Vinny Lecavalier, who? Martin St. Louis, no problem. Steven Stamkos, sit down whippersnapper. Former teammate Simon Gagne, sorry but no dice. Brian Boucher stared down these four high-powered forwards for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the Flyers 4-3 shootout victory last night, and they all skated back to the bench with the same result: bupkis. Boucher's stellar play highlighted a win that featured the unusual for Philadelphia, including a short-handed penalty shot goal from Darroll Powe, the first fight in James van Riemsdyk's career, and the game-winner coming from none other than Kimmo Timonen in the seventh round of the shootout.
Again, head coach Peter Laviolette made the right move. Sergei Bobrovsky has had his struggles with the Lightning this season, so Puppetmaster Pete pulled the strings, and it turned into a victory for his team that may be pivotal down the stretch. This is not a rare situation for Laviolette's Flyers this season. He has juggled his lines, his strategies, and his goaltenders all season long. At the end of the day, though, it has always worked out for the best.
That being said, there are still some issues with this team as they continue to march towards home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs, most notably the power play, which looked futile again last night. However, for the most part, this team is doing and saying all the right things, and Laviolette's little tweaks along the way have panned out as well, including the way he has handled his goaltenders.
There are many people in the hockey world that believe a team cannot win a championship without having a consistent presence between the pipes. What these people obviously don't understand is that the 2011 Philadelphia Flyers are anything but conventional, so why should they pretend to be?
Is it possible that Boucher and Bobrovsky splitting time for the rest of the season, including the playoffs, be the best thing for this team? With this team, why not. The Flyers have received contributions from everyone on their roster up to this point in the season, so why not continue to spread it around. It is obviously working. We all know how the old saying goes: If it isn't broke, don't fix it.
It seems as though Boosh and Bob feed off of each other. They pick each other up when it is needed the most. They try to out-perform one another. They learn from each other along the way. The push each other to be better than they were the night before, and it is the team that benefits the most.
Five years from now, in all likelihood, Bobrovsky will more than likely be the one manning the cage for this team. Right now, however, this town is definitely big enough for the two of them, and there might even be a little room left over to fit the Holy Grail of Hockey: Lord Stanley's Cup.