The Flyers entered this duel in the Great North looking to buck the trend of the home team winning every game of the season series with the Maple Leafs. They also wanted to string together their first pair of consecutive wins almost a month.
A win would put them in a position to seal a playoff berth with at least one win in their upcoming home and home series against the Rangers. Still in a position to control their own fate, the Flyers wanted to take control of this game and, subsequently, the standings.
Their early first period play was a far cry from the opening minute goal they earned in their win on Sunday. Rife with turnovers, the Flyers’ sloppy start was worrisome, though Dan Carcillo had the remedy with a fight against Garnet Exelby that woke his teammates up.
Danny Briere chased the opposing center out of the faceoff circle minutes later, leaving him to face left winger Fredrik Sjostrom. The clean draw back to the point set up a pass back down to Briere set up along the goal line and a quick pass out front to a streaking Claude Giroux who buried it to take the lead.
The end of the first saw the Flyers controlling play, with plenty of fire being built up between the two teams. In the last three minutes of the first period, the two teams accumulated a whopping 34 penalty minutes.
The second was more of the first it seemed, though the Leafs were getting the better of the play this time around. By the time the third and final period rolled around, the Leafs looked like they were on the verge of the tying goal. However, with a 29-1-3 record when leading after two, the Flyers were not going to let them come back so easily.
Brian Boucher made a handful of spectacular saves, keeping the Flyers alive until captain Mike Richards could put in an empty net goal to finish off the game 2-0.
After this night of play, the Flyers sit one point behind the sixth place Canadiens, and one point ahead of the eighth place Bruins, whom they were able to jump ahead of with this win. The Flyers final two games come Friday and Sunday against the Rangers, who find themselves four points back, but with one extra game to play.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Brian Boucher: In Boucher’s first back to back wins of the season, he not only came through to make the saves he had to, but also stepped up and kept out pucks in the more clutch situations. This ability, quite different from his lackluster play throughout much of the year, is the way he’ll need to play if the Flyers want to be taken seriously come playoffs. Boucher stopped all 23 shots he faced on the night.
Claude Giroux: The youngster, fighting his sophomore slump, picked up goals in consecutive games for only the second time this season. Him getting hot will be a key to the Flyers’ offense down the stretch, especially if Jeff Carter comes back to add another level of firepower.
Ian Laperriere: “Lappy” had his work cut out for him as the leading forward on penalty kills in a night where the Flyers gave the Leafs power play unit 6 opportunities on the ice. His unwavering desire to block shots played a pivotal role in killing all of the penalties off in this tight shutout effort.