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Michael Leighton in that same net.

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You were expecting a different outcome?

Tyler Ennis' game-winning goal didn't end the Flyers' Stanley Cup dreams, not the way Patrick Kane's did in Game 6 of the Finals last June. But it might as well have. The Flyers could conceivably win two games in a row to beat Buffalo in this series, but they are not winning the Cup this year.

Not with Leighton and Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky as their goalies.

This time, everyone saw the winning goal. There was no confusion, no wondering how the puck slipped between Leighton and the goalpost. This time, he allowed a long rebound and gave the onrushing Ennis half the net to shoot at.

He hit it, and a truly compelling Flyers comeback was wasted. Kind of like last year, right?

Before Ennis ended it, this game had a chance to be a rallying point for another real run at the Cup. Down, 3-0, thanks to a truly abominable performance by Boucher, the Flyers played as good a period of hockey as they have all year. James van Riemsdyk scored. Andrej Meszaros scored. The Flyers had all the momentum and a full period to tie the game or win it.

They tied it, thanks to sneaky Danny Briere. They had a terrific chance to win it, thanks to a Buffalo penalty with a little more than two minutes left in regulation. But the Flyers' power play, one of the real culprits as they face first-round elimination, proved inept again - unless aimless passing around the zone is the point of the exercise.

They whiffed on that chance, but still had a fresh sheet for overtime. One goal would decide whether this was a victory to draw from throughout the rest of the tournament for the Flyers or the kind of demoralizing loss that is tough to rebound from.

There was Leighton, who played fine without being severely tested in two-plus periods of relief, standing in front of that same net. If he didn't see Kane's ghost, didn't hear the echoes of that disbelieving groan from last June, he isn't human.

This was just Leighton's second NHL game since that awful, unforgettable night. This is the trap the Flyers built for themselves by failing to make a significant move at that position last summer or at the trade deadline.

Coach Peter Laviolette set the dominoes falling by making Bobrovsky disappear after his rough outing in Game 2. The Russian rookie allowed three goals in just seven shots and was yanked in favor of Boucher. Laviolette could have gone back to Bobrovsky, giving the youngster a vote of confidence and a chance to live up to it.

But the coach went with Boucher in Buffalo. Bobrovsky was made persona non grata - no locker in the HSBC Arena dressing room. He hasn't dressed for a game since.

Look at the other team. Ryan Miller is obviously a more proven goaltender than anyone the Flyers have run out there in the past decade or so. But he allowed three goals in that same first period of Game 2 that was Bobrovsky's undoing. Bobrovsky allowed two in less than two minutes Friday night, then blew that 3-0 lead entirely.

Miller hasn't been benched. He has responded with shutouts in two of his five starts.

We'll never know what Bobrovsky might have done if Laviolette had stuck with him. It was a tough decision with a lot of repercussions for this series and beyond. He's coaching a team of veterans who want to win now, and he decided the steadier, more mature Boucher was the answer.

And for two games, he was. Boucher won Game 3 and lost Game 4, 1-0. He is a solid goalie, most of the time.

Then this: Less than four minutes into the pivot game of this series, playing in front of a sellout home crowd, Boucher allowed two pucks shot from impossible angles to bounce off him and into the net. Visions of Kane's Cup winner and Roman Cechmanek at his most mystifying danced in your head.

In with Leighton. Out with any realistic chance to win the Stanley Cup.

It really is incredible. This franchise's history with playoff goaltending is so bad, and such a sore point with the people who run the team, a meltdown such as this should be impossible. But here we are: three losses, three goalies, elimination looming as sure as Sunday follows Saturday.

What does Laviolette do now? It almost doesn't matter who starts in goal for Game 6 on Easter Sunday. Certainly there is no good choice.

Bobrovsky has had the crease yanked out from under him. Boucher is coming off the single worst performance in a very long time. Leighton is haunted. Laviolette might as well pick a name out of a hat.

Just a hunch, but the Sabres might well go with Miller.

Follow columnist Phil Sheridan on Twitter
at twitter.com/SheridanScribe. Read his blog at http:// go.philly.com/philabuster
or his recent columns at http://go.philly.com/philsheridan.