Flyers 3, Devils 1
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ The cries of ``Bouche″ and ``Boo″ said it all as the Philadelphia Flyers pushed the New Jersey Devils to the brink of playoff elimination again.
Brian Boucher stopped 24 shots and Craig Berube scored a rare playoff goal with 7:02 left in the third period as the Flyers beat the Devils 3-1 Saturday night for a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Flyers can wrap up their second trip to the Stanley Cup finals in four years by beating New Jersey in Philadelphia on Monday night.
Simon Gagne added an insurance goal for the Flyers, who have taken control of the series by winning three straight. Mark Recchi also scored for Philadelphia, which has been finding ways to win close games in this physical series between two evenly matched teams.
Bobby Holik scored for New Jersey, now facing another frustrating end to a playoff season after raising hopes it might have a shot at another Stanley Cup.
Berube crushed those hopes with only his third playoff goal in 86 games. Kent Manderville shot the puck around the boards to the right point. Defenseman Dan McGillis sent a flutteing shot toward Martin Brodeur that Berube chopped down with his stick past the goaltender.
Gagne iced the game with 3:20 to go, redirecting a great pass by defenseman Eric Desjardins past Brodeur, who had 18 saves.
Big mistakes led to the first two goals.
Brodeur, who played poorly in the 4-2 loss in Game 3, set up Recchi’s sixth goal of the playoffs with a horrible clearing pass from behind the net. He put the puck right on Gagne’s stick along the left boards. Gagne immediately shot and Recchi, standing along the goal line, somehow tipped the puck over Brodeur’s hip as he was trying to get his body flush against the goalpost.
The goal gave Recchi 16 points, tying him with Jaromir Jagr for most in the playoffs.
Boucher, outstanding in the last two games, made it appear that one goal was going to be enough for more than half the game. He kept the Devils off the scoreboard with nice stops on Brian Ralfalski, Sergei Brylin and Jay Pandolfo in the first period. He also had good stops on Jason Arnott, Scott Gomez and Claude Lemieux in the first 11 minutes of the second period before Keith Primeau betrayed him with a horrible cross-ice pass in his own zone.
Brylin got the puck, exchanged passes with Randy McKay and then found Holik for a shot he powered through Boucher’s legs.
Coincidental penalties on Holik and Luke Richardson right after the goal led to some wide-open end-to-end action, but no goals.
Alexander Mogilny came closest to breaking the tie with 4:19 left in the second period when he cut across the middle and banged a shot off the crossbar.
The Flyers were in the 1997 Stanley Cup finals, losing in four straight to Detroit. The Devils last made the finals in 1995, when they swept the Red Wings to win the Cup.