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Bobrovsky's play needs no translation as Flyers beat Penguins (Todays paper nwes, 8 Oct 10) Rate Topic: -----

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:34 AM

Bobrovsky's play needs no translation as Flyers beat Penguins

POSTED: October 8, 2010 By FRANK SERAVALLI

seravaf@phillynews.com



PITTSBURGH - One night after Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter in his postseason debut, Sergei Bobrovsky did his best to match him.

Bobrovsky, unearthed from Russia, flirted with perfection in his own debut last night, holding the Pittsburgh Penguins scoreless through two periods. Bobrovsky skated off the ice leaving the Flyers wondering if they have finally found a goaltender.

Bobrovsky bailed out the Flyers in the first period and, despite allowing two third-period goals, stopped 29 of 31 shots to carry the team to an impressive, 3-2 opening-night victory.

As the youngest goaltender to start a season opener in Flyers history, the 22-year-old Bobrovsky seemingly was not fazed by anything. He wasn't rattled by the grand opening of the palatial Consol Energy Arena, a deep-rooted and hate-filled Flyers and Penguins rivalry, or even facing two of the purest goal scorers in Sidney Crosby and fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin.

"I wasn't too nervous, I was ready for this," Bobrovsky said with the help of translator Alex Gluhovsky. "At times, I had to make saves. At times, other guys had to make plays. But it was a whole team effort. It wasn't anything too out of the ordinary.

"It doesn't really matter to me if it's a rivalry or not. It doesn't really matter who we play. It's a game you have to come out and win."

Bobrovsky did just that, becoming the first Flyers goalie to win his NHL debut since Antero Niittymaki did it in 2004.

Last year, the Flyers rode newcomer Ray Emery to a 2-0 shutout on opening night in Carolina. Emery only ended up making 29 starts before being sidelined with a season-ending hip surgery.

Bobrovsky was perhaps the most impressive at the beginning - surviving a Penguins onslaught during the opening 10 minutes that included a timeout by coach Peter Laviolette and at least four defensive-zone turnovers - and at the end of the game, when the Penguins finished the final 74 seconds with a man advantage.

"I thought he played a really good game," Laviolette said. "In the first period, he played really strong and we played sloppy. We turned the puck over far too many times in the defensive zone and in the neutral zone. He made save after save in the first period."

Laviolette's timeout - and subsequent tongue-lashing during the first period - settled the Flyers and allowed them time to regroup, playing without top defenseman Chris Pronger.

"Early on there, it could have easily been 2 or 3-0," defenseman Matt Carle said. "He really stood on his head. He was ready to play. Once we got our legs under us, we got some ugly goals and started created chances."

Danny Briere etched his name into the blank Consol Energy Arena record books by notching the game's first goal, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead on the power play 2:51 into the second period.

Blair Betts chipped in to make it 2-0 less than 15 minutes later.

Then, as the quiet building started to whisper the word shutout, Tyler Kennedy beat Bobrovsky 44 seconds into the third period with a shot parallel with the goal line. A similar, strange-angle shot - something Bobrovsky has been working on - beat him in a rookie scrimmage less than a month ago in Washington.

Last night, Bobrovsky was a world away from that rookie game.

"Guys are more focused on shooting the puck and attacking the puck," Bobrovsky said of the difference between the preseason and regular season. "There is a difference. I wasn't too surprised. I prepared all preseason. I worked hard all offseason to not sit [on the bench]."

Claude Giroux's first career shorthanded goal, after pickpocketing Kris Letang at the blue line and roasting Marc-Andre Fleury with a dazzling move, gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

"I remember in camp, me and Danny [Briere] were thinking 'Who is this kid?' " Giroux said of Bobrovsky. "We couldn't score on him. All preseason, he played well, so it didn't surprise me. We're all happy for him."

Alex Goligoski's bouncing power-play goal 19 seconds later cut the difference to one.

In the waning seconds, with the puck dancing on Crosby's stick at the blue line and the first win of the season hanging in the balance, Bobrovsky was the difference with ice in his veins.

