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Why Flyers will win: Boucher will produce

By John McGourty - Staff Writer

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Why Flyers will win: Boucher will produce
There is no Plan B in Philadelphia this season. For the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup, Brian Boucher has to be hot, hot, hot.
A lot of teams will have a list of things they must do well for them to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Not the Philadelphia Flyers.

For the Flyers to win, Brian Boucher -- Sunday's big hero -- must stay hot. Really, there's no Plan B. Boucher has his critics -- his own team started three other goalies ahead of him -- but he wouldn't have lasted 10 NHL seasons if he couldn't play at this level.

Boucher is 9-18-3 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season, and he is 3-2-0 with a in his last five games. He was excellent in the 1-0 loss on April 2 to the Montreal Canadiens, in a 4-3 win on April 4 against Detroit and a 2-0 April 6 win in Toronto. In the final road game at Madison Square Garden last Friday, Boucher could not be faulted with a 4-3 loss against the Rangers.

Then came Sunday's winner-take-all rematch against the Rangers. With the season on the line, Boucher made 22 saves in regulation, two in overtime, and stopped Erik Christensen and Olli Jokinen in the shootout for a 2-1 playoff-clinching victory. It wasn't Boucher's best game ever, but he's now the toast of Philadelphia and has momentum heading into the postseason.

He'll need to maintain the hot hand as the Flyers have only AHL goalies Johan Backlund and Jeremy Duchesne as backups.

Boucher has had his moments of NHL glory and he has been known to get hot suddenly and stay hot for a while. He was the goalie on the 1999-2000 NHL All-Rookie Team when he went 20-10-3 with an NHL-leading 1.91 GAA. 

Boucher set the NHL record for the longest shutout streak in 2003-04, while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, going unscored upon for 332 minutes, or 5 1/2 games.

He went 15-7-4 over two seasons, 2007-09, for San Jose with outstanding GAA and save percentages.

The numbers say Boucher is better while playing under playoff pressure. He is 101-121-30-10 in 280 regular-season games with a 2.73 GAA and .899 save percentage. But in the playoffs, Boucher is 11-8 with a 2.06 GAA and .916 save percentage in 22 games.

If you think about it, Boucher has already played one playoff game this season, and he emerged a winner. Only 16 more to go.

Contact John McGourty at

Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
World Cup of Hockey 2016