Which Flyers Goalie Has Been Better in 2011?

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 26: Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates with teammate #33 after defeating the Buffalo Sabres on October 26 2010 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Sabres 6-3. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brian Boucher has been the better goalie over the last two months, but Sergei Bobrovsky keeps getting the majority of starts.

Everybody wants to talk goaltending. It wouldn't be late March in Philadelphia if there wasn't a goaltending controversy, and this year is no different. The Flyers have two options (please, stop talking about Michael Leighton), one of whom has established himself as a career NHL backup who will give league average performance, and another who got off to a fast start in his first year in the NHL.

But the word "inconsistent" has been tossed around a lot lately. The sad part is that the word fits. It fits really well. Let's look at some splits for the Flyers' two goalies.

First, let's see how the two goalies have performed at even-strength over the last 15 games (6-5-4 record since February 18th):

GP GF GA SA Sv Sv%
Bobrovsky 10 14 24 224 200 0.893
Boucher 6 14 11 143 132 0.923

 

Obviously, the Flyers have not played very well in this time frame, and it's also a really small sample. This doesn't tell us much, except to show that Brian Boucher has been the better goalie over the last month. But let's broaden the sample by looking a little further back.

Let's go two months back, or 23 games ago. Since the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on January 23rd, this is how the two goalies have performed at even-strength:

GP GF GA SA Sv Sv%
Bobrovsky 15 20 32 325 293 0.902
Boucher 10 17 16 230 214 0.930

In that time frame, the Flyers have gone 12-7-4, with Bobrovsky going 6-5-2 and Boucher going 6-2-2. 

I don't think it's difficult to see who has been the better goalie over the last two months. It's the same one who's been better over the last month. How about extending our look to the last three months, or the calendar year of 2011:

GP GF GA SA Sv Sv%
Bobrovsky 20 37 38 462 424 0.918
Boucher 16 36 30 367 337 0.918

 

Now, things aren't so clear. Things don't look nearly as good (the goalies have been exactly league average in calendar year 2011), but the choice is much more difficult. You have a goalie who played well in the month of January versus a goalie who has played well since the month of January.

Conclusion

We recently looked at the past two weeks (which showed Sergei Bobrovsky stopping 92.3 percent of all even-strength shots), but here we see that Brian Boucher has been the better goalie of the last two months. What does that mean going forward? Nobody can be sure other than Peter Laviolette, but one has to imagine we all will know who the playoff starter is within the next two weeks.

Judging by how the two goalies have been used so far, Bobrovsky will be given every opportunity to win the job. He hasn't taken it yet, so unfortunately, we'll be left asking who the playoff goalie will be for another two weeks.

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