Gagne’s Overtime Goal Keeps Flyers Alive

   
Gagnegame4bosOTwinner

Simon Gagne expected to return this series, but not until Game 5 or 6. However, after an MRI following practice Thursday afternoon showed much improvement with his broken right big toe, which required surgery, Gagne suited up for tonight's pivotal Game 4. On the brink of elimination, with 5:40 left in overtime, Gagne deflected a pass from Matt Carle behind Tuukka Rask to give the Flyers a 5-4 win and send the series back to Boston.

Like most playoff hockey games, this one was a roller coaster ride for the fans, exacerbated by the fact that if the Flyers lost, they were going home. Early in the first, Giroux broke in alone on Rask, only to shoot the puck wide. After several missed Flyer opportunities (including a JVR blocked shot by Zdeno Chara on an open net), Mark Recchi beat Boucher with a little over four minutes remaining in the opening frame to again give the B's a 1-0 lead. However, with 54 seconds remaining in the first, Danny Briere fired a slapshot through Rask's five hole to knot the score heading into intermission.

The Flyers opened the second period with a bang. Just four minutes in, Chris Pronger netted his fourth goal of the playoffs on a wrist shot from just below the blue line. Claude Giroux, set up on a kick pass from Scott Hartnell (the first time he may have done something right ever), lifted the rubber over Rask's extended left pad to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead, their first two goal lead of the series. Then Boucher happened. With all of the momentum on the Flyers side, Boucher let a puck that bounced off the boards behind the net trickle off the inside of his pad and squeak through his five hole to put the Bruins right back in the game just two short minutes later. Talk about a momentum killer: it's time's like that when I wonder how Boucher would play on a local street hockey team, let alone the NHL.

Early in the third, the Bruins tied the game at three on a deflection from Milan Lucic on a Dennis Wideman wrist shot. After exchanging scoring chances through the third, Ville Leino deflected (theme of the night) a Chris Pronger wrist shot to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead. With just over a minute remaining, the Bruins pulled the goalie in exchange for an extra attacker. And with twenty seconds left, Mark Recchi, somehow left alone in front, fired a Patrice Bergeron pass by Boucher to tie the game again. Every time it seemed as though the Flyers were going to win the game, the Bruins found an answer. Until Simon Gagne won it in overtime.

Flyers Files:

-Dan Carcillo didn't play much after a second period cross-checking penalty. According to Tim Panaccio via Twitter, Carcillo suffered a knee injury in the first. He remained on the bench but didn't play. Also, Carcillo's mustache rocks.

-Simon Gagne only had a shift or two in overtime before his game-winning goal. While I'm not sure why, it was a hell of a time to come off the bench and win it, and a feel-good story because he's playing hurt. He finished the game with a team-high 7 shots and had plenty of jump. Marc Savard led both teams in shots with 8.

-Danny Briere's first-period goal was one of the few times this series I thought, "Damn, Rask should of had that." But after so many missed opportunities throughout the series, the Flyers can use a few breaks.

-Matt Carle finished the game with 4 assists and +5. Impressive.

-Chris Pronger led the Flyers in ice time, logging 37:33. Dennis Wideman led the Bruins in TOI with 33:13. Pronger is a playoff warrior.

-Game 5 resumes in Boston on Monday Night at 7PM on CSN (no longer Versus). Although it would be difficult to come back from down 3-0, the Flyers are on their way. And it can be done…Montreal just eliminated Washington in round 1 when down 3-1 in the series. I'll be in Boston in Game 5, I'll still try to have a recap done. Hopefully I'll see some Philly fans up there with me!

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