Boucher steller as Flyers oust Devils in 5 games

The Philadelphia Flyers were a team in the regular season that lacked consistency, urgency, and in some cases life. However, after last night’s game 5 series clinching win against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers are a new team.

A team with urgency, consistency and life. The Flyers ousted the New Jersey Devils in five games after they handed Martin Brodeur and his Devils their third straight first-round exit, 3-0.

Brian Boucher shocked the hockey world by besting the future hall-of-fame goalie in Brodeur. Boucher came into this series trying not to relive history that happened to him a decade ago when his Flyer were up three games to one against these Devils in the 2000 Eastern Conf. Finals when New Jersey rallied off three straight wins to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Boucher didn’t only forget about what happened those 10 years ago, he captured his own history and out-dueled the Devils and became the first team in the NHL playoffs to move on to the next round.

What helped the Flyers last night was the seemingly dead effort the Devils brought forth. They looked effortless, as if they already knew the outcome of the game. Something hockey onlookers don’t see too often, or ever, out of the New Jersey Devils.

“That relentless pressure, that physicality and just grinding away on them and guys sacrificing to do what it takes,” said Chris Pronger.

A lot of that sacrificing can be directed towards Ian Laperierre. The grizzled veteran took a puck above his right eye from Paul Martin’s slap shot during a penalty kill. ‘Lappy’ took between 60-70 stitches to close the cut above his right eye. The unsung hero of this club vowed to wear a visor from now on so he “can see my kids grow up with both eyes.”

“When you got a good-looking guy like Lappy taking one in the face, guys doing whatever it takes,” added Pronger. “Sometimes, blocking one with your face is what it takes. Guys see that on the bench and it only makes them pusher harder and sacrifice more.”

The Flyers had a lot to overcome heading into this game. Missing pieces such as Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter, Philadelphia knew this had to be a game of desperation and sacrifice. It proved to be about that.

The happy whistles came into play once again last night where the Flyers were called for nine penalties but were able to kill all of them.

“Finding that consistency, game in and game out, period in and period out intensity and focus and right now, we have that,” Pronger said. “We need to continue it and bottle it each game.”

As stated early in the article, the Devils showed zero effort and were very underwhelming to say the least. To say the Devils under achieved in this series would be an understatement. It started with the goalie and trickled down to the last guy on the bench.

“When you’re up 3-1 [in a series], they’re looking for any sign of life and we did a great job to end it here tonight,” Boucher said. “It seemed a lot of their chances came on the power play in this series. They got some chances. We got the bounces tonight.”

Boucher proved in this series that he has a different motor in the playoffs. The Flyers can only hope that he carries this heavy momentum into the next round where the Flyers will most likely face the Washington Capitals.

Another highlight throughout the series was the play of Claude Giroux. The sophomore forward proved during last year’s playoff series against the Penguins that he was  a superstar in the making. The superstar woke up during these last five games. Giroux netted two more goals last night and added an assist to the total.

Overall, Giroux along with captain Mike Richards helped fuel this Flyers team past the Devils in only five games.

“He’s so skilled, I thought it was just a matter of time before he came out,” Richards said. “The bigger the game, the bigger his game was. He really stepped up and played a lot of big minutes and stepped up big offensively.”

Danny Briere scored on the power-play in the first period after backhanding a pass from Giroux pass Brodeur. The pass from Giroux was the best play of the series. Giroux was on the left-side end boards and sent a spin-o-rama pass over to a streaking Briere for the opening score.

Now the question is, who’s next?

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