WILMINGTON, Mass. –- Mark Recchi knows exactly what type of goaltender the Boston Bruins will face in their upcoming Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Bruins’ veteran forward was a teammate with Flyers netminder Brian Boucher, playing with him for three seasons (1999-2002) in Philadelphia.
Boucher, a Woonsocket, R.I., native, has a history of success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. During his first stint with the Flyers during the 1999-2000 season, he posted an 11-7 record with one shutout in 18 playoff games before Philadelphia lost in the Eastern Conference finals to the Devils.
“He was wonderful. He’s a good goalie,” said Recchi. “He was great then and he gave us every opportunity to win all the way through. He’s a great guy and a good goalie. He’s shown down the stretch and the first round that he’s capable of doing a great job for them.
“He’s character guy and the guys really like playing for him.”
As usual, goaltending has been front and center already during the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, including Boucher, the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask and the Canadiens’ Jaroslav Halak.
The Bruins have already faced, and beaten, a top-notch goalie in the Sabres’ Ryan Miller by getting plenty of traffic in front of him and scoring "garbage"-type goals off rebounds, tips and off-post tallies.
Boston will need to do the same against the Flyers and Boucher.
“I don’t think we took Miller lightly. He was a pretty good goaltender and we had to find ways to score on him. That shouldn’t be any different against Boucher,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He’s played well in the stretch to get them into the playoffs and he’s played well in the playoffs. We’re just going to have to find a way to get pucks behind him.”
Getting to him will be the tough part, according to Julien.
“Goaltenders all play a big role when it comes to playoff success. Ours has shown that he’s been solid and has gotten us to the second round,” said Julien. “Obviously, Philly being in the second round after beating [New Jersey] in five games means that their goaltender played well also. It’s going to be one of those series that’s hard-fought. I can’t stand here and pinpoint one area. It’s going to be hard fought and we’re going to need a lot more than just figuring out the goaltender if we want to win.”
There was a lot said during Boston’s last series about the head-to-head battle between Rask and Miller. Both goalies were solid, but Rask came out on top. Interestingly enough, Rask no doubt respected the talent of Miller, but it was clear he didn’t like talking about his opposing goalie.
Rask respects Boucher too and has given some praise to his upcoming opponent.
When asked if he thought the Philadelphia goaltending situation is being overlooked because of the number of netminders the team used during the regular season, Rask dismissed that notion.
“I’m sure not any more. Maybe they were when [Boucher] first got the job,” said Rask. “He’s shown everybody that he’s capable of doing this. He played a great series. Good for him.”