When the Flyers were able to get Michael Leighton clear from re-entry waivers to rejoin the team today, many Flyers fans began to fret and worry about what that could do to the goaltending set up. After all, Leighton carried the Flyers into the Stanley Cup playoffs while Brian Boucher carried part of the load in the playoffs.
With curiosity piqued and Flyers fans scurrying for answers while the team goes through a slide at the end of the season, coach Peter Laviolette is calming nerves today by naming rookie Sergei Bobrovsky the team’s starter for the playoffs. Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post Online gets the story from the Flyers head man.
“Our playoff starters are set. In Game One., Bob’s going to start and Boosh will back up. They’ve been great all year. They’ve been terrific.”
Bobrovsky, 22, is 28-13-7 with a 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage.
“Paul (Holmgren) made the decision yesterday was the time for (Leighton) to come back up here,” Laviolette said. “He gives us more depth in that spot with his experience. But to start the playoffs, Bob will be the guy in net.”
As we saw last year, guys without a history in the Stanley Cup playoffs managed to do really well with Antti Niemi ultimately helping Chicago win it all as a first-year starter. Bobrovsky’s a bit younger than Niemi (by five years) and going with a guy who’s not even 23 years-old yet as your main man in goal seems a bit risky.
Running with a virtually unknown entity in goal in the playoffs is nothing new for Philly. They did so last year with Leighton and Boucher and will do it again with Bobrovsky and Boucher with Leighton waiting in the wings in case of trouble. It’s good to have that cushion for sure, but if things turn ugly early on, it’s a breeding ground for panic decisions and one way or another, the Flyers will have their hands full in the playoffs be it against the Rangers, Buffalo, Montreal, or Tampa Bay.
In “Bob” they trust for now, but after rotating guys all season, don’t be shocked if he gets the hook if he’s intimidated by the setting.