The Flyers rolled through town here in Toronto earlier this week, and to the surprise of most, Brian Boucher stole the show with his first shutout of the season on Tuesday in a big 2-0 win. With both Ray Emery and Michael Leighton out for the season, Philadelphia's hopes rest with Boucher heading into a home-and-home series Friday and Sunday against the New York Rangers (and into the playoffs, if they get there).
It wasn't that long ago that Boucher was spending most of his time in the press box, but he's had some success lately after a tough season and could get another chance to lead the Flyers in the postseason as he did as a 23-year-old rookie a decade ago in a run to the conference finals.
Here's what Boucher had to say about playing goal in a market that has been anything but easy on its netminders:
Is your heart with the Flyers organization a bit given they've given you chances to make a comeback multiple times now? (Boucher spent almost a full season in the minors with Philadelphia's AHL club two years ago and then they signed him as a free agent last summer.)
They've been great to me. I was drafted by them (22nd overall in 1995), I was thankful that they took me back two years ago to get my game back and I ended up going to San Jose and then they took me back again.
It's one of those situations where you're really grateful to have good people take care of you and now look after you. Certainly that's the way I feel here.
Who's been supporting you?
Paul Holmgren, Bob Clarke -- you name it. It's just a situation where you feel comfortable with these people. Success hasn't come (for me) a lot this year, but it's nice to see we've got a few wins here and things are getting better.
How do you shut out all of the criticism of the goaltending in Philadelphia every year? This is your second stop back there so you must know all about how goalies in that market always have their doubters.
You're always going to get that -- people always doubt you. You can't listen to them, you've got to focus on what you're trying to do and that's win hockey games and do a good job for your team. If you do that, hopefully you get results.
Is it hard being a goalie in Philadelphia?
Yeah, it's a pretty tough sports town.
It's one of those places where they say it's a goalie graveyard.
(laughs) If it's a graveyard, I mean, I'm back. I'm still alive, I guess. The second go-around. But you know what, they haven't won and when you don't win, they're always looking for answers. And I guess the easy guy to point out is the goaltender. That's just the nature of the job.
I guess you've given yourself a little breathing room going into the head to head with the Rangers?
The games are all huge right now, we can't take our foot off the gas. We've been doing that a little bit and we're having to pay for it now -- we're in a dogfight to get to the playoffs.
Nice to finally have your 100th win on Tuesday?
I'll be honest, that was a goal I set early in the year and I didn't think it would take this long. But it's here and it's nice to get.
You personally have played well the past few games -- what's been the difference since struggling earlier?
You know what, I haven't played a lot until this stretch here and you're just trying to get into a groove. You'd like it to happen sooner. Unfortunately there've been a few bumps there and I've tried to continue to work hard and stay positive. The last three games have gone well -- hopefully it's a trend.