NOW IT'S THE SAME GOALIES AS LAST YEAR
Brian Boucher will start Game 3 tonight.
Michael Leighton will be his backup.
Sergei Bobrovsky is now the No. 3 goalie.
While there's a chance the first two could flip-flop at some point in these playoffs, it wouldn't surprise me if the last one remains that way for the rest of the Spring.
Quite simply, the kid's not ready for the postseason. That's not to say the Flyers have given up on him, it's just that they recognize a need to win now, and they feel the tandem of Boucher and Leighton gives them a better chance than any to do just that.
“I thought Brian came in and the last couple times has done a really nice job for us,” Laviolette said. “He’s on top of his game and in charge of his net. He’s bailed us out of a couple situations. He deserves to go in there and play.”
As for Leighton being the backup, Laviolette wouldn't talk about it. Nor would he talk about Bobrovsky's demotion.
So how do we know for sure?
Well, Both Boucher and Leighton came off the ice with the rest of the starters following the morning practice for one while Bobrovsky again stayed on longer with the extra skaters.
And then there was General Manager Paul Holmgren, who wouldn't really comment on what the coach's decision was, but certainly hinted that Leighton was thismuch closer to playing in the playoffs than he was before.
"When we resigned Michael (this year), we thought our goaltending duo would be Leighton and Boucher," Holmgren said. "Obviously dominoes 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."
The buckshot of the whole ordeal is this: the Flyers, once again, have goalie drama in the playoffs, which has become a right of Spring. Laviolette has had success with this before - winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 with a few goalie hiccups along the way - but this is truly classic Flyers.
Speaking of Classic Flyers....
What's the truth about Chris Pronger's hand injury? Was the setback in fact another break?
That's what a report by NBC-10 in Philadelphia said last night on it's "Sports Final" show.
However Holmgren vehemently denied the report, calling it irresponsible journalism.
“They think they can throw whatever they want against the wall and see if it sticks,” Holmgren said.
However Holmgren did admit two weeks ago that Pronger had a "setback," but would still be ready for the playoffs.
I was told at the time by a source not affiliated with the team that Pronger had a second procedure on his hand after he re-injured it shooting pucks at practice in late March.
When asked if that was true, Holmgren also denied it, saying it was "completely untrue."
Now this report, which had both Holmgren and Pronger a bit annoyed at the morning skate today.
Pronger practiced with the team, but didn't take any hard shots, just flipping a few shots towards the goalies from in close. He also stayed on the ice long after the rest of the team to continue working with assistant coach Kevin McCarthy.
Pronger will not play in Game 3 and Holmgren still is calling his status day-to-day.
Another roster change that came via a source, since most of the management and coaches are now suffering from lockjaw, is that Nik Zherdev will replace Andreas Nodl in the lineup.
Nodl had a cut on his cheek in Game 2 and ended up playing just six first period shifts. The Flyers are keeping him out with an upper body injury and he is day-to-day.
On the Buffalo side, defenseman Jordan Leopold, probably their No. 2 guy behind Tyler Myers, will return tonight from a fractured hand similar to Pronger's. The difference was Leopold did not have a surgical procedure, let a lone two.
However, his return is a bit of a surprise as he appear to be 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule.