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Philadelphia returns to Boucher for Game 2

by Adam Kimelman /
PHILADELPHIA -- While outsiders might see the Philadelphia Flyers' goalie situation as an ever-spinning carousel, the players in the locker room see it as just another day at the office.

"It's the way we do it here, I guess," said Flyers center Danny Briere.

For Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS), they'll come back with Game 1 starter Brian Boucher. Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who opened the postseason as the starter and replaced Boucher in Game 1 against the Bruins, will be the backup.

Boucher was pulled with 3:23 left in the second period of Game 1 on Saturday, after allowing five goals on 23 shots. However, coach Peter Laviolette said his decision to start Boucher again is part of a team-wide theme of making up for what was considered a 20-man let-down.

"Brian will go back in net today," said Laviolette. "Today for me is a game where we all have to go back in there and try and right some wrongs. Everybody gets an opportunity and he deserves it."

Rather than place blame on the goaltending, the players know they need to be better in front of their net and their netminder.

"I don't blame Boosh for that first game," said defenseman Sean O'Donnell. "As a team that was a real poor defensive game we played. I don't think it was really indicative of bad goals. As a team we need to be better in Game 2."

"Boosh has been great for us," forward Darroll Powe told, "in the playoffs and the regular season. We're confident in Boosh. "It was too easy for them last game. Tonight I expect a better performance."

That the attempt at a better performance comes in front of Boucher makes no difference to the rest of the team. Boucher is one of three goaltenders to start at least one game for the Flyers, but he's the only goalie to complete more than one game. The Flyers have changed goaltenders four times in their first eight games, and were the first team since the 1988 Detroit Red Wings to win a playoff series with three different starting goaltenders.

"We're confident in our goalies and whatever guy gets in there we know he's going to compete for us," said Powe. "We just have to go out here and work hard for him."

Bobrovsky was solid to start the postseason against the Buffalo Sabres, allowing one goal on 25 shots, but he was yanked 12:30 into Game 2 after letting in three goals on seven shots. Boucher replaced him and allowed the Flyers to come back and win that game to even the series.

As a result, Boucher earned starts in Games 3, 4 and 5, but he was pulled 15:36 into Game 5 after letting in three goals on 11 shots. He was replaced by Michael Leighton -- last year's starter in the Stanley Cup Final who spent most of the season in the minor leagues -- who kept the Flyers close but allowed Tyler Ennis' overtime goal. Leighton was given the start in Game 6 in Buffalo, but was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots in one period. Boucher returned to stop 24 shots as the Flyers won in overtime.

Boucher started and won Game 7, allowing just two goals on 28 shots, which earned him the net for Game 1 against the Bruins. However, that lasted until the 16:37 mark of the second period of Game 1, when he was pulled and replaced by Bobrovsky, who let in two goals on 10 shots.

"It's not the most orthodox way of doing things," said O'Donnell, "but you do whatever you have to do to get the win. Three goal changes in one series is unorthodox, but we did it and we got by Buffalo."

The players have appeared to stop paying attention to who starts in net.

During the regular season Bobrovsky started 52 games, while Boucher played in 34, starting 29. Leighton also started one game, so the revolving crease is something with the players have had seven months to absorb.

And it certainly seemed to work, as the Flyers held first place in the Eastern Conference for most of the regular season, and despite a late slump, they managed to win the Atlantic Division and finish second in the conference.

"We haven't cared all year long," Briere said of the goaltending situation. "Both of them (Boucher and Bobrovsky), they've been good for the most part. Like everybody else they've had some tougher games, like we all have. But it never mattered and it's not going to start at this point."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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