Written By Tim Panaccio CSNPhilly.com
What the hell just happened?
That's what the Boston Bruins were asking themselves after Monday's shocking 4-0 loss to the Flyers on home ice that has allowed Philly back into the series.
Boston was up three games to none. Now's 3-2 with Game 6 Wednesday in South Philly with an unusually late 8 p.m. start because of the Game 7 between Montreal and the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Anyway, Boston's veterans don't know what to say about allowing the Flyers to gather this much momentum.
Is this group nervous?
"I don't know if we were, maybe a little bit nervous," Zdeno Chara said. "It's hard to explain and really find words for it so for sure we didn't play with the composure we were playing with. Obviously we took way too many unnecessary penalties and spent a lot of time in the box and killing penalties."
Wait a minute. You're up 3-1 in a series on home ice. How can you be nervous?
"Maybe it wasn't nervous, it was just ... we couldn't make those plays we normally do, strong plays with the puck, plays that we are normally doing and all of the sudden it was tough for us to make those plays," Chara continued. "Sometimes you want to win a series so bad and it doesn't work for you."
Maybe the big, bad Bruins were overconfident. That's what Milan Lucic suggested.
"It seems like we are right now," he said. "I mean there's still a job that need to be done and everyone says that the fourth [game] is the hardest and it's proven to be like that now. I'm not going to take anything away from them, they've played great the last few games, but we haven't played nearly up to par to where we need to be to win that fourth game."
Giroux's status: Uncertain
Flyers forward Claude Giroux underwent baseline testing for a concussion on Tuesday and also had tests on his left shoulder. He was injured during Steve Begin's boarding penalty during the second period.
The Flyers either didn't have the concussion results available or didn't share them, but general manager Paul Holmgren said he expected his player in the lineup for Game 5.
Holmgren said Giroux's injury was "more shoulder" than head, which would make you think that his player passed the test.
As for his availability, "I'm not too sure yet," Giroux told CSNPhilly.com. "We'll know more tomorrow."
The news on goalie Brian Boucher was even worse than expected. He has a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. All "sprains" are tears, medically speaking. Holmgren said Boucher would miss at least a month. That implies he's done for the season.
Man in net?
That would Boucher's replacement, Michael Leighton, who joined the NHL history books to combine for that 4-0 shutout in Game 5.
Leighton's contract is up after this season. The Flyers and Leighton both said earlier they needed to see him perform in the playoffs to gauge whatever contract offer they might want to tender.
But Leighton was denied that chance when he sprained his left ankle in mid-March at Nashville. Now, the opportunity to "define" himself as a playoff goalie - the words of his coach, Peter Laviolette - has returned.
"I thought about it a little bit yesterday on the plane coming back," Leighton said. "It happened so quick yesterday, that I really didn't get to think about it. It is a big situation for me.
"But I'm not trying to put too much pressure on myself. You have pressure all year. I like playoff hockey. I like a good challenge and the team is playing great right now. The pressure is on the whole team, not one guy."
Leighton will be making his first playoff start in Game 6.
"Michael has done a great job when given the opportunity before hand and now he gets that chance again," Laviolette said. "There's a lot of confidence in the room. There's a lot of confidence with him in the net."
Some of the Flyers, among them, Danny Briere, were asked what it felt like being part of potential NHL history as only the third team ever to come back from the dead at 0-3 in a playoff series.
"There's not doubt about it, I would love to be part of the next team to do it," he said. "I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't care about that or didn't believe we can do it."
That's the one difference right now in the Flyers dressing room. The players genuinely believe they have planted an element of doubt into the Bruins' heads.
"A lot of the pressure is on them to close it out I think," said Mike Richards. "What's benefitting us right now is that we're just playing and not worrying about anything else that is going on or what the situation is.
"We're just playing hockey right now. When we do that, we can be a dangerous team."