The seventh-seeded Flyers recorded a 2-1 victory in the opener on Wednesday, as they rode a strong performance by goaltender Brian Boucher, who made 23 saves to record his first playoff win in nearly 10 years.
Boucher’s play invoked memories of his performance in the 2000 playoffs, when he backstopped the Flyers to within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals before Philadelphia blew a 3-1 series advantage to the Devils. On Wednesday, Boucher outdueled the most accomplished goaltender in NHL history, the Devils’ Martin Brodeur, who stopped 12-of-14 shots.
Mike Richards and Chris Pronger both scored in the second period for Philadelphia, which secured a playoff spot with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Rangers on the final day of the regular season.
“It just felt like another game for us,” Boucher said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game to win. (The Devils) are a good hockey team. We’re happy we got Game 1.”
Travis Zajac spoiled Boucher’s shutout bid with 2:43 to play in the third period, but New Jersey was unable to net the equalizer.
“I think our intensity was good,” Brodeur said. “We played really well defensively. We’ve got to keep our heads up.”
New Jersey, which has won the last two Atlantic Division titles, is trying to avoid its third straight first-round playoff exit. Philadelphia also lost in the conference quarterfinals last year after making it to the East finals in 2008.
The Flyers fared well against New Jersey during the regular season, outscoring the Devils, 20-13, in winning five of the six contests.
The Devil and Flyer franchises have faced each other four times in the playoffs with each team winning twice. Philly won the last postseason encounter, earning a 4-1 series’ victory in the opening round of the 2004 playoffs.
New Jersey was 27-10-4 at Prudential Center during the regular season. The Flyers were just 17-21-3 as the road team.
This best-of-seven series will shift to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4, with the third meeting scheduled for Sunday at Wachovia Center.
04/16 11:08:32 ET
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