"It didn't matter to me whether it was Malkin or Crosby," Bobrovsky said, smiling. "I just needed to stop the shot."



Slap shots


Claude Giroux got postgame X-rays, after getting hit with a shot during the game. Giroux was visibly favoring an ankle after speaking with reporters. General manager Paul Holmgren said it was "nothing," without even seeing the results, and that Giroux will be ready for tomorrow night's game in St. Louis . . . The Flyers have opened eight buildings in their franchise history, including the Spectrum and the Wells Fargo Center, posting a 4-3-1 record.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers. Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.



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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:35 AM

Rookie goalie paces Flyers to a 3-2 season-opening win

POSTED: October 8, 2010 By Sam Carchidi

Inquirer Staff Writer



PITTSBURGH - Nobody ever accused Peter Laviolette of not being a risk taker.

Laviolette, in his first full season as the Flyers' coach, boldly made 22-year-old Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky the youngest goalie to ever start a season opener for the franchise Thursday.

Twenty-nine saves later, Bobrovsky made Laviolette look like a genius.

Making his NHL debut, the Russian netminder showed his flashy preseason wasn't a fluke, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, in the teams' season opener and ruining the opening of the Consol Energy Center.

"I thought he was great tonight," said Braydon Coburn, who aided a defensive unit that was minus the injured Chris Pronger. "He just kept up what he did in the preseason. . . . I thought he was stellar in the preseason, and there's a reason he was starting tonight. You go with the hot goalie."

Bobrovsky, who was named the game's No. 1 star, became the first Flyers goalie to win his NHL debut since Antero Niittymaki in 2004 against Washington.

It was the unflappable Bobrovsky who made the difference by making 15 saves in a scoreless first period that was dominated by the Penguins.

"They generated a lot of opportunities," Laviolette said, "and he made save after save."

"It wasn't me," Bobrovsky said through a Russian translator. "It's a team game, and I think the whole team played extremely well."

The baby-faced goalie said he did not have jitters about getting the opening-night start.

"It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I wasn't too nervous. I was ready for this," he said. "I prepared all preseason. I worked hard for it."

The Flyers, who overcame a sloppy start with a strong second period, got goals from Danny Briere, Blair Betts, and Claude Giroux.

Giroux, who banged up his ankle during the game and had X-rays taken afterward, scored on a shorthanded goal - the first of his career - early in the third period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

Earlier, Briere, stationed to the right of the net, redirected Mike Richards' deft pass from the point past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's glove on the short side with 17 minutes left in the second period. The power-play goal gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

"My first two years with the Flyers, I was used to having Richie back on the point on the power play," Briere said. "We scored a few goals like that. . . . When we won the face-off and he got the puck, all I was thinking was to find the open space by the side of the net.

"Richie found me; just like the good old days, I guess."

With 2 minutes, 45 second left in the second period, Darroll Powe tipped James van Riemsdyk's shot off Fleury, and Betts knocked in the rebound to put the Flyers ahead by two, 2-0.

Forty-four seconds into the third period, however, the sellout crowd erupted as Tyler Kennedy, from a bad angle near the top of the left circle, beat Bobrovsky to cut the Penguins' deficit to 2-1.

During a third-period power play, Giroux made the play of the night, stealing the puck from defenseman Kris Letang and scoring after some dazzling moves. His forehand-backhand-forehand maneuver faked Fleury and gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 15:05 remaining.

Nineteen seconds after Giroux's goal, Pittsburgh got to within a goal, at 3-2, when defenseman Alex Goligoski scored on a point drive with one second left on the power play. The shot appeared to deflect off Coburn.

The Flyers downplayed Laviolette's decision to start Bobrovsky over veteran Brian Boucher.

"We showed last year that no matter who is back there, it's not going to change the way we play," defenseman Matt Carle said before the game. "He played well in the preseason, and he deserves it, for sure."

