Flyers' Bobrovsky expected to start in goal vs. Penguins
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wouldn't commit to his starting goalie against visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday, but dropped hints that rookie Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky would get the call.
And, based on the fact that Brian Boucher struggled in the Flyers' 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday, don't be surprised if Bobrovsky is given several starts in a row.
Laviolette has alternated goalies through the first four games. After Friday's practice in Voorhees, Laviolette said he would take Bobrovksy's strong opening-night showing against Pittsburgh into consideration - the Flyers won, 3-2 - when he selects Saturday's goalie.
That means Bobrovsky figures to start Saturday and, with another solid performance, could get the nod Thursday against Anaheim.
Bobrovsky is 2-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Boucher is 0-1-1 with a 2.50 GAA and .898 save percentage.
Since Danny Briere scored on a power play in the opener in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have gone 15 straight power plays without a goal. In four games, they are 1 for 17 (5.9 percent) on the power play.
With that in mind, the Flyers mixed some of the power-play units Friday. They had their Alphabet Soup Line - Claude "G" Giroux, James "JVR" van Riemsdyk and Nik "Z" Zherdev - together on one of the power-play units.
"We tried something new," said Giroux, who has centered the identical line in even-strength situations, "and hopefully it'll work. To win games, you have to be able to score on the power play."
Giroux, owner of two shorthanded goals this season, said the Flyers "need to get a little bit dirtier and get some dirty goals," on the power play. "We've played a little too cute, playing on the outside. We have to get dirty and get in front of the net. That's how power-play goals are scored."
The Flyers were third in the NHL with a 21.5 percent success rate on the power play last season.
Assistant coach Joe Mullen said the Flyers are "trying to find combinations that work, but we definitely have the talent to have a good power play. We just need to have some cohesiveness."
Quite simply, the Flyers need to show more desperation and urgency when they have an extra attacker, said defenseman Chris Pronger, who quarterbacks the power play but is still getting into sync after missing the preseason - and the first two games - because of a knee surgery.
Several different left wingers, including van Riemsdyk and Andreas Nodl, were with Richards and right winger Jeff Carter during Friday's practice. Nodl could see his first action of the season Saturday.
Matt Walker, acquired in the Simon Gagne deal in July, may need hip surgery, general manager Paul Holmgren said after Thursday's practice.
Walker was injured in a preseason fight against New Jersey. If he has the surgery, he will be sidelined "a couple months," Holmgren said, adding he will have "a clear direction" on Walker's medical status after hearing from another specialist this weekend.
The Penguins are missing four key players who are injured: center Jordan Staal, right winger and ex-Flyer Arron Asham, and defensemen Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek. . . . Entering Friday's game against the Islanders, Pens stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had not produced a third-period point this season. . . . There are 200 tickets left for Saturday's game. . . . Tickets to the 34th annual Flyers Wives Carnival, which will be held Feb. 27, will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. at 1-800-298-4200, online at ComcastTIX.com, or at the Wells Fargo Center box office.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.