MONTREAL - In three consecutive starts, Brian Boucher did exactly what the Flyers wanted their backup goalie to do.
Coach Peter Laviolette agreed with "everything except one word in there."
He didn't like the word backup.
Laviolette feels he has two starting goalies - Sergei Bobrovsky, who started Wednesday in Montreal, and Boucher - and when you examine the numbers, it's difficult to argue.
Entering Wednesday, Bobrovsky was 14-4-3 with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, while Boucher was 6-3-2 with a 2.21 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Boucher had made three straight starts before Wednesday, winning each game. He is 5-0-1 in his last six starts with a 1.76 GAA and a .940 save percentage.
"And hopefully he's still on [a roll]," Laviolette said. "He's been sharp. He seems to be in complete control of the game. He's relaxed and playing terrific."
Laviolette said he was not concerned with Bobrovsky's possibly losing confidence if the 22-year-old rookie sat too long.
"It's just back-to-back games . . . and we want to get Bob back in there and get him going," Laviolette said.
The previous night, Boucher defeated Pittsburgh, 3-2, to end the Penguins' 12-game winning streak. The Flyers allowed the Penguins just 23 shots - only 14 in even-strength situations.
Laviolette, who confers with goalie coach Jeff Reese before deciding who starts, is dealing with a crowded goaltender situation because Michael Leighton was added to the roster Tuesday after recovering from back surgery.
"Having three goaltenders here is not typical, but it's not impossible," he said.
The difficult part is trying to find enough work for all three. To compensate, some will get extra time before or after practices.
Chris Pronger was third among defensemen in the most recent all-star fan voting update. The top two defensemen automatically go to the Jan. 30 All-Star Game in Raleigh, N.C. Kimmo Timonen was fifth.
Among forwards, Mike Richards was eighth and Claude Giroux was ninth. Bobrovsky was third among goalies.
Giroux and Bobrovsky are write-in candidates.
Giroux entered Wednesday with 15 goals in 32 games. He finished with 16 last season. . . . The Flyers began Wednesday as one of three teams with five players who had reached double figures in goals: Danny Briere, Giroux, Jeff Carter, Richards, and Nik Zherdev. Anaheim and Colorado also had five double-figure scorers. . . . The Flyers will visit patients at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees on Thursday afternoon. . . . Flyers broadcaster Jim Jackson is a finalist for the 2010 Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year Award, presented by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
- Sam Carchidi