Flyers’ flurry puts them back in contention
PHILADELPHIA — There was a flurry of second-period action, a smooth wrist shot and an even smoother kick-pass through the crease and suddenly the Bruins were in trouble for the first time in the series.
But seemingly just as fast as Boston fell behind, it rebounded, twice erasing Flyer leads before falling on Simon Gagne’s overtime winner.
Other than a 1:39 stretch in the first period of Game 3, Boston had yet to play from behind in this series. Last night, after falling behind, 3-1, and again at 4-3, the Bruins were reminded of the sight of a scoreboard going the other way. The loss was also a reminder of what it takes to come from behind in the postseason.
“We battled from behind all night long,’’ said center Trent Whitfield. “You never want to do that, but we showed good character from the guys right down to the end.’’
The Flyers jumped out of the tunnel in the second period, getting goals from Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux, the latter coming off a pass from Scott Hartnell’s skate that skidded by Tuukka Rask. But Boston stole the momentum right as it was beginning to buoy the Flyers, and it started with a lucky bounce off the boards.
Michael Ryder’s hard dump-in off the end boards caromed back as if it had struck a trampoline, ticked off Brian Boucher’s glove as the goalie tried to trap it, and the puck trickled between his pads and into the net at 10:56 of the second. Milan Lucic deftly redirected a Dennis Wideman point shot early in the third to tie it up.
“When we were down by two goals we started to play better,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “We felt good going in [to overtime] because we battled back from a two-goal deficit.’’
There was spirit evident in the Flyers that had been absent in Game 3, as Philadelphia came back from the soft goal allowed by Boucher to take control on Ville Leino’s tally with 5:40 remaining. The Bruins joined in the give and take, stunning the crowd with an extra-attacker goal from Mark Recchi in the final minute, just when it looked as if the Flyers could safely pack their bags for Boston. Despite playing catch-up most of the night, the Bruins made it to overtime with a series sweep still in their sights.
“To get that tying goal at the end was big. You’ve got to give the guys credit for coming back there and tying it,’’ said Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart, who made his first appearance of the playoffs.
“You score with 30 seconds left to tie it up, you think you’re going to go into overtime and [win],’’ said fellow blue liner Johnny Boychuk. “It felt like we were actually going to come out and score that game-winning goal.’’
The Flyers managed to survive, finishing the battling Bruins off when Gagne tipped in a pass from Matt Carle 14:40 into overtime. It took a desperate effort from the Flyers to hold off Boston by a hair.
“When you get to the playoffs, desperation is huge,’’ Whitfield said. “We’ve shown that all playoffs long.’’
The Bruins are far from being in a desperate situation, still leading the series three games to one as they return to Boston. The Flyers, though, showed they aren’t ready to pack it in.
“At their best they are good, you have to give it to them,’’ Boychuk said. “But we just have to be better.’’