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Boucher to start in Flyers' goal for Game 4

by Adam Kimelman /
With their season on the line in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers once again will give veteran Brian Boucher the starting nod in goal.

Boucher started the first three games of the series, but has been removed in all three games -- twice due to poor performance, once due to injury.

Coach Peter Laviolette made the announcement during his pre-game media briefing.

Boucher entered the second round of the series off a strong first-round showing against the Buffalo Sabres, including a 26-save performance in Game 7. After one round of the playoffs, he was fifth among playoff goaltenders with a 2.09 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

However, he's been less than stellar in the second round against the Bruins. Boucher was pulled in Game 1 with 3:23 left in the second period after allowing five goals on 23 shots, and he was yanked with 4:46 left in the second period of Game 3 after letting in four goals on 20 shots.

He left Game 2 with 8:59 left in the second period due to injury, when a Johnny Boychuk shot dislocated a finger on his left (catching) hand. He returned to start the third period, and finished with 32 saves, but he allowed David Krejci's overtime goal with six minutes left in the first overtime period.

Sergei Bobrovsky had replaced Boucher in each of the three games, and stopped 21 of 24 shots in 56 minutes of action in the three games. However, it was his first action since being pulled from Game 2 of the first-round series against the Sabres.

Laviolette has rotated goaltenders this postseason with regularity -- seven times in 10 games. He started three different goalies in the first round against the Sabres -- Bobrovsky, Boucher and Michael Leighton.

Laviolette went through the regular season without designating a starter, as Bobrovsky played 54 games and Boucher 34. The Flyers were able to win that way during the regular season -- they won the Atlantic Division and finished second in the Eastern Conference -- and know that the play of their goaltender won't be the sole reason they win or lose.

"I don't know who is playing (Friday)," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said Thursday. "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."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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