No word yet on who will start in goal for Flyers

Buffalo's Tyler Ennis puts a rebound past Michael Leighton for the game-winner. Leighton relieved Brian Boucher in the Flyers' net in first period.
Buffalo's Tyler Ennis puts a rebound past Michael Leighton for the game-winner. Leighton relieved Brian Boucher in the Flyers' net in first period.
Posted: April 24, 2011

So, who starts for the Flyers as they try to stare down elimination in Game 6 Sunday afternoon in Buffalo?

Veteran Brian Boucher, the guy who yielded two of the worst goals of the season in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 5 on Friday?

Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who surrendered three goals on seven shots in Game 2 and hasn't even dressed for the last three games?

Journeyman Michael Leighton, who allowed a juicy rebound that produced the winning goal Friday in overtime?

Boosh, Bob, or Leights? Or perhaps a period for each (Boosh-rovsky-ton) - before putting in a call for Johan Backlund if the game goes into OT?

After Saturday's practice in Voorhees, coach Peter Laviolette would not name his goalie for Sunday. Buffalo, seeded seventh, has a three-games-to-two lead and can wrap up the series by defeating the second-seeded Flyers.

The goalie selection - and whether injured defenseman Chris Pronger returns to the lineup - adds suspense to Sunday's 3 p.m. matchup.

Pronger, who skated and took shots during Saturday's practice, hasn't played since March 8 because of a broken right hand. He will be a game-time decision Sunday, but Jeff Carter (knee) isn't expected to play the rest of the series.

Laviolette was asked whether he would make his goalie selection based more on the netminders' work in the regular season or the playoffs.

"For me, it will probably be a combination of everything," he said. "Certainly, where we're at right now and how the playoffs have gone will factor into it probably more than how someone played halfway through the year or the beginning of the year or last year."

Aside from the last game, Boucher has been steady all season, which is why he is expected to get the call.

Bobrovsky's confidence probably is shot for this series, and Leighton didn't instill much trust with his shaky OT goal Friday.

Boucher joked with reporters after Saturday's practice. Asked how he slept Friday after his early-game meltdown, Boucher smiled.

"From a medical standpoint, are you asking?" he replied.

He paused.

"I was upset after [Friday's game]. Look, I said it [Friday]. I take responsibility for the first two goals. My mistake, and I put my team in a hole, so I wasn't happy about that. . . . But if you're asking medically how I slept, I slept fine. I got about eight hours. Thanks for asking."

Leighton hinted that he thought Boucher would get the start but said he was ready if he got the nod. He said he was preparing as if he was starting.

"That's the mentality," said Leighton, who is signed through the end of next season. ". . . You focus on what you can do and what you can bring."

He said the goalie didn't have to do "anything special. We just have to do our jobs and make the saves we have to make, and hopefully win."

Boucher, 34, who is unsigned after this season, said he "absolutely" would like to start Sunday and have a chance to redeem himself.

"I still feel very good about my game," he said. "I don't know how many minutes [elapsed] after those two goals went in. It's not very many, but the only way you can have it back is by getting back in there and making amends for it."

Boucher said the Flyers were confident because they overcame a three-games-to-none deficit and beat Boston in last year's epic conference semifinals.

"I know our guys will play with a sense of urgency," Boucher said. "We did it [Friday] once it was 3-0; we really took it to them, I thought."

Laviolette downplayed last year's comeback against Boston, saying every team creates its own identity.

But the coach believes that the Flyers have outplayed the Sabres, and that if they continue to out-chance the Sabres, the series could be altered.

"The most important thing is to go up there with the belief you're going to win a hockey game," he said. "I think we can take a lot of confidence in the way we've played in the series. You want better results . . . and that's what we need to change."


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

 

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