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Flyers continue upswing with Boucher in goal

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With his mask on, and for a brief moment without it, goalie Brian Boucher provided the Flyers the steadying presence they were looking for to gain an edge in their first-round playoff series against the Sabres.

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Boucher stopped 35 shots as the Flyers' new starter to lead them to a 4-2 victory and grab a 2-1 series lead Monday night.

It was Boucher's first start and second straight win of the series after he stopped 20 of 21 shots in relief of rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in a 5-4 win Saturday in Game 2.

That was enough to convince Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who was rewarded for his decision to stick with "Booosh."

"He just settled things down," Laviolette said. "At the game's start, he had a calming presence about him. … To get a veteran presence in there made a big difference."

Boucher's calmness was particularly apparent eight minutes into the third period with the Flyers clinging to a 3-2 lead and attempting to kill off Buffalo's two-man advantage. Boucher slid left and lunged forward to stop Tyler Ennis, whose shot hit the left side of the goalie's mask and broke a strap. Without hesitation, Boucher pulled off his mask to stop the play.

Fans booed Boucher and yelled for officials to call a delay-of-game penalty.

"The mask was loose, and I felt it was kind of unsafe because the mask was kind of moving around on my face," Boucher said. "I know the rules. Otherwise, I don't know if I would've done it."

Danny Briere and Nikolay Zherdev keyed the victory by scoring second-period goals.

Jeff Carter and Kimmo Timonen also scored as the Flyers improved to 6-0-2 in their past eight visits to Buffalo.

Flyers 1 2 1 4
Sabres 1 1 0 2

First Period1, Phi., Carter 1 (Carle), 4:42 (pp). 2, Buffalo, Stafford 1 (Pominville, Gragnani), 11:55 (pp). PenaltiesKaleta, Buf (roughing), 3:40; Coburn, Phi (interference), 11:17; Hartnell, Phi (interference, delay of game), 16:39.

Second Period3, Phi, Briere 2 (Hartnell), 2:44. 4, Phi, Zherdev 1 (Richards, Versteeg), 16:44. 5, Buffalo, Gerbe 1 (Connolly, Gragnani), 18:12. PenaltiesMyers, Buf (cross-checking), 13:32; Hartnell, Phi (roughing), 14:20; Weber, Buf (roughing), 14:20.

Third Period6, Phi, Timonen 1 (Giroux, Carter), 19:42 (en). PenaltiesGaustad, Buf (interference), :41; Timonen, Phi (holding), 2:24; Zherdev, Phi (slashing), 6:14; Powe, Phi (charging), 6:59; Versteeg, Phi (cross-checking), 19:47; Ennis, Buf (cross-checking), 19:47. Shots on GoalPhi. 6-15-5—26. Buffalo 16-10-11—37. Power-play opportunitiesPhi. 1 of 3; Buffalo 1 of 6. GoaliesPhi., Boucher 2-0-0 (37 shots-35 saves). Buffalo, Miller 1-2-0 (25-22). A18,690. T2:36.

Bruins close gap to 2-1

MONTREAL — David Krejci and Nathan Horton scored first-period goals to lead Boston to a 4-2 win over the Canadiens as the Bruins won on the road after dropping the first two games of their first-round series at home.

"I think it was important for us to have a good start, and we did that," coach Claude Julien said. "We scored some early goals, which helped the confidence."

Tim Thomas stopped 34 shots for Boston, and Rich Peverley scored in the second. Chris Kelly scored into an empty net with 25.6 seconds remaining.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's 3-2 loss after he was hospitalized for dehydration.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Canadiens with Boston holding a 3-0 lead 7:03 into the middle period. Tomas Plekanec drew Montreal within one early in the third.

Chara, who played his first game in Montreal since his devastating hit on Max Pacioretty, saw his customary boos turn to cheers when the Bruins were called for too many men 1:08 in.

The crowd of 21,273 was silenced moments later when Dennis Seidenberg drew an assist as Krejci beat Carey Price for his first goal at 3:08.

Bruins 2 1 1 4
Canadiens 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Boston, Krejci 1 (Bergeron, Seidenberg), 3:11. 2, Boston, Horton 1 (Chara, McQuaid), 14:38. PenaltiesBoston bench, served by Lucic (too many men), 1:08; Krejci, Bos (hooking), 7:27; Gomez, Mon (interference), 11:21; Bergeron, Bos (interference), 12:12; Ference, Bos, major (fighting), 19:56; Pouliot, Mon, minor-major (charging, fighting), 19:56.

Second Period3, Boston, Peverley 1 (Recchi), 2:02. 4, Montreal, Kostitsyn 1 (Cammalleri, Hamrlik), 7:03. PenaltiesMontreal bench, served by White (too many men), 3:04; Recchi, Bos (holding), 17:55.

Third Period5, Montreal, Plekanec 1 (Cammalleri, Subban), 4:08. 6, Boston, Kelly 1 (Recchi, Bergeron), 19:34 (en). PenaltiesKostitsyn, Mon (slashing), 4:44; Ryder, Bos (tripping), 19:54. Shots on GoalBoston 9-10-6—25. Montreal 8-13-15—36. Power-play opportunitiesBoston 0 of 4; Montreal 0 of 5. GoaliesBoston, Thomas 1-2-0 (36 shots-34 saves). Montreal, Price 2-1-0 (24-21). A21,273 (21,273). T2:21.

Around the league: Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook says he's okay after a hard hit from Vancouver's Raffi Torres. Seabrook, however, says the initial blow was to his head, and he believes Torres should have been suspended. "Whether or not he was targeting it or not, he made contact with the head first," Seabrook said. But NHL vice president Colin Campbell said the hit was not illegal, saying Torres did not leave his feet or use an elbow or an extended forearm and that the hit was not late. The Canucks have a 3-0 lead as the series continues tonight.

Flyers continue upswing with Boucher in goal 04/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 6:03pm]
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