The Bruins’ offense was last in the NHL in the regular season and only a shade better average-wise in the first-round series win over Buffalo.
Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher doesn’t want to think about any of that as he gets ready to face Boston in a the Eastern Conference semifinal series that starts Saturday at TD Garden.
“I know it was well-documented all year,” Boucher said today in response to a question about the Bruins’ offense during a league-organized conference call. “I think they’ve played really good hockey in the latter half of March and into April. They’ve found ways to win. So, you know, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t really want to buy into that they have trouble scoring goals.
“The fact they’ve added Marc Savard, he’s their best playmaker on that team. You know, he’s a big piece of their offense. So, I mean, I think we’re going to have our hands full as far as shutting them down. They got a good team. [Patrice] Bergeron and [David] Krejci have done a good job in the middle. They’ve got a good lineup. Their top three lines of nine forwards are all very, very solid. Like I say, it’s going to be a tough test for us.”
Only the Flyers’ starting goaltender because of a extended injury absence by Michael Leighton, Boucher shocked the world by outdueling Martin Brodeur of New Jersey in five games in the first round. Boucher posted a .940 save percentage and 1.59 goals-against average in that series.
It’s easy to look at his journeyman resume and his lack of playing time the last few years and forget that Boucher was once a legitimate No. 1 netminder that still holds the NHL record for consecutive shutout minutes. The oversight is all right with Boucher, as long as it’s just from outsiders.
“I’ll leave you guys to do that stuff. For me, it’s about what’s inside the locker room,” said Boucher, whose regular-season save percentage was just .899 and his GAA was 2.76. “You know, what’s being said outside, we as players really can’t be too worried about that type of stuff. You know, I think we believed in ourselves going down the stretch there in the regular season. We got in. We felt good about ourselves in that first round. Obviously, you know, we played well and got that series. So, you know, I think we’re only focused on what we as teammates need to be worried about with each other, going from there.”
By the time the Flyers hit the ice tomorrow, they’ll have had seven days off between games. Boucher’s not too concerned about rust being a factor for his club.
“It’s kind of hard. I guess I liken it to when you’re a backup and you go in between starts,” he said. “You maybe go a week or two between starts. You’ve got to stay sharp in practice. So you get your work in in practice. Only time will tell how we do as a group tomorrow, to see how the layoff affected us.
“I’d like to think we’re all professionals and we put our work in. It’s that time of year where you don’t catch guys sleeping too much. This is an important time of year. You got everybody’s attention. I think everybody is anxious to get back out there and play that first game.”
Everyone on both sides obviously can’t wait to hit the ice. We’ll see how the layoff affects the Flyers and how Boucher’s presence between the Philly pipes affects the Bruins’ shooters.
•Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren issued the following medical update on injured forward Simon Gagne Friday:
“Simon Gagne had a MRI on his right foot today. While the study showed signs of healing, Simon is still listed as out indefinitely. Simon will continue to do his off ice conditioning and rehab.”
Gagne suffered a right foot fracture in Game 4 of the series with the New Jersey Devils.