Yesterday’s game sure as hell was something special. As I said yesterday, it was going to be a tough game. I’m stating the obvious there, but when you have two Atlantic division rivals going at it for a coveted last spot in the playoffs yet to be determined; wild things are going to be done. I missed the second and third periods, getting updates from friends with calls and texts while I was unable to be near a TV or radio. I finally got in the car with some friends to head back to a TV and I hoped I could catch overtime at least. But then I’m listening to the last minute of play in overtime on 610 WIP. Tim Saunders is calling it and I’m starting to get nervous… Can Boosh out-duel the Rangers in a shootout? Does this game really have to get decided by a skills competition?
The Flyers have struggled with the shootout throughout the years since it’s been implemented, and I remember reading an article in Sports Illustrated a few months ago about the top shooters and goalies in shootouts since the new rule, and Lundqvist I believe is in the top 3 if not the best goalie of all time. I think it’s him and Brodeur at number 1 and number 2, respectively. Naturally, I was scared out of my mind. Tim Saunders talks to me. Briere dekes, shoots, SCORES! The Flyers have it 1-0 after choosing to shoot first. Erik Christensen, one of the best shooters with over 50% in shootouts goes up, dekes, BOOSH stays with him. Flyers remain 1-0. Therien adds that if Richards can make one here, it would be a big help. He makes a move, goes to the forehand to shoot and Lundqvist gets a piece of it to deflect it away. Parenteau got one past Boosh, and it came down to our 3rd shooter, Claude “The Magician” Giroux.
Giroux has been 2-4 this year in shootouts up until this point, and he showed great patience going to the net, and found a niche and quickly wristed a puck in between Lundqvist’s legs to put all the pressure on the last shooter. I’m sitting in the car still, I get a call from one of my good friends Michele who’s watching it at her apartment.
Me: “Shhh…. don’t say anything.”
Michele: “What? This is-”
Me: “Michele… shut up. Don’t jinx it, let Boosh do his thing”
Tim Saunders booms over the radio again “Oh my… and the Flyers are one save away from the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs”.
I swear my heart stopped. Here’s the goalie Brian Boucher. He’s been called washed up. He’s been one of twenty goalies to suit up for the Flyers this year. He’s been picked at and critiqued for not making the saves when it matters, and here was his one shot to take the game away for good.
I listened to Saunders’ call, Michele and I dead silent on the phone. The call was in, NO GOAL. Boosh stopped it, Saunders and Therien are going wild on the radio, Michele and I are screaming into the phone. This was it! The seventh seed and playoff berth were ours. I don’t remember a more exciting regular season game for the Flyers in a while than this. It came down to the end, and they sure as hell played like it. I watched the encore presentation from the 3rd period on so I could catch what that was like, and damn did I miss a good portion of a great game.
Hearing it on the radio was extra special for me because all I could do was sit there and listen, old school style. I felt like Hans from The Mighty Ducks, or maybe Henry Hill from Goodfellas when he found out Jimmy Rollins just won Game Four of the NLCS?
That was my experience with yesterday’s magical day. The sun is shining a little brighter today and the breeze feels better than ever. Our season continues, and the Rangers’ season is over. I’ll be back with a playoff preview sometime tomorrow or Wednesday. The team will be playing in East Rutherford Wednesday night to start off the series, should be a great one. Boosh’s revenge?
Also a little site news, I’m going to be having the “Power Play of the Week” and “Penalty of the Week” on the right sidebar to talk briefly about things going on in the world of Flyers hockey that deserve particular kudos or some criticism.