A few minutes before the game, Pittsburgh co-owner Mario Lemieux christened his team's spectacular new arena by pouring water - it came from the Penguins' old digs, across the street - onto the Pens' center-ice logo.

The fans cheered wildly.

Earlier in the day, the Penguins walked into the arena on a red carpet that stretched outside the spectacular 18,087-seat building (the "87" is in honor of Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby).

But the Flyers were rude guests.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter/BroadStBull.



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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:37 AM

Flyers rookie goalie impressive

By CHUCK GORMLEY • Courier-Post Staff • October 8, 2010


PITTSBURGH — If Thursday night's performance is any indication, the Sergei Bobrovsky era could be upon us.

Facing one of the NHL's most explosive lineups in his NHL debut, the Flyers' 22-year-old Russian rookie showed flashes of his raw athletic ability in a season-opening 3-2 win over the Penguins in front of a sellout crowd of 18,087 inside the pristine CONSOL Energy Center.
"It wasn't anything extraordinary," Bobrovsky said through an interpreter after stopping 29 of 31 shots, including five off the stick of Evgeni Malkin. "I wasn't too nervous. I was ready for this."
Not since Ron Hextall in 1986 have the Flyers been so excited about a young and relatively unknown goaltender and if first impressions are lasting ones, Bobrovsky has a shot at being the first franchise goalie since Hextall.

"I don't think his first 30 days here was a fluke," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He was solid from the time we started watching him until it was time to pick the goaltender for tonight and Bob went in there and did his job very well."
Danny Briere scored on the power play, Blair Betts scored at even strength and Claude Giroux's highlight shorthanded goal stood up as the game-winner as the Flyers handed the Pens their first loss in their new arena after three preseason wins.
The night, however, belonged to the 22-year-old rookie from Novokuznetsk, Russia.
"I thought he was great," said Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. "He just kept up what he was doing in the preseason."
It didn't take long for Bobrovsky to be tested or for Laviolette to show his impatient side.
The 45-year-old coach tore into his players for their raggedy play in the first period, in which the Flyers were outshot 15-9 and would have been trailing if not for the acrobatic goaltending of Bobrovsky.
"We kind of got some heat after the first period because we definitely didn't play our game in the first period," defenseman Matt Carle said. "We were trying to be too cute and we needed get back to the basics."

Bobrovsky played like Gumby in the opening period, diving all over his crease to stop former Flyer Mike Comrie four times, Malkin twice and Sidney Crosby on a point-blank chance on a 2-on-1 with Pascal Dupuis.

The Flyers found their traction in the second period and when Giroux, who after the game had X-rays of his foot, drew a hooking penalty on rookie defenseman Deryk Engelland, Briere converted on the power play, redirecting a Mike Richards pass/shot over Marc-Andre Fleury for a 1-0 lead at the 2:51 mark. Jody Shelley took an ill-advised goalie interference penalty less than a minute later but after rookie Mark Letestu hit the post on the power play the Flyers made it 2-0 on a dirty goal by Blair Betts.
Darroll Powe crashed the net on a James van Riemsdyk shot, deflecting the puck off Fleury and onto the stick of Betts for his first of the year.
Tyler Kennedy became the first Penguin to score in the new arena 44 seconds into the third period when, after a faceoff loss by Mike Richards, he roofed a bad angle shot through Braydon Coburn and Bobrovsky. But with Andrej Meszaros in the box for roughing and the Penguins pressing for the equalizer, Giroux stepped in front of a Kris Letang drop pass intended for Paul Martin, faked Fleury out of his suspenders and slid a shot into the right side of the net for a shorthanded goal and a 3-1 lead at the 4:55 mark.

"I kind of read the drop and I found an opening," Giroux said.
"It was a great play by G to get it past him," Laviolette said.
Eighteen seconds later the Pens again drew within one when Zbynek Michalek ripped a shot off Coburn and behind Bobrovsky and with 14:47 showing on the clock there was plenty of time for the Penguins to deliver their fans an historic victory.
The Flyers shut the door defensively the remainder of the game to give Bobrovsky his first NHL win, allowing him to become the first Flyers rookie to win his NHL debut since Antero Niitymaki midway through the 2003-04 season.

