Flyers Notes: Flyers' Laviolette goes with Boucher over Bobrovsky in goal on Saturday

Posted: November 21, 2010

Flyers Notes

WASHINGTON - In a stunning move, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette started backup goalie Brian Boucher Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, the NHL's best team.

It was Boucher's first start since Oct. 25, a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky made 12 straight starts over a 24-day span. In Thursday's 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bobrovsky allowed four first-period goals and was replaced by Boucher for the final two periods.

Bobrovsky acknowledged before Saturday's game that he had "some fatigue" on Thursday.

Prior to Saturday's matchup, Laviolette said he started Bobrovsky against Tampa - a much weaker team than Washington - because he wanted to give Bobrovsky a chance to rebound from a 3-0 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday.

"I trust and rely on all my players in the room - you've got to," Laviolette said before Boucher faced the high-scoring Capitals. "[Bobrovsky] was on a run. He went 9-0-1 - not him, but he was in the net - and got 19 out of 20 points.

"It was a funny game against Montreal, and we wanted to give him another chance and get him back in there, and now we'll make the change. The results haven't gone our way [in the last two games], but I'm not putting this on the goaltenders, by any means.

"We had good success as a team. We didn't have success in the last two games, and tonight we'll make a change and put [Boucher] in there."

Bobrovsky is among the NHL leaders in wins (11, tied for second), goals-against average (2.29, 10th), and save percentage (.925, ninth). Boucher began the night 1-3-1 with a 2.82 GAA and a .882 save percentage

"I'm not surprised at all," Bobrovsky said, through an interpreter, about not starting against the Caps. "I think it's the right decision by the coaches to give me a little rest after the Tampa game."

The 22-year-old rookie said he had "some fatigue" in his last game and "obviously I wasn't as fresh as I was the first game . . . but it's nothing to be worried about."

Bobrovsky said he didn't ask for the night off. "I had a conversation with the goalie coach [Jeff Reese] and it was decided that I should rest, and it will be better for the team, too," he said.

Third-pair shines

Defenseman Sean O'Donnell entered Saturday tied for the NHL lead at plus-15 with Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

O'Donnell's defensive partner, Andrej Meszaros, was tied for third in the league at plus-13.

"I think the pair has chemistry," Laviolette said.

O'Donnell is one of three NHL defensemen who have been "plus" players in the last seven seasons. Niklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski are the others.

Remembering Burns

Laviolette spoke fondly about Pat Burns, the former head coach of Montreal, Toronto, Boston, and New Jersey, who died of cancer at age 58 on Friday. Burns was the Bruins' head coach when he made Laviolette one of his assistants in 2000.

"He gave me my first shot in the NHL as an assistant," Laviolette said. "Great guy and great coach. . . . He wasn't very old and he fought like hell against a nasty disease." - Sam Carchidi

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