BUFFALO _ By switching goalies for Game 3 in Buffalo, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette left himself open to be second-guessed.
But veteran Brian Boucher made the gamble pay off, making 35 saves to key the Flyers’ 4-2 win over the Sabres Monday night.
Boucher allowed one bad goal (scored on a long rebound he served), but was solid overall, especially during a first period in which Buffalo fired 16 shots. He also stopped 10 of 11 shots while the Sabres were on the power play.
In two appearances against the Sabres, Boucher is 2-0 with 55 saves on 58 shots, a staggering .948 save percentage.
“I have a belief in myself , and I knew I put a lot of work into this year to have a good season,” said Boucher, who relieved rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 2 and helped spark a 5-4 victory. “I know there may be questions from the outside, but for myself, I feel I can do the job. And I’m happy to get the chance.”
Boucher, 34, will get several more. He’s earned it.
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Winger Nik Zherdev scored what proved to be the winning goal late in the second period, finishing a two on one with Mike Richards.
Steve Montador was the lone defender between Richards and Zherdev.
“I was calling to Monty that I needed help,” goalie Ryan Miller said. “…I was hoping Monty would play the middle more.”
But Montador stuck with Richards in the left circle and Zherdev cruised out front.
“He sees Richards there, and maybe thinks he’s going to get more help on the backside,” Miller said. I saw it develop. We had a little mixup and we both committed to Richards and left that backside open.”
Zherdev took the pass and had an easy tap-in for his first career playoff goal.
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Breakaways. Breaking out of a slump, Jeff Carter had a goal, an assist and nine shots (four on goal)…..Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen were each plus-3…..Coburn had a game-high four blocked shots……Buffalo won 58 percent of the faceoffs….Blair Betts won just five of 22 faceoffs (23 percent)….The Flyers were outshot, 37-26…..Andrej Meszaros (24:22), Timonen (24:01) and Coburn (23:15) were the only Flyers who played at least 20 minutes.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.
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