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Flyers: Need to be better regardless of goalie

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

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Flyers: Need to be better regardless of goalie
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was mum on the subject, but Philadelphia could be changing goalies yet again heading into a pivotal Game 4 against the Bruins.
BOSTON -- It took all of 63 seconds into Game 3 before the spotlight once again fell upon the starting goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers this playoff season.
David Krejci had just scored his fourth goal of the series on an uncontested shot from in close on Brian Boucher, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead 1:03 into the game and forcing Flyers coach Peter Laviolette to call timeout.
"Our team let him down on those two and we needed to be better in front of him and I just need to make sure that he stayed clear and kept his focus," Laviolette said. "But I think it was just the start. I wasn't talking to (Boucher) because I need to talk to (Boucher), I just wanted to make sure his head was on straight and our team needed to play much better in front of him."
In the end they didn't, and the Bruins went on to score three more goals en route to a 5-1 victory to grab a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-7 series that resumes Friday here at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS [JIP], CBC, RDS).
Boucher was pulled from the game with 4:46 remaining in the second period after yielding four goals on 20 shots, but the game was all but decided by that point anyway. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas understands with what Boucher is going through. He's been down that road before.

"I don't worry about the defensive breakdowns, It's my job to try to stop the puck. You know, when it got to 2-0, it got away from us there. It's definitely disappointing." -- Brian Boucher

"It is not a fun situation to be in," he said. "He's out there trying his best to do the best job that he can. For whatever reason -- whether it's luck or it's just the way the puck's bouncing -- he wasn't able to, I'm sure he would agree with me that he probably didn't accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. I empathize with him."
It marked the seventh goalie change in 10 playoff games for the Flyers -- one of those switches coming due to a Boucher injury in Game 2. While his teammates certainly thought otherwise, Boucher put the blame on himself.
"I don't worry about the defensive breakdowns," he said. "It's my job to try to stop the puck. You know, when it got to 2-0, it got away from us there. It's definitely disappointing."
As is customary during the playoffs, Laviolette would not reveal his Game 4 starter until Friday. Boucher has a 4-4 record with a 3.13 goals-against average in nine games and Sergei Bobrovsky is 0-1 with a 3.31 GAA in five games.
While none of the players know who's starting in goal either, Danny Briere admitted Bobrovsky looked good in two recent relief stints.
"I thought he looked great in relief in the Boston series," Briere said. "Sometimes a lot of it has to do with how you feel against a certain team for goalies. Maybe he can come in and feel good and see the puck well against the Bruins. I don't know if he's playing or not (Friday), but if he is, I'd feel very comfortable."
"When he's come in he's done a great job of stepping up," captain Mike Richards said. "But I don't know who's playing (Friday), so we'll see."
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen doesn't have a preference in goal. He feels the Flyers need to provide a stronger effort for whoever gets the nod between the pipes.
"It's not easy for that goalie to come in but I don't know who is playing (Friday)," he said. "I'm not worried about our goalies, though. I'm worried about us and how we'll do our job and if we do that we'll be in good shape."
Boston coach Claude Julien doesn't really believe that his team has a psychological edge in the goaltending department despite the fact that Thomas has been playing extraordinarily well in this series -- he's stopped 89 of 92 shots the last two games.
"We've talked about that before and the one thing is they went through that last series and they came out winners," Julien said. "So I don't think we're looking at that as an edge for us or whether it's something that is an issue to them. We are really focusing on what we have to do here. Let's not get caught up in all the stuff outside of our dressing room more than how we have to react and how we have to play. It's served us well so far in the playoffs, so we don't want to change that."
Rallying point -- Briere informed the media following practice Thursday that Laviolette offered an inspiring speech reminiscent to the one given prior to Game 4 against the Bruins last year.
The next question is will it produce similar results.
"We had a similar speech from Peter that fired us up last year and I hope it'll do the same," Briere said. "I felt like we had some jump in practice. We weren't really talkative too much but we had some jump and I believe we'll leave it all on the ice.
"I'm not going to say what the speech was, but it was very similar to last year."
Briere knows the Flyers will have to exhibit much more fight facing elimination in Game 4.
"Whatever it takes to get us going, I guess," Briere said. "I think we need more fire in our eyes than we showed in Game 3."
Injury update -- Philadelphia forward Jeff Carter and defenseman Chris Pronger were noticeable no-shows during practice at TD Garden on Thursday.
All signs point to Carter playing for the second straight game Friday, after being re-inserted into the lineup for the first time in 14 days in Game 3. Carter had missed five games with a lower-body injury -- reportedly a sprained right knee ligament -- but took five shots in 16:41 of ice time in Game 3. On Thursday, he watched his teammates from off the ice.

Pronger, who has been off the ice since the final five minutes of Game 1, is doubtful for Game 4. The Flyers list him as having a lower-body injury, but is reporting he is suffering from back and hamstring issues.

Pronger is with the team and has been at the arena during team skates.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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