Flyers hold on to beat Dallas, Boucher comes up big

AP Photo/Amy Gutierrez

They haven’t won in Dallas since 1996. Their goaltender was making his first start since Dec. 21 of the last calendar year. Yet, for the Philadelphia Flyers they found a way to beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 last night in Dallas for the first time since ’96.

As for Brian Boucher, who has found himself as the new ‘guy’ for the Flyers played a stellar game where he gave his team every chance to come out a winner, and they did.

Boucher stopped 29 shots last night and some of those were point-blank huge saves for the Flyers. The Stars through everything at Boosh, but he kept on plugging away making the key saves. With Michael Leighton essentially done for the season, the second coming of Boucher will be a tougher road this time around. However, he got off to a pretty good start.

“I’m sure it’s a confidence boost for him,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “Like we’ve said all along, we’ve been confident in our goaltending. The guys that have been in the net, they work hard and they want to get in there. (Boucher) has been waiting a long time.”

“To be honest, it sounds crazy but I feel like I’ve played some pretty good hockey this year,” Boucher said. “I feel like my record is no justice for how I feel I’ve played. I feel it could be a lot better.”

Luckily for Boucher, the Flyers provided insurance by scoring, and scoring late. Simon Gagne got the scoring started for the Flyers when tied the game up at 1-1 late in the first period after knocking in a rebound off a Mike Richards shot. It was a dirty goal, good to see the Flyers pestering Kari Lehtonen all night as it paid off.

“Richie [Richards] worked himself out for a wrap-around,” Gagne said.  “The rebound came right back into the slot. He got the first one and then I got the rebound and the puck went in.”

Steve Ott would strike again for his second goal of first period that led the Stars into the locker room up 2-1 at that point.

Richards would nod things back at 2-2 when he took a pass from Gagne on an odd-man break and beat Lehtonen with his signature five-hole backhand. Pretty goal from the captain.

“He tried to make a pass across and I was able to block the pass. I was kind of going on a semi-breakaway,” said Gagne. “I thought I was going to be able to go on a breakaway with my speed but the other defenseman was pretty quick and was able to come back. I saw Richie just behind me there. I was able to pass it off to Richie and he made a nice play and scored.”

The Flyers would play back-and-forth hockey in the third with the Stars until Scott Hartnell redirected a Jeff Carter one-timer at 7:22 that looked to hit off his backside and pass Lehtonen. That put the Flyers ahead 3-2. After Hartnell’s go-ahead goal, Boucher would quickly be put the work and he answered the bell.

Bouche made what ended up being a game-saving stop on Dallas’ Karlis Skrastins. He made a big pad stop after Skrastins took a quick snapshot from the slot.

“That was definitely the key save of the game,” said Laviolette. “We had gotten the lead and it was point-blank across the ice and he came up with it. That was the biggest save of the night.”

The game got dicey in the final minute; however, because of terrible Chris Pronger cross-checking penalty. Boucher and the Flyers defense had to come up huge in the final 30 seconds of the game. Boucher made a couple huge saves to before the Stars finally ran out of time in the game.

“Big confidence boost for him,” Hartnell said of Boucher. “He was making saves, getting rebounds, playing the puck exceptionally well … A big confidence boost for him. He let the guys in front of him know he can make the saves. We’re happy for him.”

The Flyers are now  7-7-1 against the Western Conference this season and are 1-1-1 on this current road trip.

Notes:

Last night’s win was Boucher’s first win since Dec. 14 in Boston(3-1 score)…Gagne picked up his 519th and 520th career point to pass Gary Dornhoefer for 10th place on the Flyers’ all-time scoring list.

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