Written By Tim Panaccio, CSNPhilly.com
Which was more important in Game 6? The fact that Michael Leighton, making his first NHL playoff start, nearly pitched another shutout or the fact that Danny Briere's line had nothing but one dominant shift after another that gave the Flyers the impetus needed to force a Game 7 with a 2-1 win.
"Well, it's kind of hard not to be nervous when you have that crowd going like that right at the beginning of the game," Leighton said. "We've got a great building here. Just took me a few minutes again just to get my feet. The team played great in front of me. We did a great job."
"He didn't look [nervous]," said coach Peter Laviolette. "I thought he was really sharp. He got tested and, as the game went on, he got stronger and more relaxed. From just watching him, he seemed he was in charge of his net. There wasn't a lot of second opportunities."
The Bruins had 61 total shots, ie. including attempts, and the Flyers blocked half of them. Didn't Boston do that to the Flyers earlier in the series? The Bruins launched 60 attempts, of which 30 shots were blocked by the Flyers.
"Well, we've been doing that all series," Leighton said. "That was the main thing the first three games, I don't think we did that as much and that's why we're here right now. We're blocking shots, we're doing what we have to do and that's what wins hockey games."
Chris Pronger had three blocks, while his partner Matt Carle led the way with six.
"I think the last couple games, we've done a lot better job of just getting out in shooting lanes, forcing them either to shoot it wide or dump it back in behind," Pronger explained. "It's a testament to the forwards, them getting in lanes and sacrificing. Sometimes they're going to come through at you and other times they're just going to dump it back around and I think we're starting to figure that game out again."
Briere's line had several fine shifts to establish the tone and Briere scored the game-winner on the power play.
"They've been very good," Laviolette said. "They were good in Boston. They were good again tonight. I think all three players have had their best games in the playoffs and that line seems to have a little bit of chemistry."
It's all on Boston right now, eh?
"There's pressure on both teams," Pronger said. "We clawed our way back. They're going home for Game 7 and friendly confines of a home building. We have to make sure and stay focused. We have to understand we just played three do-or-die games and we have to play a fourth really well."
"I'm sure there's lots of pressure on them," Briere said. "The other team might win three games on you, but after they win three games after you're up 3-0, I'm sure the pressure is mounting even more.
"For us, we want it too. Now that we're here and now that we've climbed all the way back in this series, we want it too. We have to realize that the last game will be the toughest to leave with."
Now Tied 3-3
The Bruins are a rather sombre, stunned group right now. They were supposed to wrap this up days ago.
"You know, it's not over until it's over," said goalie Tuukka Rask. "We just focused on the next game and wanted to get that fourth win when we were up 3-0. We won three straight and now they won three straight, so it comes down to one game and it's going to be a huge game. I didn't think it was going to be [seven games], but anything can happen in the playoffs.
Added Milan Lucic: "Well, it's obviously been disappointing that we haven't been able to get that fourth win yet, but we can't let that get to us right now. Obviously, you know, missed opportunity. We've had three chances here so far and we haven't been able to do it. They've been playing well, so we have to find a way to break them down."
Flyers coach Terry Murray once used that phrase to describe going down 0-3 against Detroit in the 1997 Stanley Cup final. Could the same be applied to Claude Julien's team in this series?
"It's a situation where the winner of the game moves on," Julien said. "Tonight, in the first three minutes of the game, they really took it to us. But after that I thought we settled in and played hard.
"We didn't probably get enough scoring chances, although we had the puck in our end for quite a bit. In the third, we got more scoring chances and hit a few posts. The pucks just weren't going in for us tonight.
"I'm not going to criticize my players' effort. I thought we were ready. But somehow, we have to find a way to score goals. They had about 30 blocked shots tonight, so we shot about 61 shots at the net and 30 of them got blocked, so they did a great job at fronting our shots. You have to give them credit for doing that."