No doubt about it, the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie carousel has been downright ridiculous through their first eight playoff games. Sure, there have been moments when their netminders have actually played well, but those good times have been overshadowed by the uglier moments. (Which, let’s be honest, have happened with startling frequency.)
CSN Philly reports that the team will go with Brian Boucher – at least to begin with – in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. The phrase “at least to begin with” is appropriate for the simple reason that Boucher has been pulled from two games already this postseason.
It’s a decent decision for one reason: they’re at least attempting to maintain some stability in net. I thought that the team was a bit hasty in pulling the plug on Sergei Bobrovsky (it seemed a bit harsh to demote him all the way to the No. 3 goalie spot considering all he did for the team in the regular season). However, it’s better late than never when it comes to being patient with their goalie, although it’s unclear if Boucher is the man for the job.
Then again, it’s flat-out wrong to say that goaltending is the Flyers’ only issue. Their defense was shaky and their discipline has been spotty at times, so they need to improve in plenty of areas if they hope to get back in this series against the Bruins. (Game 2 is tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Versus, by the way.)
That being said, getting a little help from their goalie(s) would be nice, too.
The last two games have been a disaster for Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks. He hasn’t made it through either contest, allowing 10 goals on 40 shots as people wonder if the Chicago Blackhawks remain in his head.
At times, Luongo’s body language has been bad enough that some might call it melodramatic.
Things have declined to such a level that many wonder if the team should go with his solid young backup Cory Schneider. Schneider went 16-4-2 with a 92.9 save percentage and 2.23 GAA during the regular season, so it’s not like the team is unfamiliar with playing in front of him.
Whatever doubt there might have been about who will start for Game 6, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault didn’t hesitate to say that he’s sticking with Luongo. TSN has the report.
When asked if Roberto Luongo would start in Sunday’s game, despite being pulled in each of the last two contests, Vigneualt offered a quick “yes” in response.
Luongo seemed confident that he would be able to bounce back from these last two games.
“You know what, I just keep doing what I’ve been doing all year,” Luongo said. “I’ve been at the top of my game for the last five months…Obviously you don’t lose something like that in a game or two.
“For me, nothing changes. The work is going to be there and I’m going to be focused to play the next one.”
The Canucks take a 3-2 series lead back to Chicago for Game 6, and are still in a good spot but need to focus on the positive, according to Luongo.
“There’s ups and downs in the playoffs. The key is, we’ve got to stay composed here. Obviously, you don’t want to get caught in these situations but we’ve got to take a deep breath here and relax a little bit. I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a couple of days to re-group here as a team and just get back to doing what we do best.”
When you invest in a goalie as much as the Canucks are investing in Luongo, your fate is tied to his in many cases. Sometimes it’s better to roll the dice with your main guy, although Vigneault will face plenty of naysayers if the Blackhawks complete their improbable turnaround from a 3-0 deficit.
The debate might rage on, but the Philadelphia Flyers came to a decision about their starting goalie tonight. The team will try to ride the hot hand by giving Brian Boucher the start, according to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio.
If you were hoping that the team would be patient with Sergei Bobrovsky, there aren’t many good signs today. In fact, Panaccio reports that Michael Leighton is the one with the full locker rather than “Bob.”
This indicates that Leighton will back up Boucher, rather than Bobrovsky.
In other words, after allowing three goals in an abbreviated start against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 2 and losing Game 1, Bobrovsky dropped from No. 1 on the Flyers’ depth chart to No. 3. Of course, these situations are fluid, which is evident in Bob’s current predicament.
While I understand the Flyers don’t have a lot of time to waste here, it’s still surprising how quickly they pulled the plug on Bobrovsky. Yes, he’s a young goalie who is unproven in the playoffs and there’s no denying his slow start. Still, he was a revelation for the team this season, guiding them to an Atlantic Division title as he won 28 games and put up solid individual numbers (91.5 save percentage, 2.59 GAA).
If nothing else, Peter Laviolette isn’t being wishy-washy about his netminding situation. These are the kind of moves that open the floodgates for people who like to blame all of Philadelphia’s problems on their goalies, but if the Flyers end up winning this series behind Boucher, they’ll gladly put up with the hecklers.