If the Flyers lost this game, their season was over.
But they won tonight, and won big. The Flyers thoroughly dominated the Bruins for a 4-0 win, forcing a Game 6 back on Broad Street.
But as huge as this win was, the carnage along the way was just as massive.
Brian Boucher was knocked out early in the second period with what is being reported now as MCL sprains in both knees, pending MRIs. He is almost certainly done for the season, making this the seventh or so time this series in which the Flyers have lost their starting goaltender to injury.
But the Bruins responded to this possible window of opportunity by finally living up to their offense's lack of hype, getting shut out for the first time since April 1st.
Some scattered thoughts on what was a seriously scattered game:
- Under some ridiculously tough circumstances, Michael Leighton came up absolutely huge in this game to keep the Flyers' season alive. Lost in the commotion over Boucher's exit was the fact that tonight Michael Leighton saw the first NHL playoff action of his entire life. Which means his career playoff GAA is now 0.00, and his career playoff save percentage is 100.0% None too shabby. In the process, Leighton also became part of the first shared shutout in the playoffs in 55 years.
- While Boucher's status for the remainder of this series is sadly obvious, questions remain about Claude Giroux's condition for the near future. He was on the wrong end of a very nasty boarding by Steve Begin, who delivered a textbook dirty hit from behind to Giroux late in the second. Suspendable? Absolutely. Reports of Giroux's presence in the third are conflicting, so I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow's reporting brings.
- Not a bad time for Scott Hartnell to play his best hockey of the year, eh? Hartnell scored the Flyers second goal, and looked to have scored the first as well despite it being credited to Ville Leino. Having Hartnell play up to his potential in this series could very well be the difference between winning and losing.
- This Ville Leino character is pretty awesome.
- No Flyer has more goals than Simon Gagne in this series. Chew on that one for a while.
- Remember how Marc Savard was the feel-good story of these playoffs after returning from a dirty Matt Cooke hit? Well, any good will he still has from that comeback story should be completely gone after his ridiculous ganging up with Milan Lucic to rough up Mike Richards once the game was out of reach. An absolutely pathetic move.
- If Miro Satan had been able to bury that bounce he got onto his tape late in the first, this is a whole different ballgame.
- A team has had a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series 162 times in NHL history, but the Flyers are only the fourteenth team to force as much as a Game 6.
- Not that this matters at all, especially this time of year, but how often does a team get a shutout in the playoffs and a goalie is not given one of the three stars?
- The parallels between this game and Game 5 of the Flyers-Penguins ECQF from last year are pretty clear. In both cases, the Flyers went into Game 5 down 3-1, having lost the previous two away games in the series, one of them in OT. Then they stun their black-and-gold wearing opponent with a shutout road win in Game 5, handing the opponent its first loss at home of the playoffs on the back of goals from some pretty unlikely sources. Let's just hope the comparisons don't continue into Game 6...
- With this win, the Flyers are now guaranteed not to have a losing record in the post-season.
After the jump, questions answered, a comment of the night, and your celebration and/or consternation.
- Can the Flyers continue to pepper Tuukka Rask with pucks and pressure? Yes. Rask was not stellar in this game at all, but it was mostly his defensemen letting him down.
- Will the Flyers score on the power play tonight? Once, on eight attempts. There was a double minor that saw nary a shot, so it's safe to say that the powerplay wasn't very good this evening.
Mark Recchi scores a lot. Can the Flyers stop him tonight? Flyers stopped everybody.
- Will the Flyers get some favorable bounces tonight? Um, no. The Boucher injury was horrible luck, as was the bounce off the glass that put the puck right on Satan's blade for a 1-on-0 late in the first.
- This is the third elimination game the Flyers have been in this season. Two wins so far. Do they stay undefeated with their backs against the wall tonight? Yessir. And they didn't even need a shootout.
Comment of the Night:
Ok, either Hartnell just scored or God divided by zero… --Boog609