A projected lineup at this point for the Philadelphia Flyers is hard to come by. All that is known for sure is that D Chris Pronger will miss his third game this series.
F Andreas Nodl is still a game time decision, as he sustained a deep facial cut in Game 2. I am not sure why a cut would stop someone from playing in the playoffs, but the Flyers have let little information about the injury out. It could be interfering with his vision. If Nodl is unable to go, Nik Zherdev will get his turn to play.
I have been calling for Zherdev in the lineup for a while now, and I would hate to see it come about through someone getting hurt, but the man needs to play.
Nodl's situation has obscured the lineup a tad. With Nodl out and Z in, the lines may get juggled. And their is always the possibility that Nodl still plays, so you have to account for him in the lineup as well.
But the real lineup issue is who will be between the pipes for the Flyers tonight.
I say Bobrovsky, and here's why. Brian Boucher played solid in his relief of Bob in Game 2. Boosh went highly untested, but when he faced shots he stopped them. However, the goal he gave up was just as bad as Bob's third goal.
Despite Boucher's play, Boucher does not have the ability to go on a long run into the playoffs (outside of his 2000 rookie campaign). We saw it last year, he was great for 5 games in New Jersey but quickly crashed in Boston. Boucher can only make a real difference off the bench.
On the other hand, Sergei Bobrovsky can not come off the bench. He has not been a calming factor in his relief appearances this year and, as a rookie, that is to be expected. He is a goalie who needs to be prepared, do his routine before the game, know when he is playing. And thats ok. Thats every starting goalie.
Bob also has the ability to go on a month long run. He did it this year, winning rookie of the month. He has the ability to steal a game with his athletic movement and flexibility. Boucher can't.
And finally, Bobrovsky has responded well to bad games. He has been almost perfect upon his return after getting yanked. Laviolette even acknowledged this.
I believe Laviolette goes with Bobrovsky because: 1) He can not risk losing Bobrovsky confidence this early in the playoffs. 2) He knows that Boucher will only take him a few games and then when its time to hand the reigns to Bobrovsky, Bob may be too cold. 3) He knows if Bob struggles again, he can still win the game, like in Game 2.
Here is MY projected lineup tonight (based on gut more than anything):
Hartnell Briere Leino
Zherdev Giroux JVR
Carter Richards Versteeg
Carcillo Betts Powe
and I predict a good game from Bob and Giroux's line. 4-2 Flyers win.