All Hail Simon Gagne!
The Flyers left winger completed about as gutsy a comeback as they come by last night by scoring the overtime winning goal to send the Eastern Conference Semifinals series between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins back to Beantown. It wasn’t an easy victory for the Flyers by any means, but who honestly thought it would be? Sure, the desperation was there, but there was also a desire from the men in Black and Gold to sweep the men in Orange and Black out of the playoffs. Thankfully, the home team prevailed, and lived to see another day.
Things didn’t look promising off the bat. The Flyers were outshot in the first period by Boston by a total of 10-9, and trailed about halfway into the first period on a Mark Recchi rebound goal that made the score 1-0 in Boston’s favor. Thankfully for the Flyers, Danny Briere continued his rapid scoring pace, netting a goal with less than a minute left to make the score even at one as the two teams headed to the dressing room. The Flyers had a solid first period, but the Bruins were able to match their desperation, thanks once again to Boston’s incredibly solid defensive scheme. The second period, and the long change that came with it for both sides, would have to be the period where the Flyers established tempo. Fortunately for the Orange and Black, they did just that.
Entering the period deadlocked at one, the Flyers got goals from Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux to make the score 3-1 in their favor and get the Wachovia Center crowd rockin’. However, a flukey bounce off a dump-in from Michael Ryder allowed the Bruins to put the puck past Brian Boucher and into the back of the net and give the visitors some life in the second. The Bruins started to tilt the ice in their favor from that point on, and began to build some momentum heading into the third. The Flyers still had the 3-2 edge after two periods of play, but the game was far from over. The Flyers trailed in the shot total, 20-19, as the Boucher and Tuukka Rask each saw ten offerings in the second frame. Suddenly, as the third began, there was light, and there was a vision of going back to Boston for Game Five.
Milan Lucic zapped it away with a redirection goal for the game-tying marker a little less than four minutes into the third period. The score stayed tied at three for the majority of the period, with both teams exchanging opportunities. However, with just a little over five minutes left, Chris Pronger let fly a wrister from the point that glanced off the stick of Ville Leino and past Rask to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Flyers, and send the Wachovia Center back into a state of bedlam. In the minutes the followed, a frantic pace ensued. Neither team gave up an inch, and the Bruins pulled Rask in favor of the extra attacker with a minute left. With one more player on the ice than the Flyers, the visitors capitalized, and a former Flyer pulled the trick. Mark Recchi received a beautiful pass from Patrice Bergeron and beat Brian Boucher to make the score 4-4 and shock the Philadelphia crowd.
The shock was shortlived as the game shifted into overtime. The Flyers came through in a big way as SIMON GAGNE came back from injury (just like Marc Savard in Game One) and gave the Flyers life in this series with his OT Winner. Now, it’s a two-day lay-off before Game Five takes place Monday night in Boston. The Bruins will have a lot of time to think before then, and it’s a safe bet to say that they will not want to be coming back to Philadelphia, so they’ll try to wrap things up in Boston. The Flyers on the other hand, have a pulse in this series and will try to gut and claw their way back into it.
Things are about to get very interesting.
Check out Gagne’s winner here: