BOSTON - It appears that Flyers rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will make his first playoff start Friday since Game 2 of the Buffalo series.

Coach Peter Laviolette does not announce his goalies during the playoffs, but at Thursday's skate at TD Garden, Brian Boucher and Johan Backlund rotated at one end while Bobrovsky was at the other.

The goalies who rotate usually don't start the next game.

Bobrovsky will be in a must-win situation in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins, who lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals, three games to none.

In his April 16 start against Buffalo, Bobrovsky allowed three goals on seven shots and was replaced by Boucher after 12 minutes, 30 seconds.

The Flyers won that game, 5-4.

In nine playoff games, Boucher is 4-4 with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. Bobrovsky is 0-1 with a 3.31 GAA and an .875 save percentage in five appearances.

Michael Leighton, who is apparently bothered by a back injury, is 0-1 with a 3.43 GAA and an .862 save percentage in two playoff games.

Counting the two switches they made in Game 2 against Boston, the Flyers have had seven in-game goalie changes in this year's playoffs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in playoff history, no team has ever made more than seven in-game goalie changes. Chicago also made seven changes in 1990.

Pronger returning?

Defenseman Chris Pronger is doubtful for Friday, but general manager Paul Holmgren did not rule him out of the lineup.

Asked if there was a chance Pronger would play in Game 4, Holmgren said that the defenseman was "improving" and that the team would know more on Friday.

The Flyers say Pronger has a lower-body injury, which is believed to be his lower back/ hamstring.

Pronger did not practice Thursday. Jeff Carter, who returned from a knee injury in Game 3, also did not practice, but he is expected to play.

Talking big

Two years in a row, Laviolette has been forced to make an impassioned speech to his team after it fell into a 3-0 series deficit against Boston.

He can only hope the Flyers respond in the same manner as last season.

Laviolette wouldn't go into details about the speech he made to his players before Thursday's practice.

The Flyers are trying to regroup from Wednesday's 5-1 loss in Game 3.

"It was a tough morning, but we had a similar speech from Peter that fired us up last year," center Danny Briere said, "and I hope it's going to do the same."

If Boston wins Game 4, it would be the first time the Flyers were swept in the playoffs since the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit.

Briere said the Flyers "don't have much to lose at this point. We're just going out there and trying to have fun and trying to win one game and go back to our building."

The Flyers are 6-1 in elimination games in the last two playoff years, and Laviolette is expected to juggle his lines to try to generate more offense.


TD Garden is hosting Northeastern's graduation on Friday, preventing the teams from having morning skates. . . . The Flyers honored four area high school championship teams - La Salle (Class AAA), Council Rock South (AA), Springfield (A), and Unionville (girls) - during an awards ceremony at the Wells Fargo Center. The teams won titles during the 32d annual Flyers Cup scholastic championships.