Flyers' Boucher takes exit from game in stride

Flyers goalie Brian Boucher watches from the bench after being pulled late in the second period.
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher watches from the bench after being pulled late in the second period. (RON CORTES / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 01, 2011

Brian Boucher has done it before. He's taken the slow skate to the bench, wished his replacement well, and begun forgetting about what just happened and preparing for the next game.

It happened in the first round during Game 5 against Buffalo, when he allowed two early goals from impossible angles and was replaced by Michael Leighton. But like Sergei Bobrovsky, Leighton didn't work out. It was Boucher who came back to stop 24 of 25 shots in the Game 6 overtime victory, and it was Boucher who was solid in the 5-2 Game 7 win.

Boucher's resiliency will get yet another test because the Boston Bruins had their way with the goalie in Saturday's 7-3 rout of the Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Bruins fired five of 23 shots past him before he was relieved by Bobrovsky with 2 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the second period.

By his own admission, Boucher played poorly, but he was no worse than his teammates in front of him, who allowed the Bruins to dominate the puck and chase down rebounds without making them pay a price.

"It wasn't anything to do with the goaltending," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "It was all about us. We were brutal today."

Asked whether he expects Boucher to be back in the net for Monday's Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center, Timonen said, "I think so."

It won't be Timonen's decision, of course. That will be up to coach Peter Laviolette, who exonerated Boucher somewhat by pinning most of the blame on the Flyers defense, which spent the afternoon practically escorting the Bruins to the net.

"It wasn't very good, the defensive play, especially, you know, right in front of our goaltender," Laviolette said. "Too many easy goals. Too many easy plays. We weren't strong enough right in front of our goaltender."

Boucher said he expected to be back in the net for Game 2, but you never know with this team. As the playoffs progress, the alternatives seem less appealing. The Flyers say Leighton is injured. Bobrovsky again looked skittish, allowing two goals on 10 shots. If the 22-year-old did something that encouraged Laviolette to go back to him, he saw something not many others did. Johan Backlund, anyone?

Among them, Boucher has proved the most adept at putting a poor playoff performance behind him and moving on, and he's well-respected by his teammates.

"It wasn't a good afternoon all around for all of us," Boucher said. "We didn't get any breaks. We certainly didn't play all that well. At the same time, I don't see the need for a change, but we'll see what happens."


Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.

 

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