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Report: Chris Pronger travels to Buffalo, but won’t play in Game 3

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Three

of the New Jersey Devils of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wachovia Center on April 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bruce Bennett

If you listen to some segments of the Philadelphia Flyers fan base, there’s a Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Brian Boucher debate that rivals the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob campaigns among “Twilight” fans.

(That being said, I don’t expect someone to make a pro-Boucher argument because he’s “sensitive and protective,” although I guess the latter might apply to the Flyers’ net.)

Tim Panaccio writes that the early indication is that Philadelphia will go with Boucher for Game 3 on Monday night, but honestly, this debate wouldn’t hold the same importance if one player could get healthy. That would be hulking defenseman Chris Pronger, an experienced and intimidating player who frequently turns decent goalies to good ones and makes good ones great.

Pronger traveled with the team to ice-cold Buffalo, but Panaccio reports that he won’t be available for Game 3. Pronger reportedly won’t give another interview until he plays in a game, so expect little more than cursory updates about the game-changing defenseman. He’s doubtful for Game 4 as well, which indicates that we will need to take a wait-and-see approach while the team lists him as day-to-day. If he gives himself an unexpected green light, however, we’ll let you know.

If you ask me, Pronger was the top reason this team managed to succeed while Boucher and Michael Leighton exchanged the starting job (and time on the injured list) in the 2010 playoffs. The Sabres wouldn’t necessarily be a pushover with him in the lineup, but it will be an even greater challenge to best them without Pronger on the ice.

It wouldn’t be surprising if their netminders end up looking quite human in the process, whether the team hands the torch to Boucher, Bobrovsky or even Leighton.