Well, the way this season’s gone, a win at the ACC to close out the year just wouldn’t have seemed right, I guess. The Leafs ran into a hot keeper for the umpteenth time this year, as Brian Boucher recorded his 100th career win and his 17th career shutout to keep the Flyers in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Claude Giroux gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead midway through the first, finishing off a pretty passing play from the Flyers’ powerplay unit. JS Giguere was perfect for the rest of the game, however, and turned in another solid effort, despite losing his 7th game as a Leaf. Since joining the club, Jiggy has a 5-7-2 record, but the Leafs haven’t given him much support in his last few outings. In 6 of Giguere’s losses, Toronto has failed to score more than 1 goal.
The Leafs had plenty of chances to tie the game, but were unable to solve Boucher. Toronto’s struggles on the powerplay continued, and they went 0-6 tonight. The Leafs’ last powerplay came with just a few minutes left in the game, and couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Leafs had maintained pretty good pressure in the Flyers’ zone for most of the 3rd period. Dion Phaneuf had a couple of bombs from the point that didn’t miss by much, and Luke Schenn had a blast that nearly trickled in before Boucher dove back and paddled it out at the last second.
So far, the Leafs’ attempts to spoil opponents’ playoff hopes haven’t gone so well, but they’ll have another chance tomorrow night against New York. The Rangers lost tonight against Buffalo, and star keeper Henrik Lundqvist was yanked early after allowing 3 goals. The Rangers will be playing all out as they’ll need all the points they can get heading into a home and home with Philly this weekend. Toronto’s chances to catch some other teams in the East are still alive, as both Tampa Bay and Florida lost tonight. Toronto sits two points back of both teams, with 2 games remaining. Tampa and Florida both have 3 games left: Tampa Bay plays Ottawa on Thursday, while the Panthers play New Jersey, and the teams finish with a home and home against each other.
1. Brian Boucher – 23 saves
2. JS Giguere – 21 saves
3. Claude Giroux – 1 goal, 1 assist (on Mike Richards’ empty netter)