Skip to content
Flyers
Link copied to clipboard

Flyers rout Bruins, return to Philly for Game 6

BOSTON - Families around the world religiously celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes. For at least one more game, Philadelphians will continue to celebrate the Year of the Seven Goalies.

BOSTON - Families around the world religiously celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

For at least one more game, Philadelphians will continue to celebrate the Year of the Seven Goalies.

Last night, Brian Boucher was in the midst of what may have been his best performance of the Flyers' Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Bruins. And then he did what every Flyers starter has done this season: leave with an injury.

No matter. The Flyers didn't even blink. Michael Leighton promptly hopped off the bench, loosened up and preserved the Flyers' scant one-goal lead and watched them net three more goals as they rolled to a 4-0 win over the Bruins and inched closer to tying their best-of-seven series.

Boston still leads the series, 3-2, with Game 6 at the Wachovia Center tomorrow night. Last night, the Flyers didn't look like the team staring down elimination. They looked like a team poised to make history.

"It seems like we've done it a lot this year," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've been playing these types of games it seems since Christmas. Maybe we're conditioned to it.

"I've got to give the credit to the players because, ultimately, when you're thrown the lemons and you've got to make lemonade, it's the players that have to go out on the ice and they have to perform. They won't stop playing."

With the win, the Flyers became just the eighth NHL team out of 111 in a three-games-to-none hole to force a Game 6 since the 1975 New York Islanders did it twice. Those Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only teams to have come back from a 3-0 hole to win a series.

Ville Leino scored 6 minutes, 41 seconds into the contest when he whacked in the rebound of a Chris Pronger point shot. Leino's stick was pushed forward with the help of Scott Hartnell, who also swatted at the loose puck. Hartnell was originally given credit for the goal before the official scorer awarded it to Leino with the help of video replay.

It would have been Hartnell's first goal in 22 games.

But it didn't take him long to find the back of the net for himself. With 8:44 left in the second period, Hartnell knocked a Danny Briere shot out of midair and behind Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. This time, it counted.

Hartnell's goal - just his third in the last 39 games - kept the momentum from swinging to the Bruins' side, after the unthinkable happened less than 7 minutes before that when Boucher went down.

Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent and Boston's Miroslav Satan fell on Boucher while he was in his butterfly position, sending Boucher's torso sprawling one way and his legs another.

"It was a weird play," Boucher told a reporter. "When he fell on me, I knew right away. I just wanted him to get off me. It's unfortunate. I'm sore right now and personally disappointed I got hurt."

Boucher needed to be helped off the ice by teammates with 15:25 remaining in the second period and the Flyers leading Boston, 1-0. Now, he is unlikely to return for the rest of the playoffs.

"Brian suffered injuries to both his knees," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "His left one is probably a little worse than his right. We'll check him out [today]. It would probably be a couple weeks [out] for him, anyway."

Last night was the first time Leighton dressed in a Flyers uniform since he suffered a severe high left ankle sprain on March 16 in Nashville, which caused him to miss the last 2 months.

It was Leighton's first appearance in the NHL playoffs in his 8-year, up-and-down professional career.

But the Flyers gave Leighton time to get acclimated. Knowing a quick Bruins goal could have changed the course of the game - and ultimately the series - the Flyers allowed just two shots to hit Leighton's pads in his first 9 minutes of work.

"I think it was a little bit of a wake-up call," Pronger said. "That we needed to get things tightened up a little bit more. They got a couple of good chances. [It was an] unfortunate incident. We had to rally and wanted to play well in front of him."

Leighton, who was 16-5-3 since joining the Flyers off the waiver wire in December, was flawless on all 14 shots faced. He teamed up with Boucher for the first combined shutout in a playoff game since 1955 when Montreal's Jacques Plante and Charlie Hodge shut out the Bruins.

With Boucher unable to return, the Flyers summoned third-string goaltender Johan Backlund from the stands to don the pads and sit on the bench in case Leighton was subsequently injured.

"We had a giggle about that," Hartnell said. "But it doesn't matter who is between the pipes for us."

Backlund, Boucher, Leighton, Ray Emery, Jeremy Duchesne, Carter Hutton and Sebastien Caron have all worn a Flyers jersey this year as goaltenders.

Simon Gagne took over the scoring for the Flyers in the second period, scoring twice in just his second game back since having two screws inserted in his broken big right toe less than 3 weeks ago. Gagne closed out the scoring on a pretty breakaway goal in the third period, sending the Flyers back to Philadelphia with a boatload of confidence.

"Over the last couple months of the season and into the playoffs we have done an excellent job at keeping our heads about us and realizing what is at stake," Pronger said. "You start to figure out what you are made of."

Now, despite experiencing the unthinkable yet again last night, losing their goaltender, the Flyers seemed poised to perform the unthinkable.

"The path that we've taken is not the ideal path, but it is our path," Laviolette said. "Guys have answered the bell every step of the way. We're still here."

Slap shots

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Bobby Orr's goal that clinched the Bruins' last Stanley Cup in 1972. A statue depicting the goal was unveiled in front of TD Garden before the game . . . The Flyers were 1-for-9 on the power play, snapping an 0-for-13 skid stretching back to Game 1 . . . They were also a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, heading to the box only twice without taking a Bruin with them . . . Ryan Parent played a game-low 6:16 . . . The Flyers won just 42 percent of the faceoffs . . . Matt Carle picked up an assist on the Flyers' first goal, his fifth in the last six games. He was also a plus-2.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.

Published