Flyers Face Questions Entering Game 3 in Buffalo

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 01: Nikolai Zherdev #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Buffalo Sabres on October 1 2010 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Flyers face lineup questions before Game Three in Buffalo.

With the series tied, the Flyers could certainly be in a worse situation. They could also be in a better situation, had one of their 74 shot attempts in Game One gone in. But instead, they are tied at one-game a piece and now must go into Buffalo and take at least one game. With an Eastern Conference-best 25 road wins during the regular season, the Flyers have proven capable of winning on the road.

But entering Game Three, the team has many questions surrounding them. First, does Chris Pronger play? He traveled with the team to Buffalo, but is supposedly unlikely to play. The team has shown that they can play well, and even win, without him, but there's no denying the impact he would have on the lineup.

Second, Andreas Nodl is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and may not be able to play. After spending most of the year on the third line, Nodl has since been splitting time between the third and fourth lines, and struggling. If he can't go, the question becomes who replaces him. The natural choice would be Nikolay Zherdev, but Peter Laviolette could easily go with Ben Holmstrom.

Lastly, and most interestingly, is who starts in goal. What else is new. Sergei Bobrovsky played great in Game One, was shaky in Game Two, and now may not play. He can make saves Brian Boucher cannot, but Boucher can handle the puck better. Both have strengths, and to be honest, it probably doesn't matter much who plays. But of course, this is a hot topic to discuss.

There's no denying that Pronger is an upgrade over Danny Syvret, but Syvret is playing well. There is no need to rush Pronger back, and even then, he may not be healthy enough to play yet. Until Pronger returns to the lineup, his injury will be a topic every day. It will not end.

As far as the forwards go, if Nodl cannot play, Zherdev should. This isn't even a question, though "should" and "will" are two entirely different things. How the lines shake out becomes a problem, but reuniting Mike Richards with James van Riemsdyk and Zherdev with Jeff Carter would make the most sense.

In goal, Bobrovsky is best suited for starting, but that doesn't mean he's the best option to play goal. He probably is, but Laviolette prefers going with the hot goalie over a single goalie, so who knows. This will also be a question every time the Flyers' goalie struggles, so get used to it.

Another thing most people aren't talking about is the matchups. Now that Lindy Ruff has last change, it will be interesting to see who he puts on the ice to play against the Briere line and the Carter line. After the penalty-filled Game Two, we didn't really get to see how Peter Laviolette matched his forwards.

Enjoy Game Three.

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