Loose pucks

Laviolette went with a first power-play unit of Jeff Carter, Danny Briere, Mike Richards, Ville Leino and Kimmo Timonen; and a second unit of Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, Nikolay Zherdev, Andrej Meszaros and Matt Carle.

With penalty-killing D Sean O'Donnell in the box for tripping in the first period, Laviolette used Darroll Powe, Blair Betts, Timonen and Braydon Coburn on his first PK unit and Richards, Giroux, Carle and Meszaros on his second. Laviolette went with these forwards lines: Richards between LW Dan Carcillo and RW Carter, Briere between LW Hartnell and RW Leino; Giroux between LW James van Riemsdyk and RW Zherdev; and Betts between LW Jody Shelley and RW Powe. Defense pairings were: Timonen with Meszaros; Carle with Coburn; and O'Donnell with Oskars Bartulis. Briere became the sixth Flyer to score the first goal in a new NHL arena, joining Bill Sutherland (1967, Spectrum), Ed Hoekstra (1967, Great Western Forum, Los Angeles), Joe Watson (1968 Le Colisee, Quebec), Wayne Hicks (1968, Madison Square Garden), Peter White (2000, Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota). Before the game, Pens owner Mario Lemiuex poured water from the old Igloo onto center ice of the CONSOL Energy Center.

Reach Chuck Gormley at cgormley@courierpostonline.com

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:37 AM

Flyers, rookie goalie ruin Pens' new home debut

TEXT SIZE By: WAYNE FISH

Bucks County Courier Times

PITTSBURGH - Talk about stealing the show, and right out from under the proud Penguins' noses with a young Russian goaltender practically no one outside Philadelphia had ever heard of.

But make no mistake, the world is going to know all about 22-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky now.

The Flyers waited until the final 24 hours before making their decision to start Bobrovsky in the season opener Thursday night and the kid didn't disappoint, stopping 29 of 31 shots to send a Consol Energy Center first night crowd of 18,087 home unhappy after a stirring 3-2 Flyers win.

Bobrovsky, at 22 the youngest player ever to start a game as goalie for the Flyers (supplanting Ron Hextall), kept his team in the game through a ragged first 20 minutes that saw them surrender 15 shots. The youngster stopped them all.

Coach Peter Laviolette said he didn't have to agonize much over the decision to start Bobrovsky instead of veteran Brian Boucher. With a 3-0-1 record and 1.76 goals-against average, Bobrovsky clearly had the better of the preseason.

"I thought 'Bob' had a solid month, day after day," Laviolette said. "I don't think it (Bobrovsky's performance in preseason) was a fluke. I thought they were a good 30 days. It wasn't based on one or two days but a body of work. Bob went in and did his job tonight and did it very well."

Speaking through an interpreter, Bobrovsky made it known he was not all that nervous, that he was prepared and that this was certainly a highlight of his young career.

"Nothing that extraordinary," he said. "I was ready for this. It wasn't just me, the whole team played well, a team effort.

"I worked hard for this all preseason. As a kid, I obviously dreamed about this but when I got older it just became a goal."

The Flyers held a 2-0 lead after two periods, thanks to Bobrovsky's work and second-period goals by Danny Briere (2:51) and Blair Betts (17:15).

After Pittsburgh closed to within one early in the second, Claude Giroux made it 3-1 with a shorthanded goal at 4:55 of the third, stealing a misplay between Kris Letang and Paul Martin.

After one more Penguin goal, Bobrovsky was able to close the door on Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins.

"Bob played a real good game," Giroux said. "Any time you get a goalie to give you a chance to win like that, it's fun."

"We kind of hung him (Bobrovsky) out to dry in the first period," Matt Carle said. "It could easily have been two or three nothing there. He kept us in the game. He played well in the preseason, he belongs in this league. He was calm back there. He stood on his head."

