Leighton returns to save day, Flyers within 3-2
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:13 AMBOSTON
-- That revolving door to the infirmary that plagued the Philadelphia Flyers
at the end of their first-round series has begun to rear its ugly head once again in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
And, remarkably, it still doesn't faze the men in orange and black.
MORE: BRUINS SLOPPY | HARTNELL ELEVATES
The Flyers pulled within 3-2 in this best-of-seven series following a decisive 4-0 victory on Monday at TD Garden, playing much of the game without the services of injured goalie Brian Boucher. The series now shifts back to the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia for Game 6 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (ET).
"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," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It seems like we've done it a lot this year. We've been playing these types of games, it seems, since Christmas."
With the Flyers clinging to a 1-0 lead and the Bruins in dire need of momentum, Marc Savard
generated a quality attempt from the crease that Boucher stopped before bending completely backward, pinning his left leg beneath his body. Then, teammate Ryan Parent and Boston's Miroslav Satan toppled onto Boucher, who immediately threw off his blocker and grabbed his leg in agony.
Boucher will undergo an MRI on Tuesday. According to General Manager Paul Holmgren, Boucher's "left leg is worse than the right. He'll probably be (out) a couple of weeks."
In came backup Michael Leighton
, who earlier in the day told the media he was 100-percent healthy after missing the past 21 games with a high ankle sprain. It would mark his first appearance in a Stanley Cup Playoff game. He'd stop 14 shots and, combined with Boucher's 9 saves, would help lead the Flyers to the shutout -- the first combined goose egg in playoff history since March 22, 1955 when Montreal's Jacques Plante and Charlie Hodge blanked the Bruins, 2-0.
The Flyers entered the game never having won the fifth game of a best-of-seven series in which they trailed 3-1 -- going 0-6 prior to Monday. It was also the first loss by the Bruins at TD Garden in six playoff games.
"For sure, it's disappointing," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
said. "We didn't play our best game. Nowhere near to our average game so, for sure, it's disappointing. We have to regroup and get ready for another one.
"I don't know if we were maybe a little bit nervous. It's hard to explain and really find words for it. We didn't play with the composure we were playing with. We took too many unnecessary penalties (the Flyers went 1-for-9 on the power play) and spent a lot of time in the box and killing penalties."
Following Boucher's injury, 4:35 into the second, the Flyers connected for two more goals by a rejuvenated Scott Hartnell
and Simon Gagne to take a commanding 3-0 lead at the second intermission. Gagne would complete the scoring with his second of the game and third of the playoffs on a breakaway that beat Tuukka Rask
(27 saves) low to the left corner 6:48 into the third.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic
said all the penalties were "just what happens when you get outworked by the other team. That's why we had to take all those penalties."
The Bruins were also stunned to learn that only two of their 23 shots were by defensemen.
"They're getting on our 'D' quickly," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I think they're respecting the fact that we got some quality shots there early in the series and they've taken that away from us. That's something we're going to have to look at and try to figure out a way to get some shots through."
The Flyers opened a 2-0 lead at 11:16 of the second when Hartnell scored his first of the playoffs and it became 3-0 when Gagne scored a power-play goal off a quick snap shot from the slot at 17:53.
Leino, another player providing secondary scoring in the absence of injured Jeff Carter (fractured right foot), was playing possessed throughout. Leino, who worked a line with Hartnell and Danny Briere
, finished with a goal, one assist and plus-2 rating.
"I am a bit more comfortable and you don't have to focus everything on (wanting that first goal)," Leino said. "You can just go out there and play and have fun."
The Flyers grabbed the first goal of the game on Leino's second of the playoffs at 6:41 of the first. Following some tremendous pressure in the early stages of the game and a relatively lackluster start for the Bruins, Leino slammed home a rebound of a shot by Chris Pronger
to Rask's left.
The Flyers also lost winger Claude Giroux
in the second when he was boarded by Steve Begin with three minutes remaining in the second. Giroux logged 15:26 of ice time on 19 shifts and produced two shots. He was hit high around the shoulder blades, near his neck.
"We don't think it's anything serious," Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com.
Looking ahead: Tickets are now available for Wednesday's Game 6 between the Flyers and Bruins at the Wachovia Center. The tickets are available exclusively through ComcastTIX online at philadelphiaflyers.com or by calling 1-800-298-4200. The Bud Light Playoff Block Party begins three hours before face-off outside the AT&T Pavilion with live music, delicious food, and interactive games.
Shift of the game
: With the Flyers clinging to a 1-0 lead and the Bruins looking for some momentum, Marc Savard
generated a quality attempt from the crease that Boucher stopped before bending completely backward, pinning his left leg beneath his body. Teammate Ryan Parent and Boston's Miroslav Satan then toppled onto Boucher, who immediately threw off his blocker and grabbed at his leg.
An injured Boucher left the game 4:35 into the second and in came backup Michael Leighton
with his team's season on the line. Leighton would stop all 14 shots he faced the remainder of the game to give the Flyers their second straight victory after falling behind, 3-0, in the series.