Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette had a quick answer on Monday morning when he was asked about his starting goaltender for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“I don’t comment on lineups,” Laviolette said.
Laviolette said that he’s already made up his mind who his starter will be for Game 6 Wednesday night, but that he hasn’t told the goalie yet. He was asked if he thinks more about the team or the goalie in this type of situation.
“Both,” he said. “Whatever is best for the team and whatever is going to give us the best chance to win one hockey game.”
Leighton is an enigma to me. On one hand, his numbers are staggering in these playoffs and are very tough to argue with. On the other hand, just watch him play. His five hole is the size of the Sahara Desert, he gives up soft goals and his defense has been tremendous at blocking shots and keeping rebounds clean.
Brian Boucher may not be Patrick Roy in his prime, but he was clearly the more sound goaltender during Sunday night’s loss in Game 5. What I like about Boucher is that he plays more under control than Leighton. He can make a save and stay in position (for the most part) to make another save if he has to. Leighton can make the first save, but there are serious problems if his defense doesn’t clear the rebound. One save and then he’s out of position.
To be honest, I don’t know that either of these guys are Stanley Cup goalies. But you don’t go to battle with the players you want, you go to battle with the players you have. And that’s the reality the Flyers are facing in these playoffs. So far, it’s worked pretty darn well. But can they win just a couple more games with one or both of these goalies?
You are the head coach, who do you start in Game 6 for the Flyers?