NEWARK, N.J. — The Flyers were the last team into the playoffs but are the first to reach the second round.
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher was brilliant Thursday night as Philadelphia won 3-0 in Game 5 to finish off the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Claude Giroux scored twice in the second period after Danny Briere gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first. Boucher made the offense stand up as Philadelphia beat New Jersey for the ninth time in 11 meetings this season.
Boucher finished with 27 saves in his second career playoff shutout. In his second stint with Philadelphia, Boucher has risen from third on the depth chart to top of the heap.
The Flyers have to wait to find out who they will play in the second round. The most likely opponent for the No. 7 seed is Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington, which leads 3-1 against Montreal.
Philadelphia did its damage despite a relatively low shot total on Martin Brodeur. Giroux, who also assisted on Briere's second of the series, scored his two goals in the second when the Flyers recorded only four shots. They were outshot 18-14 through 40 minutes, yet led 3-0.
The Devils face a disappointing end to a season that showed promise. New Jersey won the Atlantic Division title for the ninth time, reached 100 points for the 12th time in 15 seasons, and qualified for the playoffs for the 13th straight season.
But the Devils are left with a third straight first-round ouster, despite earning the No. 2 seed in the East and finishing 15 points ahead of the Flyers. Philadelphia didn't gain its postseason spot until a shootout victory over the Rangers on the final day of the regular season.
The Devils were booed in the second and third periods and heard chants of "Let's Go Flyers" echo through their building.
Boucher kept the Flyers in the game as he protected a 1-0 lead with a series of spectacular saves against the hard-charging Devils in the first period.
Ilya Kovalchuk, who confidently predicted a Devils victory, tested Boucher in the opening minute with a hard drive that bounced into the slot off the goalie's pad. Zach Parise whiffed as he attempted a shot off the rebound.
While the Devils failed to capitalize on numerous power plays — some they cut short by taking their own penalties — Philadelphia made the most of theirs, going 2 for 6 with the advantage.
New Jersey produced three goals during the two games at Philadelphia, all on the power play, but went 0 for 8 in Game 5. The Devils didn't record an even-strength goal in the final three contests.
|Flyers win series 3-1|
First Period—1, Philadelphia, Briere 2 (Giroux, Richards), 3:16 (pp). Penalties—Carcillo, Phi (tripping), :43; Langenbrunner, NJ (tripping), 1:29; Carcillo, Phi (cross-checking), 13:22; Pelley, NJ (high-sticking), 17:16.
Second Period—2, Philadelphia, Giroux 3 (Richards), 11:48. 3, Philadelphia, Giroux 4 (Hartnell, Briere), 13:47 (pp). Penalties—Laliberte, Phi (hooking), 3:46; Laperriere, Phi (roughing), 4:15; White, NJ, served by Pelley (slashing, roughing), 4:15; Briere, Phi (holding), 4:57; Timonen, Phi (roughing), 5:52; Elias, NJ (slashing), 5:52; McAmmond, NJ, double minor (high-sticking), 12:39; Krajicek, Phi (cross-checking), 16:45.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Giroux, Phi (slashing), 2:11; van Riemsdyk, Phi (hooking), 5:50; Hartnell, Phi (roughing), 11:33; Clarkson, NJ, double minor (roughing), 11:33; Greene, NJ (delay of game), 13:34; Richards, Phi (hooking), 18:30. Shots on Goal—Philadelphia 10-4-7—21. New Jersey 9-9-10—28. Power-play opportunities—Philadelphia 2 of 6; New Jersey 0 of 8. Goalies—Philadelphia, Boucher 4-1-0 (28 shots-28 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 1-4-0 (21-18). A—17,625 (17,625)
Blackhawks-Preds: Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell played in Game 4 a little more than six weeks after breaking his collarbone and a rib after a hit from Washington's Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin was suspended for two games for driving Campbell into the boards on March 14, snapping Campbell's streak of consecutive regular-season games at 388.
Capitals-Canadiens: Washington coach Bruce Brodeau canceled practice because the team was delayed several hours returning from Montreal after Game 4 because of weather and customs problems. Fog kept the Capitals from landing at Washington's Dulles or Reagan airports, so they laded at Baltimore-Washington airport a little after 1 a.m. No custom agents were on duty, so the team sat on the plane for nearly three hours while calls were made and agents were found. "I didn't get to bed until 5 a.m., so it's a little foggy (Thursday)," defenseman Joe Corvo said, no pun intended.
Sabres-Bruins: Buffalo wing Thomas Vanek, the team's top scorer and who has missed the past two games because of an injured left foot, skated for about 45 minutes and said the foot felt better. He said he would skate again today before deciding whether to play in Game 5 tonight.
Calder finalists: Avalanche center Matt Duchene, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the league's top rookie. Duchene, last year's third overall draft pick, led rookies in scoring with 55 points (24 goals, 31 assists), shared the rookie goals lead with the Islanders' John Tavares and ranked second among rookies in assists. Howard, a 2003 fourth-round pick, was 37-15-10, with a 2.26 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Myers, a 20008 first-round pick, led the Sabres in ice time at 23:44 and was one of four rookies to play all 82 games. The winner will be announced June 23.