Another game, another goaltender yanked.
If these are the Flyers, and this is the 2011 playoffs, it almost comes as a surprise when a goalie makes it through to the end. They have played eight post-season games and the starting goaltender now has been pulled out of four of them. Saturday afternoon, it was Brian Boucher’s turn (again) to be taken out, replaced this time by Sergei Bobrovsky.
But it was different this time.
Really, it was.
In the three games of the Buffalo series, the goalies were pulled because the goalies were terrible. In Game 1 of the second round against Boston, Boucher was pulled mostly because the team in front of him was atrocious. He was removed with 2:46 left in the second period, with the Bruins leading by 5-1. The final score was a 7-3.
Now, that isn’t to say that Boucher was great or anything, because he wasn’t. He wasn’t close. But when you run back the video of the goals in your head, only one or maybe two of them were a bit shaky. On the first one, Boucher was taken by a too-open David Krejci in his crease. On the last one, he made a nice pad save on a deflected shot, only to see the unchecked Brad Marchand score on the rebound.
In between, at least one of the goals was deflected. The worst goal was probably the third one, when a Mark Recchi rebound managed to dribble through Boucher. But even that was on a rebound.
The Flyers really appeared to have trouble summoning any of the urgency that marked the Buffalo series. Their defensive zone coverage was inconsistent. Seeing as how both teams played seven-game series in the first round, it might not have been surprising to see both of them struggle to re-find the same emotional level. But the Bruins did a much better job that way. The Flyers were listless in this game for a very long time.
Eventually, they did make a bit of a game of it after Boucher was pulled. Seconds later, in fact, James Van Riemsdyk scored his fifth playoff goal off of a faceoff won by Claude Giroux to make it 5-2. Then, at 13:02 of the third period, on a power play -- after a series of Boston penalties -- Mike Richards walked out of the corner and rifled a shot past Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas to make it 5-3. It was Richards’ first goal of the playoffs.
Then, at 14:59 of the third period, the hope for an improbably comeback died when Marchand scored his second goal of the game, this time from Bobrovsky’s doorstep. At that point, lots of people in souvenir orange t-shirts headed for home.