Monday, May 10, 2010

Boucher hurt, Leighton and Gagne play hero as Flyers keep rolling with Game 5 win

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Simon Gagne scored a pair of goals while Michael Leighton returned from a long layoff and filled in for the injured Brian Boucher, helping the Philadelphia Flyers dominate the Boston Bruins, 4-0, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals from TD Garden.

Leighton, who hasn't played since March 16 and missed almost eight weeks with a high left ankle sprain, held off the home team for the final 35:25 of the contest by stopping all 14 shots he faced.

Boucher, the starter, left early in the second period with a lower-body injury after making nine stops but nonetheless received credit for the victory.

Ville Leino added a goal and one assist while Scott Hartnell also tallied for the Flyers, who have won the last two games in the series after dropping the first three and head home for Game 6 on Wednesday.

Philadelphia halted a seven-game road playoff losing streak to Boston, dating back to Game 3 of the 1977 Stanley Cup semifinals, and also blanked the B's for the first time in the postseason since clinching Game 6 of the 1974 Cup Finals.

Tuukka Rask allowed all four goals on 31 shots in defeat for the Bruins, who still lead the series 3-2 despite suffering their first home loss of the 2010 postseason after five straight wins.

Boston suffered its first home playoff shutout loss since Game 2 of last year's conference semifinals against Carolina.

Boucher exited with an apparent leg injury with 4:35 played in the second period, when he was flattened during a scrum in the crease. Defenseman Ryan Parent looked to be the culprit, as he collided with Boucher and landed with his full weight on the goaltender's left leg.

Leighton came in and immediately had to face a Bruins power play, but he stood tall despite the layoff. His teammates rewarded that stand at the 11:16 mark, when Hartnell batted a puck out of the air at the right post for a 2-0 game.

It was 3-0 on a Philly power play as Gagne one-timed a Mike Richards feed from the top of the crease at 17:53.

Gagne picked up his second straight tally at the 6:48 mark of the third period. He gathered a loose puck after Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman broke his stick in the neutral zone, broke in on the left side, and stuck a wrister inside the left post for a 4-0 game.

Leighton was rarely tested throughout the third, but made two key stops: a sliding pad save on a Michael Ryder shot from the slot more than six minutes in, then came up with a sweeping glove stop on Daniel Paille with 1:10 left in regulation.

Leino put the visitors on the scoreboard at the 6:41 mark of the opening period, when he flipped the rebound of a Chris Pronger shot over Rask from in front.

Though the Flyers failed to convert a four-minute power play later in the period, Boucher stopped eight shots to keep Philly ahead by one after 20 minutes.

NOTES: This was the first combined shutout in the NHL playoffs since March 22, 1955 when Montreal did it to Boston, and therefore the first in Flyers' history since the club did not come into existence until 1967...Prior to the game, the Bruins unveiled a statue of Hall-of-Fame defenseman Bobby Orr, which immortalizes his game-winning goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals over the Blues on this date...For the Flyers, it was their first road playoff win in Boston since May 4, 1976 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup semifinals...It was also the club's third straight road playoff whitewash, after Boucher shut down New Jersey in Game 5 of the East quarters on April 22, and Martin Biron blanked Pittsburgh by a 3-0 count in Game 5 of the East quarters on April 23, 2009.

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