Flyers playoff-bound after shootout win
Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher made the biggest save of his season, stopping New York Rangers forward Olli Jokinen in a shootout, as the Flyers eked out a 2-1 victory, Sunday afternoon at the Wachovia Center.
The win gave the Flyers the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and eliminated the New York Rangers.
Boucher stopped two of three shots in the shootout while Rangers counterpart Henrik Lundqvist was beaten on a deke by Daniel Briere and a calculated snap shot by Claude Giroux.
(7) PHILADELPHIA vs. (2) New Jersey
(9) N.Y. RANGERS: Out of playoffs
"I think everybody on the bench was thinking about that last shot that he stopped," Briere said. "That was a big rush for us on the bench. I can't imagine what it was like for him."
In a matchup that had all the makings of a Game 7, Lundqvist delivered a playoff-worthy performance, making 46 saves in a losing cause. He was the best player on the ice
"If it wasn't for that goaltender, I think we would have won this game pretty handily," Boucher said.
Jody Shelley opened the scoring for the Rangers at 3:27 of the first period.
Forward Brandon Prust won a battle along the boards before the puck came to Michal Rozsival at the blue-line. Shelley, who was planted in front of the net, got a piece of the shot, tipping it past Boucher.
After that, the Flyers began pressing and never let up. Lundqvist was the only reason the score was close as the play was in the Rangers' end for most of the game.
With Philadelphia continuing to buzz in the third period, Matt Carle scored the equalizer at 6:54, shovelling in a rebound of a shot by Briere, on the power play.
A New York turnover in the neutral zone created the play that led to Carle's goal.
The Flyers finished the season with 88 points, tied with the Montreal Canadiens. But they earned the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, bumping the Habs to eighth by virtue of having two more wins.
"Hopefully, we can do something with our lifeline here and use the excitement and euphoria from this win and from our last little stretch of games here to propel us and do good things here in the playoffs," defenceman Chris Pronger said.
The Rangers will miss the post-season for the first time since the 2003-04 season.
"We believed that we could get in the playoffs, play well and build chemistry with the guys that we had, and the new guys that came in were great," Rangers defenceman Marc Staal said.
With files from The Associated Press