Drafted by the Flyers in the first round of the 1995 NHL Draft (22nd overall), goaltender Brian Boucher graduated from the Philadelphia Phantoms in the American Hockey League to the NHL level in 1999-2000. He enjoyed arguably the best season by a rookie goaltender in Flyers franchise history.
Boucher started out the season as the understudy to veteran starter John Vanbiesbrouck. As the campaign moved along, however, Boucher saw more and more frequent playing time and eventually unseated Vanbiesbrouck as the Flyers' primary starter.
On April 8, 2000 - the next-to-last day of the regular season - Boucher turned in a stellar performance in a 3-0 victory over the Boston Bruins at the First Union Center (now Wells Fargo Center). The game was a scoreless deadlock for two periods before the Flyers broke loose for three goals -- Mark Eaton (1st), Mark Recchi (27th) and John LeClair (empty netter for his 40th of the season) -- in the final stanza.
Boucher turned back all 24 shots he faces to earn the fourth shutout of his rookie season. Some of his biggest saves came while the Flyers were on the penalty kill, helping the team keep Boston off the board on six power plays.
In the final game of the season, Boucher stopped 15 of 16 shots in a 4-1 road win over the New York Rangers. He completed his first NHL regular season with a 20-10-3 record, 1.91 goals against average and .918 save percentage in 35 appearances. Tabbed to be Philadelphia's playoff starter, Boucher was outstanding (2.03 GAA, .918 SV%) in helping the Flyers get within one win of the Stanley Cup Final despite a slew of adversity and potential distractions.
April 8: Through the Years
- 1973: After getting whitewashed, 5-0, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals, the Flyers return the favor to the host Minnesota North Stars with a 3-0 shutout win in Game 4. Doug Favell stops all 31 shots he faces as a late first-period power play goal by Bobby Clarke holds up until Bill Barber and Ross Lonsberry add insurance markers in the third period. The Flyers' win evens up the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
- 1979: Philadelphia grinds out a workmanlike 4-2 win at the Spectrum over the Atlanta Flames. Atlanta did not go down quietly but power play goals by Bobby Clarke (16th of the season) and Reggie Leach (34th) as well as even strength tallies by Blake Dunlop (20th) and Paul Holmgren (19th) prove too much for the Flames' comeback bid. Wayne Stephenson earns the win with 22 saves on 24 shots.
- 1980: The Flyers open their preliminary round mini-series (best of five) with the Edmonton Oilers with a dramatic 5-4 overtime win. The Oilers come back from a 2-0 deficit to score three straight goals. With Edmonton on the brink of victory, Rick MacLeish scores with 1:19 left in the third period to force overtime. Bobby Clarke wins the game at 8:06 of overtime. Back in the first period, the Flyers take a short-lived 2-0 lead within 6:19 as Paul Holmgren scores on the game's second shift and Reggie Leach converts a setup from Clarke. The game is also notable because it marks the first Stanley Cup playoff game -- as well as the first NHL career playoff goal and playoff assist -- for the Oilers' Wayne Gretzky.
- 1981: The Flyers start their preliminary round mini-series with the Quebec Nordiques with a bumpy 6-4 win. Brian Propp generates two goals and an assist, while Bill Barber also scores twice and both Paul Holmgren and Al Hill tally once apiece. The score enters the third period tied at 3-3. There is a large-scale brawl in the final minute of the game.
- 1993: Rookie center Eric Lindros hits the 40-goal plateau in a 4-3 win at the Spectrum over the Washington Capitals. Rod Brind'Amour (37th goal of the season) scores the game-winner at 15:08 of the third period. Philly also gets goals by Garry Galley (power play, 13th) and Andrei Lomakin (8th), while rookie Tommy Soderstrom (17 saves on 20 shots) gets the win.
- 1995: The Flyers grind out a 3-1 road win over the Washington Capitals behind strong goaltending from Ron Hextall (26 saves), a late second period tying goal by Rod Brind'Amour (8th) and an early third period go-ahead goal by Eric Lindros (23rd, assisted by Legion of Doom linemates Mikael Renberg and John LeClair). Defenseman Kevin Haller adds an empty-netter with 21 seconds left in the game.
- 2004: The Flyers open the playoffs against a New Jersey Devils that tormented them in previous years. Philly gets a jump in the series with a 3-2 home win in Game 1, spurred by goals from Simon Gagne, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau. Robert Esche (37 saves) takes a shutout into the third period before New Jerseys trims a 3-0 deficit down to 3-2. However, Esche slams the door thereafter.
- 2014: A stellar 38-save performance by Steve Mason and a four-goal Flyers outburst after a scoreless first period lifts the team to a 5-2 road win over the Florida Panthers.
APRIL 8: Flyers Birthday
- Big and truculent defenseman Dave Richter was born April 6, 1960 in St.Boniface, Manitoba.