PHILADELPHIA – Simon Gagne made a triumphant return to the ice by scoring the game winning goal in overtime and lifting the Flyers to a 5-4 win over the Boston Bruins to stay alive in their second round playoff series. The Flyers still have a long road to climb down 3-1 in the series as the series shifts back to Boston on Monday night.
The Bruins got off to a 1-0 lead in the game, something they have done throughout the series, when Mark Recchi scored off of a rebound with Brian Boucher on the ice to give Boston the lead.
It looked as though it might be a long night for Philly but just before the end of the first period Danny Briere blasted a shot past Tuukka Rask that went between his legs. Rask knew it was a shot he could have had showing his displeasure after the goal.
The Flyers finally took a lead in the series in the second period when Chris Pronger’s shot from the point right off of a face-off to put the Flyers up 2-1. Claude Giroux would scored at 8:35 when Scott Hartnell, while in the crease, kicked the puck over to Giroux who swooped in and tucked the puck home for the 3-1 lead.
The excitement wouldn’t last long for Flyers fans when Michael Ryder scored an odd goal. After missing the net with his shot, the puck came back to Boucher but somehow came between his legs while on the ice and slide past Boucher to get the Bruins to within one.
Milan Lucic tied the game at 3-3 by deflecting a shot from the point in the slot area while on the power play. The Flyers bounced back later in the third when Ville Leino deflected a point shot of his own from Pronger while skating across the slot to give what looked like a solid one goal lead with only 5:40 left in the game.
With the goaltender pulled, Recchi once again would break his former teams hearts scoring off of a nice cross ice pass and one-timing a shot past Boucher with only 32 seconds left regulation.
Gagne, who hasn’t played since April 20, did his job with his only shift in overtime by going ot the net and redirecting a Matt Carle pass to the left of Rask for the game winner and sending the series back to Boston.
“It’s been a while since I played a game and the game is fast out there. It’s physical and I think I’m going to try and find myself out there,” said the hero of Game 4. “I’ll try to get better and better as the game goes on” said Gagne after the game.
If he does get better as the series goes along, if nothing else the series will come back to South Philadelphia on Wednesday night for Game 6.