Flyers Notes: Bobrovsky to be back in net for Flyers

Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was scheduled to return to the starting lineup Wednesday night.
Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was scheduled to return to the starting lineup Wednesday night.
Posted: November 25, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - After being rested for two games, rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was scheduled to returnto the Flyers' lineup Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Before sitting, Bobrovsky had started 12 straight games and established himself as the team's No. 1 goalie. Brian Boucher had started the previous two games - a 5-4 shoot-out win in Washington and a 3-2 victory over Montreal.

Bobrovsky took an 11-3-1 record into Wednesday, along with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage. He could become the first Flyer to win the Calder Trophy, awarded to the league's top rookie.

By sitting out two games, Bobrovsky was given "an opportunity to work with [goalie coach] Jeff Reese, and that was good for him," coach Peter Laviolette said before the game. "I think it's important . . . that you continue to work on your game. You just don't get that a lot of times when you're playing game after game after game, especially at that position."

Bobrovsky has been susceptible to high shots, and he no doubt worked on that with Reese.

"He did get some extra time with Jeff and a chance to watch some things, and get away from the pressure for a little bit," Laviolette said. "I think it was a good break for him, and now he gets an opportunity to come back in here. He's played in this building once already and played pretty good here."

In the preseason, Bobrovsky helped the Flyers defeat Minnesota, 3-2, in a shoot-out. Bobrovsky made 26 saves and outplayed Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom in that game.

Stress reducer

The Flyers took the NHL's best record into Wednesday. At their current pace, they will not need a win in the final game of the regular season just to sneak into the playoffs - like last season.

The goal, defenseman Matt Carle said, is to accumulate points "so it won't be as stressful coming down the stretch. We don't really care where we are in the standings. We just want to try to get better every day. It doesn't mean you let off the gas pedal at all, but it will be less stressful."

Down the road, it could also enable the Flyers to reduce the minutes played by veterans Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.

Breakaways

Claude Giroux began the night with 12 goals. He didn't score his 12th last season until Feb. 1, and he finished with 16. . . . Except for the goalie change, the Flyers went with the same lineup they used against Montreal. Eric Wellwood was again a healthy scratch. . . . Minnesota began the night with the league's second-best power play, clicking at 26.3 percent. The Flyers were 12th, at 18 percent. . . . Entering Wednesday, Jeff Carter was fourth in the NHL with 89 shots on goal, behind Chicago's Patrick Sharp (97), Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin (94), and Washington's Alex Ovechkin (91).

Every Flyer except Jody Shelley entered Wednesday with a "plus" ranking. Nineteen Flyers had plus rankings and Shelley was even. Conversely, Minnesota had only four plus players and 14 minus players. . . . Before Wednesday, Mike Richards had 22 points in his last 16 games. . . . The Flyers began the night with the NHL's most goals (78), while the Wild had the league's third-lowest total (46).


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.

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