May 7, 2010, 10:57 PM EDT
Holy playoff hockey. Rushed back into a must-win game to help save a series, Simon Gagne returned to the Flyers lineup with a presence that was felt all night, especially WHEN HE SCORED THE GAME-WINNER IN OVERTIME!!!
Sorry, still a little excited here. We were this close to seeing SHIP RECCHED on the back of the Daily News tomorrow. The Flyers outplayed the Bruins for most of the night, but still found themselves in the fourth period after allowing Mark Recchi to tie the game with less than a minute to play in regulation. Recchi continues to haunt the Flyers, scoring two goals tonight, his second and third of the series through four games.
But the star of this one turned out to be Gagne.
He missed some shifts late in the game, including OT, spreading worry that he was hurting too bad to continue. No one could hold it against him if he took himself out of the game, a brutal contest just two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken toe. Instead, Gagne took another shift and planted himself in front of Tuukka Rask. Mike Richards advanced with the puck into the zone, slammed on the breaks, and swung a pass to Matt Carle, who threw it down to Gagne for the easy put-in behind Rask.
That was Carle's fourth assist on the night, and he was on the ice for all five Flyers goals.
Another way in which we saw how this team was really missing its injured stars came on Chris Pronger's second period goal. In game two, Richards was tossed from a faceoff, and Scott Hartnell came in to take it. Hartnell was easily dispatched, and the Bruins scored right off the faceoff. On Pronger's goal tonight, Richards was again tossed out, but Gagne was able to take the draw and win it, and the Flyers got the puck back to Prong Daddy for the blast.
Speaking of Scott Hartnell… He's had a rough season, a quiet playoffs to put it nicely. Tonight he didn't have a perfect game, but he did play with some great intensity, making big hits and forechecking well. If nothing else, it was a great sign to see him waking up in a critical game, and his creative assist (he kicked a puck to Claude Giroux in the crease) was vintage Harts from last season. Ville Leino potted a goal tonight, his third point of the series; hard to ask much more from him while filling in for a banged up team. Speaking of banged up… In addition to Gagne being slowed late in the third period, Dan Carcillo was hurt at some point in the game. We'll update his status when we hear what's up, but it doesn't sound like it's nothing.
Chris Pronger was a beast from the point, scoring once and hatching an assist Leino's deflection goal. Danny Briere had an outstanding game, putting up a goal and an assist, but also just generally giving the Bruins fits around the net. Giroux scored his first of the series after leading the team with four goals against New Jersey in the opening round. No better time for him to find the net, and hopefully his scoring touch.
Brian Boucher allowed four goals on 41 shots, making some huge saves but also coughing up a terrible goal on a bounce that wasn't all that weird off of the boards behind him. He just played it wrong, and the muff allowed the Bruins back into the game. But uh… IT DOESN'T MATTER!! FLYERS WIN!!!
I may add to this later/tomorrow, but it's been a long day… GREAT NIGHT.
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