Added Braydon Coburn: "I thought he was great. He just kept up what he was doing in the preseason."

Short shots

Giroux went in for X-rays on a lower body injury. "It's nothing," general manager Paul Holmgren said before the results were known.

Wayne Fish can be reached at wfish@phillyBurbs.com.

October 08, 2010 02:22 AM

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 08:39 AM

Bobrovsky, Flyers Top Penguins to Open Season



Thursday, October 7, 2010
Posted: 9:35 p.m. | Updated: 11:27 p.m.

By Tim Panaccio
CSNPhilly.com



PITTSBURGH – Claude Giroux remembers the first time he really noticed Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

“I remember in camp, me and Danny [Briere] were doing shootouts on him and I said, ‘who is this guy?’” Giroux recalled. “We had trouble scoring on him.”

So did the Penguins on Thursday night as the rookie they call “Bob” turned in a 29-save performance to ruin Pittsburgh’s opening of CONSOL Energy Center with a 3-2 victory.

Bobrovsky became the youngest Flyers goalie to start on opening night at age 22 years, 17 days. That’s younger than Ron Hextall (22 years, 159 days) when he started Oct. 9, 1986 against Edmonton and won, 2-1.

“He proved he belongs in this league,” said defenseman Matt Carle. “It’s hard talking to him. He just seemed calm back there making saves. I thought he played great.”

Bobrovsky gave the Flyers’ offense a chance to get its feet going after a horrendous opening period.

“It wasn’t anything out of the extraordinary, I wasn’t too nervous, I was ready for this,” Bobrovsky said through University of Pitt translator Alex Gluhovsky. “I don’t feel it was necessarily me. It’s a team game. At times, I had to make saves. At times, other guys had to make plays.”

He made plays against some world-class talent, not allowing either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin a goal on seven shots between them.

Malkin took five.

“I did not know him [in Russia], but I knew who he was [on the ice],” Bobrovsky said of his countryman.

Though Bobrovsky said at the morning skate he was “excited” to start, he seemed to almost expect it, given his 1.76 goals against average and .939 save percentage in five preseason games.

“I worked hard not to sit but to play, so it was not anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

The victory was accomplished without defenseman Chris Pronger, who missed the game as he is still rehabbing his right knee.

“We need Pronger in Game 100, not Game 1,” said Flyers president Peter Luukko.

General manager Paul Holmgren said Pronger’s status remains “the same.” In other words, day-to-day until Pronger feels ready.

There was potentially ominous news. Giroux, who was limping, had an X-ray on what was believed to be his ankle after the game after taking a shot. Holmgren said it was “nothing.”

Giroux’s shorthanded goal won the game at 4:55 of the third period, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead.

He picked off a dangerous pass in the middle of the Penguins’ zone from Kris Letang and went backhand/forehand on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

“I saw a guy behind him and I said to myself, if he drops it, I’m gonna go,” Giroux said. “He dropped it and I was able to poke it around [Letang] and go to the net.”

In the final minutes, both Fleury and Bobrovsky had key stops off turnovers while the Flyers spent the final 1:13 killing off a penalty.

“We were good up the ice, had pressure on them and didn’t give them easy entries into the zone,” Carle of the PK units. “They’re a team that creates chances off the rush. They certainly had their fair share of opportunities but Bob kept us in there.”

Pittsburgh controlled the puck much of the opening period with most of the action in the Flyers’ own end. Given all the offense the Flyers displayed in preseason, it wasn’t apparent that period as they were outshot, 15-9.

Bobrovsky had several very good saves that frame and demonstrated his cat-like reflexes going post-to-post. That quickness presented itself on a redirect by Malkin at his doorstep, a tough save on Mike Comrie through a screen, then going across the goal line to rob Pascal Dupuis at the right post.

Between periods, coach Peter Laviolette lashed out on the club about how they were playing in front of Bobrovsky.

“In the first period, [Bobrovsky] played really strong and we played sloppy,” Laviolette said. “We turned the puck over far too many times in the defensive zone and in the neutral zone.

