NHL Playoffs: Philadelphia Flyers Win Game Five, Lose Goaltender Brian Boucher To Injury

May 11th, 2010 No Comments

Heading into their second round series against the Boston Bruins the Philadelphia Flyers were, for the most part, written off due to their long injured list, which was substantial.

With the likes of goaltenders Ray Emery, Michael Leighton (who recently returned to the Flyers lineup) and forwards Jeff Carter, Ian Laperriere and Simon Gagne out of the lineup to start the Boston series, the Flyers had to rely on one thing to get them past the Bruins, HEART.

Game one of the series saw the Flyers lose a tough one to the Bruins, 5-4 in overtime. It was a deflating loss highlighted by the return of Bruins forward Marc Savard (who had been out with a concussion since early March), who, coincidentally, scored the overtime winner.

Game two was more of the same; the Flyers hung tough, fought the good fight, but would run out of gas late in the game succumbing to the Bruins for the second time by a score of 3-2.

With all gambling wagers stacked on the Bruins side gamblers and Boston fans were elated when the Bruins pulled off the game three victory in Philadelphia, soundly defeating the Flyers by a score of 4-1.

With the Bruins up three games to none in the series and with the Flyers still reeling from their excessive injuries, everyone outside of a few loyal Flyers fans felt the Orange and Black were done for the season…queue the comeback!

Game four saw the Flyers come at the Bruins with everything they had left, fighting for puck possession, instigating contact and with a little luck on their side the Flyers pulled out a 5-4 overtime victory.

This time it was the Flyers Simon Gagne (who had just returned from injury) that would score the dramatic overtime goal, giving the Flyers their first victory in the series and with it a chance at winning the series, however slim they may have been.

Monday night, down 3-1 in the series and with their backs firmly against the wall, the Flyers went into Boston as they have been throughout the playoffs– with nothing to lose.

Nobody expected the Flyers to beat the New Jersey Devils in the first round and, given all the injuries the Flyers have incurred, there were very few delusions that the Flyers would be able to topple the Bruins at Home.

Well, keeping with the “do you believe in miracles theme” that has become the 2009-2010 NHL Playoffs (the San Jose Sharks beat the Detroit Red Wings, the Flyers beat the Devils, the Montreal Canadiens beat the top ranked Washington Capitals and are within one game of ousting the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins) the Flyers pulled off another huge win, defeating the Bruins by a score of 4-0.

The Philadelphia Flyers and their fans got some unexpected good news when it was announced that Philadelphia would have pugilist Daniel Carcillo (who injured his knee in game four tryi9ng to hit Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara) in the lineup. It was the second time in two games that the Flyers got some good news (Gagne returned in game four) which had many Flyers’ fans thinking perhaps the “curse” on the Flyers had been lifted.

With the Flyers up by a score of 1-0, Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher went down with an apparent leg injury when Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent fell on top of Boucher at 4:35 of the second period.

It is unknown just how serious Boucher’s injury is at this point; needless to say, given the fact it’s the playoffs, I am sure the Flyers will be reporting it as a “lower body injury”.

And just like that, Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton was once again called to duty as the Flyers number one goalie…funny how things come full circle if given enough time, huh?

Leighton did a great job in relief of Boucher, stopping all 14 shots he faced, en route to a 4-0 shutout win, which he will share with Boucher.

Ville Leino (1 goal, 2 points), Scott Hartnell (1 goal) and Simon Gagne (2 goals) led the Flyers offensively, while Chris Pronger (27:44 ice time) and Matt Carle were very solid on the defensive side, keeping the Bruins forwards on the perimeter and limiting their scoring chances.

The Flyers outshot the Bruins by a count of 31-23, partially bolstered by the Flyers six power play opportunities (which went 0-6 on the night).

Let’s face it, the Flyers were full value for the win, beating the Bruins in every facet of the game, including on the scoreboard where the Flyers bested the Bruins by a final score of 4-0, the first time the Bruins have been shut out in the series.

The victory marked the first playoff victory for the Flyers over the Bruins in Boston since May 4th 1976, co-incidentally the year the Flyers lost to the Montreal Canadiens (who won their game six match against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night) in the Eastern Conference Finals, which derailed the Flyers bid for a Stanley Cup three-peat.

Could a Philadelphia/Montreal Eastern Conference Championship series be in the cards this season? Only time will tell. Game Seven of the Pittsburgh/Montreal series will take place Wednesday night at 7:00 PM, in Pittsburgh. The Flyers will play host to the Bruins on Wednesday as well, 8:00 PM, in Philadelphia.

Given the outcomes of tonight’s game, what was once thought to be over and done with just got good. Don’t miss a second of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals action…it appears as if the best action is yet to come!

For more NHL news and notes check out my website at www.theslapshot.com

Until next time,

Peace!

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