The Flyers sure know how to make things interesting.
On Thursday morning, just hours before the team is set to open the season at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette informed the media that 22-year-old rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will make the start for Philadelphia tonight against the Penguins.
Bobrovsky, acquired last season as a free agent out of the KHL, impressed during training camp and preseason. Despite not having much size, he showed maturity, quickness, concentration and most importantly — he stopped the puck.
The Russian was expected to spend a season learning the North American game with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL, but with Flyers expected starter Michael Leighton placed on LTIR with a lower back issue and third-string Johan Backlund still recovering from hip surgery, Bobrovsky was tapped.
Brian Boucher will serve as the back up.
With Leighton expected to miss extended periods of time, the Flyers may be looking to get Bobrovsky into the groove as quickly as possible. Knowing Boucher’s fragile history with injuries, it’s just a matter of time before the starting job is thrust on the youngster anyway. But why potent Pittsburgh, with all the pressure and packed new building? Maybe it’s simply trial by fire.