Holy Brian Boucher.
With the Flyers up just one measly goal late in the third period, the pesky Leafs were swarming. The puck was thrown out in front, it bounced off of Braydon Coburn and toward the empty goal. Boosh threw his paddle out and got a piece of it to deflect it just wide of the cage. It preserved the victory. It preserved our sanity. Quite possibly, it preserved the playoffs.
Not that the season would've been over with a loss tonight or anything. No, far from it. The two teams chasing the Flyers -- the Rangers and Thrashers -- both lost tonight. But that's what makes this win so much more important. Thanks to the Rangers loss to Buffalo (appreciated, Sabres), the Flyers magic number to clinch the playoffs is now just two.
What's that mean? Any combination of Flyers points gained and Rangers points relinquished that adds up to two puts the Flyers in the postseason. A Rangers loss against these same Leafs tomorrow puts the Flyers in the playoffs. Atlanta was eliminated tonight.
Tonight's game was by no means the best game of the year. The Flyers had a ton of chances and only scored one 'real' goal. Of six power plays, five were terrible. But the penalty killing was downright epic tonight, with Ian Laperriere and Blair Betts, as always, earning the accolades. Their play went a long way toward this victory tonight.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere played great for the Leafs, but in the end, the difference was Boucher. Giggy was no match. He looks confident, he sounds confident, and that one save may have hoisted a city full of fans behind him again. You can't downplay the importance of that at this time of year.
After the jump, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
Questions with Answers
- Intensity. Is it there? It certainly was.
- The Flyers played a very sound defensive game on Sunday against Detroit. Can they repeat the feat? It carried over, yes. Again, the work of the penalty kill can't be overlooked. Six kills.
- The Leafs have been playing solid hockey of late. The Flyers don't let them outwork them, right? The Leafs certainly had a lot of energy as well, but the Flyers were the better team and it showed in the end.
- Does Carcillo display restraint with Leafs' resident goon Colton Orr? No, but Arron Asham wound up on the wrong side of an Orr fist or two. Asham can play hockey, though, so I'll take the trade off.
- Are the Flyers still in playoff position by the end of the night? Better: are the Flyers in sixth by the end of the night? Montreal stole a point from the Isles, so no, we're not in sixth. But seventh will have to do right now.
Comment of the Night
>> angrycoder, making three stars selections
Quick note: the Sixers lost by 21 tonight, their fourth loss in a row. They're on CSN again on Friday night while the Flyers are relegated to The Comcast Network. Again. Not making a point, just saying.