Brian Boucher, who came into Sunday’s Game 6 in relief of Michael Leighton and backstopped a 5-4 Flyers OT victory over the Buffalo Sabres, was tapped as the starter for Tuesday’s decisive Game 7, CSN Philadelphia reports.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Buffalo coach Peter Laviolette said. “Brian expects to start, and I respect that about him. He had an opportunity tonight to come in and help this team live for another day, and he was tremendous.”
Leighton was the third different goalie to start in the series. The Flyers entered the series with Sergei Bobrovsky in net. After he flamed out in Game 2, Boucher got the starts in Games 3-5 before Leighton -- who carried the Flyers deep in the playoff a season ago after Boucher went down with simultaneous knee injuries -- got the start in Game 6.
Here’s more from CSN Philly:
Laviolette’s three-headed goalie monster this series is the first time in Flyers history that the team has used a trio of netminders in one playoff series, but Boucher is used to the juggling.
“Isn’t it always bizarre in Philadelphia with goaltenders?” Boucher said. “I mean, it’s nothing new. I’m pretty used to it. I know when I came back here I knew what I was getting myself into, so you just roll with the punches and deal with it.”
Despite the revolving door in the crease this series, one thing is for sure – the Flyers don’t change their style when a new mask appears between the pipes behind them. Philadelphia’s ferocious forecheck gave the Sabres fits Sunday, especially in the second period when they rallied to tie the game on Danny Briere’s power-play goal 8:43 in.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Bob, Boosh or Leights,” Meszaros said. “It’s the playoffs.”
“Brian brought us a sense of calmness when he came in,” winger Kris Versteeg said. “That’s what we needed. Being down so quickly I think sometimes your emotions can get the best of you. We knew that we had a team that can score goals, we just had to stick to the plan.”
Leighton allowed three goals off eight shots before he replaced by Boucher after the first intermission on Sunday. Boucher probably would have liked to have that one goal he allowed on 25 shots --- a volley from the point by Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe in the third period that deflected off a Flyers defenseman’s stick -- but he provided the steadiness in net that settled the Flyers en route to another comeback.
-- A.J. Perez