Originally posted on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 1/19/12

Peter Laviolette announced earlier today that Sergei Bobrovsky will be the starting goaltender for tonight's matchup against the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.

The move didn't come as a surprise to many since Bobrovsky has had tremendous success against the Islanders over the past two seasons. In his career, Bobrovsky is 7-0 with a 1.86 goals against average and .944 save percentage against them.

This season, Bobrovsky is 2-0 with 1.17 GAA and .966 save percentage against the Islanders.

The move to start the young goaltender isn't a diss to Ilya Bryzgalov, as Laviolette said earlier in the week that Bryzgalov would continue to get a majority of the starts for the Flyers. That being said, giving your struggling goaltender the start against a team with a losing record could be another confidence booster after he allowed just one goal against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

It's hard to argue with Laviolette's decision, however, because Bobrovsky's numbers against the Islanders, and this entire season, justify the choice to start the 23-year-old goaltender. However, are Bobrovsky's impressive numbers this season a little bit of a mirage since the majority of his starts come against either teams he plays well against or teams with a losing record?

Over the past few days, I've heard several people discussing the theory that the Flyers back-up goaltender may only be playing so well because of the level of competition he plays against. Of course it may sound ridiculous, but it was certainly worth looking into, so I went back and took a look at every team that Bobrovsky has started against this season.

The teams he started against have a combined record of 222-184-50, with an average of about 49 points. This would be the equivalent of an average team in the National Hockey League, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs (49 points) or the Calgary Flames (48 points).

I also took a closer look at just the teams with winning records that Bobrovsky has faced, and his numbers aren't much different from his statistics for the entire season. Bob has a record of just 4-3-1 against teams over .500 this season, but his goals against average is 2.50 in those contests (2.42 GAA on the season).

These teams include the New York Rangers (0-2, 2.50 GAA) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1-0, 2.00 GAA).

After looking at all of the numbers, it's pretty clear that Bobrovsky (10-3-1, 2.42 GAA, .921 Save %) is putting together a solid 2011-12 season no matter which team he's playing against.

Follow Buzz on Broad Flyers beat writer on Twitter @CJBurns215

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