It was kind of ironic watching the Flyers live by the shootout yesterday, since they’ve spent the last few years dying by it.
Claude Giroux drilled one through Henrik Lundqvist’s five-hole, then beleaguered Flyers goalie Brian Boucher came up with his hugest stop of the season, turning away New York’s Olli Jokinen to give his team the pivotal 2-1 victory that put them into the playoffs. They’ll even get the opponent they wanted most, Martin Brodeur and the Devils, whom they’ve beaten five of six times this season.
“We as coaches try to go through every scenario that might come up in a game and shootouts are certainly one of them,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, whose club came in 3-3 in shootouts. “We worked on it [Saturday] in practice, especially for this reason.”
But first they had to get there. It didn’t seem promising early, when the Rangers grabbed the lead on Jody Shelley’s deflection. Lundqvist made the 1-0 edge stand up through more than two periods. Finally, Matt Carle’s rebound on the power play 6:54 into the third tied it. After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to shootout.
It came down to Giroux for the Flyers and Jokinen for the Rangers, following shootout goals by Danny Briere and Pa Parenteau.
“I was pretty nervous that I would let the guys down,” said Giroux. “Yesterday and all last night I was thinking about it. It definitely doesn’t get better than that.”
Once Giroux opened the door, Boucher slammed it shut on the Rangers.
“I’m not a huge fan of it,” Boucher said of the shootout. “But, seeing that we won today, I guess it’s all right. It was a dogfight for us to get into the playoffs. Now we have to regroup, and heal up quick and be ready to go.”