“Because of that, they came back quickly and we were out of position. They generated a lot of opportunities from that, and he made save after save in the first period.

Briere, who led all Flyers with a club-record 30 points in the playoffs last spring, picked up where he left off, redirecting a hard pass from Mike Richards at the point during a Flyer power play to open the second period.

“The second period was a better period for us,” Briere said. “It is always a good feeling to score. This is a new arena and new atmosphere. It's something special.
“A few years ago, my first two years with the Flyers I was used to having Richie back on the point on the power play. We scored a few goals like that where he found me sitting in the slot or on the side of the net for a redirection.

“When we won the face-off and he got the puck that's all I was thinking was to find the open space by the side of the net. Richie found me just like the good old days, I guess.”
The second period was a complete opposite of the first. The Flyers pressed the attack the full 20 minutes, then rewarded Bobrovsky with another goal with 2:45 left when Blair Betts redirected a shot from Darroll Powe, making it, 2-0.

Bobrovsky lost his shutout 44 seconds into the third period on Tyler Kennedy’s goal from the edge of the left circle, a wide-angle shot that “Bob” still isn’t used to seeing yet.

“I lost the goal a little bit,” he said.

Giroux’s marker seemingly ended things until Alex Goligoski made it a one-goal affair with a power-play goal at 5:14, setting up a tense finish.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was impressed with Bobrovsky under pressure.

“He found a way to keep it out of the net,” Bylsma said. “I think we hit a couple posts and it looked like we had some opportunities. A goalie plays well when it stays out of the net and when we had the opportunities, he was able to do that.”

Loose pucks
Bobrovsky is the first Flyers goalie to win his NHL debut since Antero Niittymaki on Feb. 4, 2004 vs. Washington. ... Jeff Carter played 15:00 while Richards played 20:42. Carter did not log a second on the penalty kill. Richards logged nearly five minutes of PK duty. … Nikolay Zherdev had one shot in the first period and played just 11:26. … With Pronger out of the lineup, Matt Carle worked with Andrej Meszaros. Laviolette kept the middle pair together of Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen. Oskars Bartulis entered the lineup to play with Sean O’Donnell. ... Goalie Michael Leighton went on long-term injury while Andreas Nodl was called up from the Phantoms but was scratched along with Matt Walker. ... This was the eighth building the Flyers opened, including the Spectrum and CoreStates Center – now Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers are 4-3-1 in those games. ... Giroux’s shorthanded goal was the first of his career. … The Flyers are 20-16-7 all-time on opening night; 19-14-7 in road openers. ... Kimmo Timonen, who insisted he does not want his ice time to dip, played a team-high 25:34E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net
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Posted 08 October 2010 - 09:50 AM

Laviolette rolls the dice in goal and hits jackpot

Published: Friday, October 08, 2010


By ANTHONY J. SANFILIPPO, anthonysan37@gmail.com


PITTSBURGH — It was 24 years ago that then-Flyers coach Mike Keenan made a bold decision as training camp had ended.

As his team prepared for its season opener against the high-flying Edmonton Oilers, Keenan went with a gut decision to start rookie goalie Ron Hextall ahead of the previous season’s starter Bob Froese.

The decision was controversial at the time. Froese led the NHL in wins, goals-against, save percentage and shutouts in 1985-86 and was the Vezina Trophy runnerup.

But Keenan liked Hextall, and felt he would be the guy to get the Flyers back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Keenan was right, as Hextal won the Vezina himself, and got the Flyers to Game 7 of those finals before losing to Edmonton.

Fast forward to 2010 and Peter Laviolette had a decision to make. There was Brian Boucher, one of the late-season heroes of the Flyers playoff run last season. He was having a strong training camp and with Michael Leighton going down with a back injury, appeared to be the de facto starter.

But then there was this kid from Russia no one had ever heard of — 22-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky — who went undrafted and ended up languishing in the Kontinental Hockey League for the worst team in Russia.

But the Flyers signed him, brought him to training camp, and watched as he impressed everyone in the organization.

