Supports the Flyers

BUFFALO -- Brian Boucher is the Flyers’ Game 3 starting goalie in Buffalo, as Flyers coach Peter Laviolette announced after the team’s morning skate at HSBC Arena.

“I thought Brian came in and the last couple times has done a really nice job for us,” Laviolette said. “He’s on top of his game and in charge of his net. He’s bailed us out of a couple situations. He deserves to go in there and play.”

In a stunning turn of events, Sergei Bobrovsky, the starter in Games 1 and 2, has been relegated to a chair in the middle of the Flyers’ locker room. Bobrovsky was yanked 12 minutes into Saturday’s Game 2 when he allowed 3 goals on just 7 shots.

That likely means that Michael Leighton, who not only accompanied the Flyers to Buffalo but also had his own locker stall and took the bulk of the shots in Monday’s brief skate, will be Boucher’s back-up.

Laviolette said he would not discuss his lineup any further than Boucher being the starter, failing to confirm who would be the backup. Bobrovsky remained on the ice with the Flyers’ scratches - Jody Shelley, Nick Boynton, Erik Gustafsson, Ben Holmstrom and Chris Pronger - for a long time after his teammates exited the ice.

“With regards to lineups, that’s it,” Laviolette said.

Leighton said he could not speak to the media "on game days." Tonight would be Leighton’s first game in an NHL uniform since Dec. 30, 2010, when he allowed 4 goals against in a 7-4 Flyers win at Los Angeles.

The conventional thought is that with Boucher in net, and a lot on Bobrovsky’s mind on the bench, Leighton may be the steadier hand to turn to if Boucher falters against the Sabres.

Given Boucher’s playoff record against Buffalo, now 5-1 with a sub-2.00 goals against-average, that doesn’t seem too likely.

PRONGER OUT: Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren vehemently denied a report from Howard Eskin, as reported on NBC’s “Sports Final” show on Sunday night, that Chris Pronger suffered a second fracture in his right hand which caused a setback on March 31.

“They think they can throw whatever they want against the wall and see if it sticks,” Holmgren said on Monday.

The Flyers have never said what caused Pronger’s setback, as he was supposed to be out just 3-to-4 weeks after a March 15 surgery to repair a small fracture. Pronger was to be ready to skate in the final week of the Flyers’ regular season.

Pronger skated with his teammates for the first time on Monday since March, making harder passes and with shots gingerly being tossed at the net. He will not play in Game 3 tonight against Buffalo and his status for Game 4 also remains doubtful - thought Monday’s skate was a step in the right direction.

NODL OUT: Holmgren said that forward Andreas Nodl will miss Game 3. Nodl is out with an upper-body injury that was reported by Comcast SportsNet’s Lisa Hillary as a facial injury. Nodl did not play in the final 24 minutes of Saturday’s game. As evidenced by the morning skate, he will likely be replaced by Nik Zherdev.

LEOPOLD BACK: The Buffalo News’ Bucky Gleason reported that the Sabres may get a boost on their blue line from defenseman Jordan Leopold, who could return for Game 3 more than a week ahead of schedule. Leopold broke his hand on March 25.


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