NEWARK, NJ – It took 10 years, but Brian Boucher finally exorcised his own personal demon when he and the Philadelphia Flyers shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0 and advanced to the second round of the NHL playoffs, with some help from Claude Giroux (two goals) and Daniel Briere (one goal).
Since the series was first announced, the media brought up 2000, when the Flyers and Boucher lost in seven games to the Devils after carrying a 3-1 series lead. Most players who seek redemption from a bad series might want to gloat after the game, but that wasn’t the case after Thursday night’s win. The sting of 10 years ago still remains for Boucher, but at least now he can rest knowing that he and his teammates took care of business this time around.
Boucher earned his second career playoff shutout and did not allow an even strength goal in the final 187:39 of the series. The seventh-seeded Flyers handed the Devils their third consecutive first round exit. Speaking of exits, someone who might be leaving New Jersey for good could be Ilya Kovalchuk, who guaranteed a win in last night’s game. For Chris Pronger, words were exactly that.
“Talk is cheap. I guess you need to back it up,” he said. “We were able to do that.”
It was the first time the Flyers eliminated a playoff opponent via a shutout since April 16, 1987 when they beat the New York Rangers 5-0 in the Patrick Division semifinals. That year the Flyers went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers were 9-2 against the Devils this season.