So, Laviolette made the same call as Keenan this time it was Bobrovsky getting the surprise start — in Pittsburgh, against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the powerful Penguins. On the opening night in the Pens’ new building. Oh … and without the Flyers best defenseman — Chris Pronger.

All the youngster did was make 29 saves, hold the two Pittsburgh megastars without a point and backstop the Flyers to a 3-2 season-opening victory.

Call it history repeating itself. Call it kismet. Call it déjà vu. No matter how it’s labeled it was a sensational performance in goal by an unknown rookie.

And it makes Laviolette look like a genius.

“I thought he played a really good game. He was really strong and we were really sloppy,” Laviolette said. “They generated a lot of opportunities and he made save after save.”

In the first period he stopped all 15 shots the Penguins sent his way. None were flashy. They didn’t have to be because he was positionally sound at times and so quick at others that he was able to front the shooter before he could get off a high percentage shot.

“He was really good all through camp,” said Braydon Coburn. “So he deserved the chance to start. You’re always supposed to ride the hot goalie, right?”

That’s certainly Laviolette’s style. It was evident last season when he went with whatever goalie was winning — usually Michael Leighton, which was a surprise most of the time too.

But at least Leighton was a known entity. Bobrovsky was certainly a gamble.

“Sometimes you just have to throw them in there to see what they have,” goalie coach Jeff Reese said after the game — missing only the cigars to hand out because he looked like a proud new papa. “He was really good. He’s like a sponge. He listens to everything we say and he would stay on the ice eight hours if we let him. He still has a couple things to work on, but he was very good.”

He did have some help in the way of two stops by the post, a nice stick save by Matt Carle and a fine sliding stop by Scott Hartnell to poke a puck away from danger. His teammates also blocked 22 shots, doing a fine job of keeping most of Pittsburgh’s chances over the final two periods to the outside.

But in the opening 20 minutes, he was superb. The Flyers transition game was sputtering, and the Penguins were piling on the pressure.

The coolest customer in the building though was Bobrovsky, who almost nonchalantly thwarted every chance the Pens created.

“It wasn’t anything extraordinary (to be out there),” Bobrovsky said through interpreter Alex Gluhovsky, a third-year law student at University of Pittsburgh who was born in the Ukraine. “I wasn’t nervous. I was ready for this.”

He sure looked like it. And, he almost felt like he expected it too.

“I prepared all preseason and I worked hard at it,” he said. “I worked hard not to sit. So (playing) was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Calling on him to be the go-to guy on opening night was though. He was certainly, as Robert Frost once wrote, the road less traveled.

In the poem, that made all the difference. The Flyers are hoping for the same outcome.

l l l

NOTES: Danny Briere scored the first goal in Consol Energy Center history with a power play redirection in the second period. Blair Betts and Claude Giroux also scored for the Flyers . Giroux’s goal was the first shorthanded goal of his career … Giroux underwent an X-ray postgame on his lower body. He said it was an old injury and he was fine. When asked by the Daily Times if Giroux was hit by a slapshot in the ankle, general manager Paul Holmgren said, “Something like that.” Holmgren added that it wasn’t a major injury and that Giroux would be fine for Saturday’s game in St. Louis … Tyler Kennedy and Alex Gologoski scored for the Penguins … Nik Zherdev played only 11:26 for the Flyers, the lowest total with the exception of Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley.

http://www.delcotime...6f925933372.txt
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#7 User offline   zeusam Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 01:09 PM

Quote

18,087-seat building (the "87" is in honor of Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby).


Laughable.
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#8 User offline   JVRrules Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:13 PM

View Postzeusam, on 08 October 2010 - 01:09 PM, said:

Laughable.

At least make it 18,066 in honor of a guy I could at least respect.
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#9 User offline   Flyer78 Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:26 PM

View PostJVRrules, on 08 October 2010 - 03:13 PM, said:

At least make it 18,066 in honor of a guy I could at least respect.


There are 66 luxury suites to honor him. Seriously.
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