After a strong performance Saturday night in Toronto, David Aebischer will be back between the pipes Wednesday night.
MONTREAL - Blessed with a pair of netminders who are fully capable of shouldering the load, head coach Guy Carbonneau has every intention of maximizing his one-two punch in goal this season, beginning Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Fresh off a weekend that saw the Canadiens come away with three out of a possible four points on the road against the division rival Sabres and Maple Leafs to open the season, Carbonneau likes what he's seen so far from his club. The first-year bench boss is also sleeping better at night with the comfort of having not one but two talented goalies at his disposal.
"We're lucky enough to have two good goalies and we're going to use them," said Carbonneau after confirming that David Aebischer will get the start against the Flyers. "We made it clear that there was no predetermined schedule for how this was going to go this year. It's wide open.
"It's easy to say that we'll go with the hot hand, but I also don't want to go two or three weeks without one of them playing either," warned Carbonneau. "It's up to me as coach to properly manage how often they will play."
Aebischer is getting his second straight start thanks to his solid performance in Toronto on Saturday night, where he kicked aside 36-of-38 shots before surrendering only one shootout goal in a 3-2 win over the Leafs.
"David played extremely well in Toronto and he deserves another start," said Carbonneau. "We'll see if things change over the next few weeks and months, but right now we truly have a goalie No.1A and B situation on our hands."
That suits the padded tandem just fine according to Aebischer.
"I think that's all either of us wanted from the start," admitted Aebischer, who is 1-1 lifetime against the Flyers. "If one of us plays well, then we'll play. I don't think we'll have any problem with that. Those decisions will be up to the coaches, all we can really control is how we perform."
If his first two starts against Philly are any indication, it may be another long night for Aebischer and the Canadiens with each of his two previous encounters with the Flyers having gone into overtime. The Swiss-born netminder made 27 saves in a 4-3 Avalanche win in Philadelphia last January and stopped 26 shots in 2-1 loss to the Flyers in Colorado back on Dec. 27, 2002.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com