TORONTO _ The Flyers’ penalty kill was superb on Tuesday _ just as it’s been in the last five games.
The PK, combined with Brian Boucher’s first shutout in two seasons and 100th victory of his career, played a major role in the Flyers’ 2-0 win over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.
The Flyers’ magic number is two. That means any combination of points by the Flyers _ or failed points gained by the New York Rangers _ will guarantee that Philadelphia makes the playoffs.
If the Rangers lose to Toronto on Wednesday, the Flyers are in.
Back to the PK, which was successful six times against Toronto and, amazingly, has killed 38 of the last 40, a staggering 95 percent success rate over the last 10 games.
The Flyers have killed 20 straight penalties in the last five games.
Ian Laperriere and Blair Betts have led the penalty-killing efforts. Laperriere blocked three shots Tuesday _ one in a, um, private area.
Betts (7:17), Chris Pronger (7:32), Kimmo Timonen (6:02) and Laperriere (5:39) logged the most time on the PK.
Toronto managed just six shots in 11:57 of power-play time.
“They were great tonight,” Boucher said. “I don’t even know if they even had many shots on goal. We just have guys who are relentless on the penalty kill.”
He mentioned Betts, Laperriere, Darroll Powe, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and the defensemen.
“Those guys sacrifice themselves to keep pucks from getting to the net,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “What they do is they give up their body in front of a 100 mph slap shot _ knowing they’re going to take it somewhere, and not knowing where. They do it consistently. The execution has been excellent…in (blocking) the shot lanes.”
Breakaways. Boucher's strong performance virtually guarantees that he will start the last two games against the Rangers _ even if Johan Backlund is healthy. Boucher has allowed a total of four goals in the last three games....Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist.....Mike Richards' empty-ney goal, his first score in eight games, iced the win with 1:16 left.....Toronto had 29 hits _ 10 more than the Flyers....The Flyers' PP is 1 for its last 11....The Flyers' magic number to clinch a playoff spot: two points.