Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Reasons They Don't Need to Choose a Playoff Goalie
The Philadelphia Flyers ended up not getting the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference after going 3-4-3 in the last 10 games of the season.
Their first matchup will put them against the Buffalo Sabres.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been named the starting playoff goaltender, but that does not mean Brian Boucher will not play.
The Flyers switched goalies last season when they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Here are five reasons why they do not need to pick one goalie or the other.
Sergei Bobrovsky Has Looked Shaky
Sergei Bobrovsky has had his ups and down through his first season with the Flyers and in the NHL.
Overall, he has played very well for a rookie.
He ended up 28-13-8 with a 2.59 goals against average (GAA) and a .915 save percentage.
However, heading into the playoffs, Bobrovsky has looked shaky in multiple games.
In his last five games, Bob is 0-2-2 with a 2.80 GAA. That includes his last tune-up for the playoffs where he gave up three goals on 10 shots. Bobrovsky was pulled in his last start heading into the playoffs.
Some confidence builder that was.
Bob is still the starting goalie for Game 1 of the quarterfinals, but he should be on a short leash.
He should also split time with Boucher throughout the first couple series to take some pressure off the youngster.
Both Goaltenders Have Proved That They Deserve to Be Starting
Both goaltenders, throughout the 2010-2011 season, have proved that they both should play in the playoffs.
Both have shown that they are good enough to be starting for the Atlantic Division Champions.
Sergei Bobrovsky has played in 54 games, while Brian Boucher was in net for 34.
Bobrovsky has the better skill set and more potential, but Boucher has the experience. Boucher has been in the playoffs and in the Eastern Conference Finals before.
Combined, the goalies are 46-23-12 with a 2.51 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
Their Offense Can Pick Them Up
One of the biggest strengths for the Philadelphia Flyers is their depth and strength on offense.
As a team they were third in the league averaging 3.12 goals per game.
They had seven 20-goal scorers and 11 players with over 20 assists.
Each of the scoring lines has at least one true scoring threat in either Danny Briere, Mike Richards or Jeff Carter.
The Flyers owned the second period this year. Their 94 goals in that frame led the league.
With the offense they have, the Flyers goaltenders can afford to not play their best and still get a W.
Chris Pronger Will Be Back on Defense
Chris Pronger is now listed as day-to-day as he recovers from a broken right hand.
With him back in the lineup, the Flyers are a totally different team, and play much more sound defense.
That is how much he means to this team. After all, he was named team MVP last season after their magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
With Pronger's return, there will be pressure lifted off both goaltenders. They know that they will have a defensive force in front of the net keeping all screeners out of the way.
Both goalies should feel comfortable with Pronger back on the ice.
They Have Done It Before
Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher were the main reasons the Flyers made the run that they did last year.
Both goalies played some of the best hockey of their careers at the opportune moments.
The Flyers have not had a true No. 1 goalie since Ron Hextall arguably. Since Hextall left in 1999, the Flyers have started 16 different goalies.
This season was no exception to the rule. The Flyers got contribution from three goalies and they have been fine about splitting time.
The Flyers have had success with the goaltender-by-committee philosophy, but have yet to win a Stanley Cup doing so.
Is this year the year?