It seems like every single playoff season, the Philadelphia Flyers have some kind of goaltending controversy or situation to deal with.
This year's Stanley Cup Playoffs will be no different for the Broadstreet Bullies as the team has to decide between rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, veteran Brian Boucher and now, the netminder who helped lead them to the Cup Final last season, Michael Leighton; Leighton cleared re-entry waivers yesterday.
Believe it or not, a case can be made for all three netminders. Starting with the rookie Bobrovsky, you have a young goaltender who is quick, and relies on his athletic ability to stop pucks.
This season, the 22-year-old Bobrovsky has gone 28-13-7 with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage; certainly not bad for a rookie in his first season in North America. While he does have to cut down on allowing soft goals at the wrong time in a hockey game, he has a ton of potential to get the Flyers back where they think they belong.
On the other hand, you have the veteran Boucher. The 34-year-old is 17-10-4 with a 2.45 GAA and a .914 save percentage in 33 games this season. This is the same netminder who helped the Flyers beat the Devils in the first round of last year and played pretty well in the second round against the Boston Bruins until he got hurt in Game 5.
As of yesterday, Leighton has rejoined the Flyers and may even start on Saturday night when his team takes on the New York Islanders. In 30 AHL games this season, Leighton has a 2.22 GAA with a .926 save percentage. Leighton was one of the big reasons that the Flyers were able to turn their season around in 2009/10 and go deep in the playoffs. After replacing Boucher against Boston, he was between the pipes from there on out.
As shown last spring, you do not need a superstar netminder to get the Cup Finals (or to win the Cup for that matter). What you do need, however, is a capable goaltender who will stop the shots in key moments and give his team every opportunity to win.
Even though it seems like Bobrovsky will start the postseason starter, will the veteran or last year's hero get called upon at any point? Whomever it is, he will need to help the Flyers get over this funk they've been in for much of the second half.
A goalie controversy in Philadelphia? No way!
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