VOORHEES, N.J. (AP) — Ten years after the Flyers counted on Brian Boucher to help bail them out of an 0-2 playoff hole, they’re needing the goalie to deliver again.
Boucher was in the net the last time — and one of only two times in team history — Philadelphia rallied from an 0-2 hole to win a round. He’ll get the start against Boston in Game 3 on Wednesday and the Flyers facing the same deficit.
The Flyers won four straight games against Pittsburgh in the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals, including the classic five-overtime Game 4. In 2000, the Flyers dropped the first two at home. This year, they lost two in Boston.
“We were pretty down going to Pittsburgh, feeling pretty bad about ourselves,” Boucher said. “We had not played well the first two games. We’re at home here. That’s one of the advantages. To be honest, we could probably play a bit better.”
The Flyers were beaten, but not terribly outplayed, in their first two losses to the Bruins. The Flyers hope a return to home ice and a rowdy arena for Game 3 on Wednesday can help get them back in the series.
But it will take more than a hostile crowd and a dose of pregame nostalgia to spark the Flyers.
“It’s not that we’ve played bad, but just play with more desperation than we’ve shown the last two games,” forward Danny Briere said. “We need a little bit more of the way we played in the first round against Jersey, kind of take their will away. I think we can do a better job of that.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette gave the team the day off to rest. The Bruins held an optional practice in Massachusetts and most of the top players took the day off.
“They held serve, now it’s our turn,” Laviolette said.
Both teams were ready to move on from a supposed biting incident in Game 2. Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo accused Bruins forward Marc Savard of biting his finger. Carcillo complained that Savard bit him after a whistle at the 5:55 mark of the second period.
Bruins coach Claude Julien pointed a finger at Carcillo, a regular atop the NHL’s penalty minutes, for exaggerating the chomp.
“When you watch replays, everybody’s seen how he embellishes,” Julien said. “So it’s hard to believe a guy when you see stuff that he does. We really don’t pay attention to that.”
Carcillo did not want to respond to Julien’s biting remarks. Savard called it a “non-issue” on Tuesday.
“It’s the last game, it’s over and hopefully I get matched up against his line,” Carcillo said.
Asked what has to change in Game 3, Flyers captain Mike Richards said, “I’m not sure.”
Two points are quickly obvious: Philadelphia needs more goals from players other than Richards and Briere and it has to start winning faceoffs.
Richards and Briere have four of the Flyers’ six goals in this series, a clear sign they miss injured scorers Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne. There is hope, albeit, slim as a stick blade, that Gagne could return in this series.
Gagne broke his right foot blocking a shot in Game 4 against New Jersey. He was walking around the Flyers’ practice facility Tuesday without crutches and his foot will be examined on Friday. He’s hopeful he could start skating this weekend. It’s still too early to determine if Gagne could return at any point in the best-of-seven series.
“If I’m able to play right away, I’ll try to do it,” he said.
The Bruins would love to quickly put away the Flyers and make Gagne’s availability a moot point.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Savard said. “We look at each game as the biggest game of the series and certainly Game 3 is going to be the same way.”