Sergei Bobrovsky

Peter Laviolette names Sergei Bobrovsky Flyers starting goalie for playoffs

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.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.