Stevens may say there isn't a goalie controversy, but his actions continue to show otherwise:
I say there is one because last week the "hot goalie" line worked for Stevens to play Nitty. But the team has had a few days off which inherently has broken Nitty's rhythm so the slate is basically clean right now. Both goalies gave up 4 goals over the weekend, including a few softies for each. Regardless of his success against Florida in the past, with a small 4 game sample against a poor team, Stevens could have put a lot of it to rest tonight by playing Biron at home and giving him some confidence. Now he has done just the opposite. The popular sentiment has been that if the playoffs started today, Biron would be in the cage. I agree for now. But with every start like this, my certainty of that shrinks and Biron's undoubtedly does as well (along with his confidence). Remember Biron's past, getting set aside for Hasek and Miller in Buffalo.... And Nitty was a "#1" goalie on a dead team with an inferior defense in front of him and was playing hurt... Don't think for a second he doesn't believe he can still be a #1 goalie on this team.
Nitty seems to have more success vs FL but this is a real test to put him in front of the home fans whom he has not played well in front of this year, or last for that matter, and will be quick to get on him if he falters.
But if he does do well and the team and crowd responds, the goalie controversy, and make no mistake there IS one, will become even more interesting.
We'll see tonight...
Here's the numbers breakdown:
Nitty liftetime vs. FLA(4 games, all starts):
2-2, 1.88 GAA, .944 SV%
Last game vs FLA was down south... he stopped 38 shots in a 1-0 win
at home this season (4 games, 2 starts)
0-2-1, 4.10 GAA, .838 SV%
Compared to Biron's info:
Career vs. FLA (16 games, 14 starts) 6-8-2, 2.70 GAA, .898 SV%
Home this season:
(16 games all starts) 8-3-4, 2.68 GAA, .917 SV%
Mike Mreczko is the Flyers beat reporter for Sports Radio 950 - WPEN in Philadelphia
e-mail Mike: [email][email protected]