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Boucher still starred in one that got away

by Mike G. Morreale /
BOSTON -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher wishes he had one more chance at that overtime game-winner by Boston's Marc Savard that sent TD Garden into a state of euphoria on Saturday afternoon.

After all, he was seeing everything else directed his way en route to 14 stops in the extra period before the hometown hero fired a rope over Boucher's left shoulder from the right circle at the 13:52 mark to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal.

The five goals were the most Boucher has allowed in six Stanley Cup Playoff games this season and, really, he couldn't be faulted. He finished the contest with 41 saves, many of the spectacular variety.

"(Savard) put it in a good spot, up top over the glove," Boucher said. "I don't know if it was a broken play, but we were hemmed in there and he pretty much got all of it. It's tough to say; I'd like to have that one back, knowing now where he put it. But that's why they're happy to get him back. He's a guy who can do that and hopefully we'll come back strong for Game 2 (on Monday)."

While the Flyers struggled to find their legs in the opening period, it was Boucher who maintained his poise and positioning to keep his club within striking distance -- allowing two goals on 15 shots. Despite the loss, Boucher still sports a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage -- he yielded his first even-strength goal in 10 periods when Steve Begin connected 2:39 into the first.

"He was awesome," said Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who logged a team-high 31:23 of ice time. "Obviously, that overtime for the first two-and-a-minutes, he made countless unbelievable saves. He stuck with the guy when he faked that shot and stayed square to the puck. It's not easy for a goaltender to follow through traffic and through guys in front. He made some unbelievable saves for us."

Boucher stopped Boston's Michael Ryder on a pair of point-blank opportunities in the overtime, including a sensational left-arm denial on an uncontested rip from between the circles. He even denied Boston's towering defenseman Zdeno Chara on consecutive slap shots from the point just before Savard would score his eighth playoff goal in 19 career games.

"I though the first and overtime periods were when they were at their best," Boucher said. "I thought we played a good second period and thought they got a little lucky break on that (second-period) goal (by Miroslav Satan). We blocked a shot and it went right onto his tape on his forehand. But I did feel they were the more desperate club in the first and overtime."

After playing in perhaps his most physically demanding game of the playoffs so far, Boucher remained upbeat and positive.

"I felt pretty good (throughout)," he said. "I felt good about my game. Unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted."

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who wasn't thrilled with his team's opening period when the eight-day layoff seemed to really have an effect, felt Boucher kept the game within reach with his effort in the opening 20 minutes.

"I think everyone was kind of in the same boat," Laviolette said. "When your team's not playing well, there are usually more chances and more opportunities than a goaltender wants or than we're used to giving him.

"I think we move together as a team," he added. "We started poorly, in the second we gave up the power-play goal and the third was our best (period). The chances were definitely in our favor (in the third). As the game went on, (Boucher) got stronger."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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