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Flyers name Boucher as Game 3 starter in goal

by Shawn P. Roarke
BUFFALO -- The Philadelphia Flyers have made Game 2 hero Brian Boucher their starter for Monday's Game 3 against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena.

"Brian Boucher will be in net," coach Peter Laviolette said to open his press conference after Monday's morning skate.

That move should not come as too big a surprise as many of the Flyers credited Boucher's steadying influence as the primary reason for Saturday's Game 2 victory, a win that saved Philadelphia from falling into an 0-2 hole in this best-of-7 series.

"Brian's bailed us out of a few situations and I feel he deserves to be in there."
-- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette

A huge surprise is that it appears Sergei Bobrovsky, the starter in the first two games, could be the odd-man out in Philadelphia's three-goalie rotation.

Laviolette refused to name his backup and the team's goalies were not talking to the media Monday morning, but it appears Bobrovsky will be in street clothes Monday night after he was the goalie left on the ice to work with Philadelphia's healthy scratches after the formal part of practice ended. He also did not have a stall in the visitor's dressing room, while both Boucher and Michael Leighton did.

In Game 2, Bobrovsky allowed three goals on just seven shots before he was pulled by Laviolette.  Boucher entered the game and stopped 20 of 21 shots to allow Philadelphia to gain its composure and grind out a 5-4 victory.  

Bobrovsky only allowed one goal in Game 1, but it was the only goal of the game as Buffalo stole home ice in the series with the 1-0 victory.

"Brian's bailed us out of a few situations and I feel he deserves to be in there," Laviolette said.

Leighton, who came on for an injured Boucher during the second round of Philadelphia's run to the Stanley Cup Final last season, has not played in the NHL since December when he played his only game of the season. He was injured for much of the first half of the year and was waived by Philadelphia to accommodate the emergence of Bobrovsky, a rookie revelation.

Leighton rejoined the team last week after clearing re-entry waivers.

GM Paul Holmgren briefly discussed his team's goalie situation during morning remarks about Chris Pronger's injury status.

He said the choice for the Game 3 starter was the coach's decision and he would have full faith in whatever way Laviolette went with it. He also talked briefly about Leighton's unusual journey this year from assumed No. 1 to minor-league starter to his unexpected return to the Flyers.

"When we resigned Michael (this year), we thought our goaltending duo would be Leighton and Boucher," Holmgren said. "Obviously dominos started to fall in training camp when Michael went down with a back injury which required surgery. Sergei's play in training camp and at the start of the year, it's just that a different scenario kind of played itself out. Sergei took advantage of an opportunity with Michael out.

"But Michael's a good goalie. He went down to American League and never (complained) and played great. He kind of got his game back and he's 100 percent healthy. If he gets an opportunity, I think he'll be fine."

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