No word on who will be in net for the Flyers

Posted: April 18, 2011

Having registered one of the NHL's best road records this season, the Flyers do not find it a daunting task going to Buffalo for the next two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

No matter which goalie is in the net.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series, which is tied at one win apiece, is Monday at 7 p.m., and coach Peter Laviolette refused to announce his starting goalie on Sunday.

The Flyers had an optional skate in Voorhees on Sunday, and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who was the only goalie on the ice, worked for nearly an hour. Usually the goalie who is going to play the next game does not take extra practice the previous day.

That would seem to suggest that veteran Brian Boucher will get the nod.

The Flyers, coming off Saturday's wild 5-4 win in which Boucher relieved a staggering Bobrovsky in the first period, go to Buffalo with confidence.

"They've taken home ice from us and we want to get it back," defenseman Sean O'Donnell said. "We like the way we play on the road, and we don't want to go down 2-1. There's a lot of desperation to play that game."

"That house," said defenseman Kimmo Timonen, referring to HSBC Arena, "is going to be rocking. The first 10 minutes, we have to make sure we come out hard and ready to play."

During the regular season, the Flyers had the league's third-best road record (25-11-5), including a 1-0-1 mark in Buffalo. They were better on the road than at the Wells Fargo Center (22-12-7).

"We know what they're going to be like in front of their home fans," O'Donnell said. "Sometimes it's an advantage to play in front of your home fans, sometimes it's not because you tend to come out a little too jacked up and running around a little bit. We know they're going to be hungry and we have to match that."

Winger Scott Hartnell said the atmosphere in Buffalo "is going to be just like in Philly. It's going to be bananas."

In splitting the two regular-season games in Buffalo, the Flyers defeated the Sabres, 5-2, on Jan. 11, as Bobrovsky made 38 saves, Danny Briere had a goal and three assists, and Hartnell had a pair of goals.

The Sabres rallied past the visiting Flyers on April 8, scoring a 4-3 overtime win behind Nathan Gerbe's two goals. Bobrovsky was also the goalie in that matchup.

The Flyers posted the most road wins in franchise history this season.

Home teams get the last line change, but the Flyers' depth has made that a moot point.

"You look at our forwards and look at the D, and I don't think there's any bad matchups," O'Donnell said. "A lot of times on the road, it comes down to matchups and who you have against who - and I think no matter what happens, we match up pretty well. There's no real weakness that [you say], 'Oh, my God, now the Flyers have to get those guys off the ice against those guys.' "

O'Donnell said the Flyers are "more patient on the road as opposed to at home and maybe getting revved up too much. We're very confident on the road."

Like Timonen, Hartnell said the first half of the opening period is going to be critical.

"We have to take the crowd out of it," he said.

The best way to do that?

"Score," he shot back, smiling, "and maybe the boobirds will come out."

The boobirds will be heard whenever Briere, a former Sabre, touches the puck. It was Briere who scored what proved to be the winning goal on Saturday. He has tortured his ex-teammates ever since he signed with the Flyers four seasons ago.

Hartnell said the teams are developing a genuine dislike for each other. That was evident in a chippy game Saturday that included 24 penalties - and a bout between Hartnell and Paul Gaustad. The 6-foot-5, 212-pound Gaustad had gotten Hartnell's ire by dumping the diminutive Briere to the ice with his stick on a faceoff.

Gaustad won the fight.

"He did a good job of getting my jersey over my face right off the bat," Hartnell said, "and I was throwing [punches] blind. But what he did to Danny B was unacceptable. I was sticking up for him. I know Danny's not going to go toe-to-toe with him, and it might as well be me."


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

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