Sergei Bobrovsky in net tonight against the Northeast division leading Canadiens tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
Brian Boucher, instead, will make his second straight start.
Boucher earned a victory of the league-leading Washington Capitals on Saturday night the hard way, after the Flyers blew a 3-1 third period lead with a late power play goal against. He turned aside Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin in succession.
Boucher is 2-3-1 with a 2.98 goals against-average and an .884 save percentage.
Laviolette said last Thursday that he was not concerned with Bobrovsky’s fatigue level, despite the fact that the 22-year-old rookie told a Russian-language news outlet that he was tired. Bobrovsky made 12 straight starts before Saturday.
Bobrovsky has never appeared in more than 35 games in a season. He received some extra tutelage from goaltending coach Jeff Reese after practice on Sunday. Through 16 starts, Bobrovsky is 11-3-1 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against-average.
Tonight’s start for Boucher represents a stark change in trends. It’s just the second time this season Boucher is making back-to-back starts.
He will be opposed by Carey Price, who is in tied for the league lead in wins (12) and shutouts (4). In the year after playoff hero Jaroslav Halak was dealt to St. Louis, Price has finally started to win over the tough-love Canadiens fans. He received a standing ovation in a 3-0 shutout win over the Flyers last Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
Price is also 5th in the NHL in goals against-average (2.00). He has posted a shutout in 3 out of his last 6 starts.
For more of the hoopla surrounding tonight’s grudge match between the Flyers and Les Habitants, check out our post from last week.
As we also mentioned last week, tonight’s game will end an important 3-game stretch for the Flyers. They could come out 2-1-0 against the Lightning, Capitals and Canadiens or the inverse 1-2-0.
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