Boucher Stands Tall

LOS ANGELES – The Flyers’ winning ways continued on Tuesday night as they hung on for an important 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center in the opening battle of a five-game road swing.

Here were my 3 Stars:

1. Brian Boucher – “Boosh” admittedly did not have a strong first game against San Jose, giving up four goals on Oct. 25. That was his only start of the season prior to Wednesday night. He struggled through the preseason, giving up a 4.52 GAA in 5 games – but he never played a full 60 minutes. Against the Kings, Boucher looked shaky again. He gave up a brutal goal to Jarret Stoll who snuck a weak shot from his short-side boards in between his skate and the post. He was also saved by the cross-bar on an Anze Kopitar shot that beat him from the slot.

This quote about that screwy goal from Stoll will tell you a lot about Boucher:

“I don’t know what the [heck] happened,” Boucher said. “I’ve had a couple of weird ones this year. But I was determined that that goal wasn’t going to be a big factor.”

He rebounded to play a near flawless game. Drew Doughty beat him from the point on the power play in the third period, but in Boucher’s defense he was screened in front by the Kings’ extra forward.

“We knew that he’d have to make some big saves,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “L.A. is a good hockey team.”

Boucher did that. He stopped Kopitar point blank in the final 10 seconds and that was just one of his 37 stops on the night. The Kings fired 21 pucks at him in the third period alone.

2. Mika Pyorala – Pyorala scored his first goal of the season when he chipped in a Scott Hartnell rebound over Jonathan Quick with a diving backhand stab. That got the Flyers on the board in the second period.

“It was interesting to see how excited the guys were for him,” Stevens said. “That goal was huge. I hope that gets him going.”

Pyorala, as he said himself in my game story – and talked about how his parents like to watch him play live from Finland, has had a ton of chances but hasn’t been able to score before Wednesday night. He scored that one game-winner in the shootout against St. Louis but that was his first official NHL goal.

3. James van Riemsdyk – JVR netted his second consecutive game-winning goal in the third period when he took a Braydon Coburn shot that caromed off the boards behind the net and quickly deposited it behind Quick.

That gave the Flyers, at the time, a 3-1 lead. Doughty’s goal made it the game-winner.

This was van Riemsdyk’s first-ever trip to the West Coast.

Here are some other things you may not have noticed:

  • The Kings had more shots in the third period (21) than the Flyers totaled for the game (20).
  • Jeff Carter won 9-of-12 face-offs.
  • Dan Carcillo was one of three Flyers (Ian Laperriere, Ryan Parent) to record four hits in the game.
  • The Flyers out-hit the Kings 30-29. Quite a few of the hits were borderline boarding penalties.
  • The Flyers are now 11-0-1 when leading after the second period.
  • Five Flyers players (Coburn, Mike Richards, Chris Pronger, Matt Carle and Kimmo Timonen) played more than 20 minutes.
  • Coburn finished with two assists.
  • Both teams were 1-for-2 on the power play.

The Flyers will practice Thursday afternoon (2:00 p.m. Pacific) in San Jose as they prepare for the Sharks on Friday night.

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