Gagne's timely, triumphant return helps Flyers live for another day
PHILADELPHIA -- May sweeps is for network television, not whatever channel the NHL is on, it seems. Thanks to the game-winning goal by
It wasn't pretty -- both teams had more turnovers than a flapjack grill -- but it surely went heavy on the dramatics. Take the last-minute Bruins goal, which sent the game into overtime. It could've deflated a team like the Flyers, down 3-0 in the second round series, but the way they saw it, nothing that happened before mattered.
"The most important thing going back into the overtime was to completely wash out everything that happened in the game -- the good and the bad," said Flyers coach
It didn't matter that Bruins forward
As fate would have it, it would come off the stick of Gagne, the Philadelphia winger who had missed the last 2½ weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his injured right foot. As fate would destine it, the goal would come on his first full shift of the overtime period.
"You go out there, and it's playoff hockey," Gagne said, explaining he felt the effects of two weeks' rest even more than his sore foot. "It's very fast, and I was little of short on breath, and that's why I didn't play in overtime. ... [But then] I just told [Laviolette] that I was feeling pretty good now and he could put me on the ice, and see what's going to happen. It was a good thing, that I was able to score that big goal."
He got the cross ice pass from
What certainly didn't matter was the goal that had come 59:28 into the game. With Rask watching from the bench, Philadelphia, up 4-3 at that point, took a timeout after icing the puck in order to let its players catch their breath. But when the puck dropped, it found its way through the Bruins' zone and onto Recchi's stick, waiting backdoor on Flyers goalie
It erased Philadelphia's second lead of the game, something the Flyers only owned for 99 seconds before Friday's do-or-die game. After
The imaginary clock on the Philadelphia netminder, the Cinderella-story of the first round, a 33-year-old journeyman who outdueled surefire Hall of Famer
But the real buzzkill came midway throught the second period, when the Bruins, hard on the forecheck, kept the puck in the zone off a
If the goal didn't zap the energy or confidence of the Flyers and their netminder, it at least invited Boston back into the game. In the third minute of the third period, the Bruins tied it on the power play, when
But Gagne's back now. And so is that winning feeling in Philadelphia.
"It's a good ending," Gagne said. "I cannot ask for more. To be able to come back a little early in the series, to be able to score that big goal, it's fun. It's fun to score goals, but when you get those in overtime, it's the best feeling in the world."
Still down, but at least not out, the Flyers can only hope to get it back.