Most of us knew it was coming.
Most NHL fans agreed that Philadelphia’s rookie netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky, would not last through the first round.
The Sabres were the hot team of the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs, with all four lines and the defense finding the net with regularity. Heck, even Chris Butler finally managed to score a goal as the regular season winded down.
“Bob” only lasted until Game Two, where he was given the yank by Coach Laviolette for the “calming presence” of veteran backup Brian Boucher.
At the time, it seemed obviously plain that Buffalo now held a huge psychological advantage over their rivals – with no sure solution in net, and facing a Buffalo team featuring the world-class Ryan Miller, the Flyers locker room must have been a tumultuous place to be.
Or course, Sabres fans may recall how Boucher backstopped the Flyers as a rookie in the playoffs in the 1999-2000 season. He and his Flyers handled the Sabres in five games – and now they may be up for eliminating the Sabres again. After filling in for Bobrovsky in Game Two, Boucher came out as the starter for Game Three and was a major reason why the Sabres could only manage to score twice.
Psychological advantage since the yank: Philadelphia.
Yea, most of us knew it was coming. No one knew, though, that it would be to the Flyers’ advantage.