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Boucher given the boot

Goalie’s tough day was finished early

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / May 1, 2011

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PHILADELPHIA — Brian Boucher went into Game 1 against the Bruins with strong postseason numbers.

Aside from one blemish — Game 5 against the Sabres, in which he was yanked after giving up three goals on 11 shots — the Flyers goalie went into the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-1 record, 2.10 goals-against average, and .934 save percentage in these playoffs.

That all changed yesterday. Boucher surrendered five goals on 23 shots before coach Peter Laviolette replaced him with Sergei Bobrovsky at 17:14 of the second period of the Bruins’ 7-3 win.

“It wasn’t a good afternoon,’’ Boucher said. “It seemed like any opportunities they got, they were able to cash in on some plays. But we move on and get ready for Game 2.’’

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead at 1:52 of the first, and the Flyers tied it at 11:02. But the next four goals belonged to Boston, and from there it was out of reach.

When asked about individual goals, Boucher said, “I let in so many, I don’t remember. A lot of rebounds.

“That’s the way it goes some nights. Some nights it hits you, some nights it doesn’t. We just have to keep plugging away.

“They got some chances on some shots. They got some second chances off of rebounds and they cashed in. It was just their night.’’

The Flyers never seem to do anything the easy way. Last year, they were down, 3-0, to Boston and won four straight to advance to the conference finals. In this year’s first-round series against Buffalo, they were down, 1-0 and 3-2, before winning in seven games.

They seem to need an obstacle to overcome.

“You’d like to win them all, you’d like to go 16-0,’’ said Boucher. “Unfortunately, that isn’t the case most of the time.

“Today was a game we’d like to forget. There are some things we have to correct and we will. We’ll be ready for Game 2.’’

Laviolette has shown no reluctance to change goaltenders, pulling the trigger in four of the Flyers’ eight playoff games. In the Buffalo series, Bobrovsky started Game 2, only to be replaced by Boucher.

In Game 5, Boucher was relieved by Michael Leighton. And Boucher replaced Leighton in Game 6.

“It’s always a wake-up call to the team,’’ said Boucher. “You always seem to get a bit of a boost after there is a goalie change. I think that’s why coaches are so apt to do that.

“That seems to be one of the last things they can do as opposed to yelling at the guys or calling a timeout. You want to keep your timeouts; maybe you make the goalie change to change things up. That’s the way it goes.’’

Although Boucher assumed the blame, there were plenty of breakdowns in front of him.

“I don’t think any of us played particularly well,’’ said the Woonsocket, R.I., native. “There are some plays where I was able to make the first save and not able to make the second one. I’d have to look at the video to see if there’s anything I could have done about the rebounds.

“Not to lay blame on anybody, as a goaltender I’m responsible for stopping the puck, and when they get by me I take responsibility, so I’ll look at the video and see where we go from there.

“But it’s one game. I don’t think it’s anything to really get too frustrated over from a team standpoint. It wasn’t our best effort and that’s just the way it goes.’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.

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