While most of Philadelphia sports fans' eyes will be focusing on the Phillies, at 7 p.m. EST at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers will host the Anaheim Ducks for the first of two meetings between the clubs.
But this is a game that is not just an ordinary meeting for the Flyers. This marks the first time in the 2010-2011 season that the starting goalie will be the same as the game before.
Previously, in this still young season, Laviolette has chosen to flip-flop goalies every game.
After an embarrassing, penalty-filled loss to the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins, it was almost assumed that Brian Boucher would get the nod, as it was his turn to ride the carousel. However, Laviolette has decided to stick with the Russian netminder for back-to-back games.
This could have something to do with the extended period in between games; their last one was Saturday. It could also have to do with the fact that despite giving up four goals, Bobrovsky played relatively well.
Bobrosvky followed the pucks through crowds during even-strength play, but the numerous shorthanded opportunities, with two 5-3s, resulted in his downfall.
This decision is big in a few ways. First, it allows the Flyers to see how a young, first-time NHL goalie rebounds after a trying outing.
His past history shows he has been able to handle getting lit up, as he played for one of the worst teams in the KHL but still managed good numbers. But in the NHL, he is unproven with this task.
It also gives the Flyers' brass the chance to see how he handles multiple starts in a row. Never a fan of the goalie-by-committee method that has routinely been employed in Philadelphia, I can't help but see this as a positive step for both Bobrovsky and the club.
This could lay the ground work for Bobrovsky being handed a much bigger role down the stretch.
The consecutive starts will help the defense settle in with Bobrovsky and his style of game. Bobrovsky speaks very little English, and the best remedy to the communication issue is learning by doing.
Practice situations can aid this only so much, but it is the game experience together as a unit, goalie and defense corps, that will result in less turnovers and less botched communication.
The confidence and comfortability that can be built on with a permanent fixture in net will result in an all-around better on-ice effort. Less penalties will be taken (something that needs to be addressed) simply because more players will be on the same page—this results in less running around, less undisciplined D-zone penalties.
Bobrovsky and the defense need to come to play tonight if they want to permanently end this revolving door of goaltenders. It is only after the goaltending situation is settled that real chemistry can be formed in the defensive zone and translate in more wins.
A bad game tonight could plant the seed of doubt in the mind of Laviolette, and cause Boucher to start in their next game against the hot Maple Leafs, starting the goalie carousel all over again.
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