Hey, Boucher! Knock knock! "Who's there?" The puck!
Last night the Islanders wasted no time getting on the board, ending the first period with a 3 goal to none lead over the Flyers with two fluky goals, and an odd man rush.
The first two goals escaped the possibility of Boucher stopping them seeing as how one was redirected off of Flyers forward, Danny Briere's stick, and another off of D-man, Lucas Krajicek. Neither of these scores were Boucher's fault given both bounced off of a Flyer who had good positioning. It was just by mere chance and lucky redirections for New York.
It was the third goal scored by Islanders center, Frans Nielson, on a 2 man odd man rush on Boucher just seconds after goal number two that seemed to dawn the idea that the Flyers will not get the chance to sweep their division rivals this regular season.
By this point I was not surprised. With the hot and cold streak the Flyers have had all season long, it's felt like someone's been rubbing Bengay in my eyes while watching the games.
After the third goal, Boucher stood up, took a drink of water and gazed up to the jumbo tron with those classic "deer in the headlights" look. By now in the season every time I see a break away or an odd man rush on Boucher, I hang my head as if the goal against us had already happened. I believe Mel Gibson has a better shot saving a seat at a Bar Mitzvah than Boucher has on saving chances like that.
Nonetheless, the Flyers still had an entire 52 minutes to comeback in this game, and that's a lot of hockey.
The Islanders do not play their best when they dig in their heels and play conservatively, and this is what I was counting on.
The boys in orange began their comeback with great attack on Islanders goaltender, Marty Biron's net. Even Mike Richards was showing heated aggression in the opponents' crease and getting physical after the whistle which, lately, has been noticeably missing from his game.
Biron was making tremendous stops and gave up a very limited amount of rebounds all night. He was a man on a mission, last night, determined to finally defeat Philadelphia for the first time since his '06 - '07 NHL season.
As you all know, Flyers forward, Dan Carcillo, missed last night's game due to a match penalty called on March 28th against the Devils, and suspended two games. Philly certainly missed him given that he's been a key player who has the ability to draw penalties. When you're down by three goals and you need to make a comeback, power plays are a must.
The Flyers went into the second intermission down only two goals now after Aaron Asham finally beat Biron top shelf with a little over seven minutes remaining.
After the Islanders scored their 5th goal just 2.5 minutes into the third, Brian Boucher was retired in net by back up, Jeremy Duchesne. Boucher has not won back to back games this entire season for the Flyers, so why should it start now? Even though Boosh had a record of 2 - 0 against the Islanders this year, he is far from dependable. I've mentioned that before, and I apologize for repeating myself, but it's the same problem every game. I'd say something needs to change, however there is nothing else that could be done in net. Injuries have swept the tender position like a plague, and the best we have is Brian Boucher. That's like telling me the best defenses we have against the Roman Empire are nerf guns and rabid raccoons.
With 5:06 left in the game, and the Islanders up 6 - 2, the Flyers seemed to catch a break from the league's war room in Toronto when Briere's wrap around goal came back from review as, indeed, a goal. I thought I was having a stroke and seeing things at first since our record in reviewed scores is despicable.
The Flyers pulled Duchesne from net after Darrol Powe gave Philadelphia their 4th goal with just a 1:09 left to play. We kept the puck behind their blue line and had a few one timers blocked before the buzzer sounded, ending the game with an Islanders victory, 6 - 4.
I took one positive from this game and that was Flyers forward, Ville Leino, is continuing to show promise. Although he went the night without a point, his play in front of Biron was very good. I have a feeling this kid has stapled himself permanently on a starting line. Forgive me if you disagree, but Ville reminds me that he the potential of becoming as effective as Mike Knuble in the crease. Leino's vision and reaction timing gets me thinking that with an entire season under his belt, he could rack up as much as 15 garbage goals.
Philadelphia remains tied for 6th place with the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins who all have the Atlanta Thrashers just two points behind them. Luckily the Flyers got help from around the league last night and still clutch playoff positioning. Does that give you reason to exhale in relief? Absolutely not. With Brian "Green Light" Boucher in net, and a backup who has only proven he can strap on some goalie pads, this is looking like it could end in ruins.
Next game is tonight at home versus the Montreal Canadiens, @ 7:00pm. It's a must win.
Below I have added a video of one of Marty Biron's saves just to give you an idea of the performance he laid out all evening.