Apr 22, 2010, 11:16 PM EDT
Put away the concerns over choking away a 3-1 series lead. After 10 years, Brian Boucher has gotten his revenge on Martin Brodeur and the Devils.
Led by growing playoff legend Claude Giroux on offense, an amazing penalty killing unit, and BOOSH in net, the Flyers put the Devils down in their own barn, and it wasn't even close. Boucher had an outstanding game, capping a nearly flawless opening series with a 3-0 shutout win. The critics have been turned into fans. Boucher just outplayed Brodeur in a playoff series, allowing a total of eight goals in five games.
Giroux did everything he could to quiet any concerns over the loss of Simon Gagne for three weeks and Jeff Carter until next season. Their absence will still hurt, but the best we could ask for was one of the younger guys to step up, and Giroux did so to the tune of two goals and an assist in the series finale. That makes four goals and six points in five games…
Danny Briere, moved to center to replace Carter, would score the Flyers' other goal on a sweet tip through the narrowest of windows past Brodeur. For the second game in a row, Briere took the scoring reigns, a role he'll need to maintain throughout these playoffs. He also robbed a sure Devils goal just before crossed the line.
Mike Richards very quietly had another huge game. Called the best Flyers forward in this series by Lavvy on Sunday, Richie has shown exactly the leadership-by-example we expect from him, highlighted by some nearly flawless two-way play.
There was a horrific moment to sober up the early celebration in the third period though. Ian Laperriere—stop me if you heard this one before—took a shot to the face after sliding for the block. He jumped up with his hands over his face, and blood began pouring out. Absolutely terrifying.
Lappy is OK, sewn up to the tune of 60-70 stitches, but CSN's John Boruk says that he'll be wearing a shield from now on.
Dude thought he lost an eye, had to ask Jim McCrossin if it was still in there, and said he wants to see his kids grow up. Makes sense. I'd have retired eleventy times by now if I were him. I immediately thought the shield meant the end of his fighting career, since the reason he's never gone to it before is that it's against the code for a guy whose game includes regularly dropping the gloves. But Lappy addressed that too, saying he'll just take the thing off if he gets in a fight. Warrior.
Lappy's eagerness to lay down and block a shot after what he went through earlier in the season highlights one characteristic of this team that helped it advance past a Devils team that, by comparison, had a lot of quit in it. With 10 seconds left to play, Braydon Coburn laid out to block a shot just to preserve the shutout. Not to get all campfire and bongos here, but this is a selfless team that is playing and winning as a unit.
We'd be remiss if we didn't drop a few lines in here about the continued parade to the penalty box that was thematic of this opening round. It felt like half this series was spent with one team or the other on the power play; many of the calls were legit, but far too many were ticky-tackers that had little impact on the play. There were 20 total penalties called tonight, 11 against the Flyers. We can only hope the next series loosens up some, although it didn't exactly hurt the Flyers against the Devils. I doubt the Caps' (presumably) loaded offense will be as easily dispatched.
It's been a long night with a lot going on, so that's it for now. We'll have much more this weekend and leading up to the round two matchup. For now, it's time to sit back and celebrate a huge series win over the 2-seed in the East, an upset that lasted all season. Guarantees and jelly jars.
(Lappy pic via CSN's @jrfinger)
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