Brian Boucher

How iconic 2010 comeback over Bruins leaves many wondering about today's Flyers

How iconic 2010 comeback over Bruins leaves many wondering about today's Flyers

In April 2010, the Flyers snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, finishing with 41 wins and 88 points.

The 2009-10 regular season was nothing to write home about for the Flyers. Game 82 and the playoffs, though, will always be remembered.

The Flyers had a never-say-die group that clicked when its back was up against the wall. Intangibles like belief and togetherness were prevalent among that team.

“Timing is everything," Brian Boucher said Monday. "You can have a great roster on paper and it may never work out or maybe there are bumps in the road at certain times where you can’t get your game going. But if you can find your game at the right time, I think that is key. That’s what happened for us in 2009-10. We kind of stumbled around all year long, we had a coaching change, we had injuries and were able to get in and find confidence. Even in the midst of adversity through the playoffs, we had a lot of injuries in the playoffs but still worked our way through it.”

Boucher propelled that club into the postseason with an epic 2-1 shootout win over the Rangers in Game 82. The team then made history by erasing a 3-0 series deficit against the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals, punctuated by overcoming a 3-0 hole in Game 7 to win, 4-3, at TD Garden.

Talk about a no-quit bunch.

The iconic Game 7 was 10 years ago today, May 14, and will re-air at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The 3-0 rallies were a perfect microcosm of that team, which ran all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before falling short in six games to the Blackhawks.

Now is a fitting time to relive the 2009-10 club because the 2019-20 squad had a similar feel before the NHL was forced to suspend the regular season on March 12 amid the coronavirus outbreak. While this year's team already had 41 wins and was projected to finish with 104 to 105 points prior to the hiatus, it was just starting to build an identity.

Boucher and Danny Briere compared it to the 2009-10 team.

“That’s what makes it so disappointing to not have the playoffs right now," Briere said in a video interview last week with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher. "It was that swagger that the Flyers were playing with the last two months of the regular season before it stopped. It reminded me of 2010 — kind of a slow start but then after the holidays, kind of coming together, gelling, having that swagger that, ‘We’re up there, we’re with the best teams in the East, we know we can surprise a lot of people.’

"On a nightly basis, they just went out and dominated. I hope we get to see it, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But it definitely reminded me of the 2010 team.”

That team made indelible memories for the city of Philadelphia. For now, many can only wonder if the 2019-20 team was on the verge of doing the same.

And wonder when Philly will live — not relive — another run to the Cup.

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With boost to core and youth, Brian Boucher says 'teams would have been scared to play' Flyers in postseason

With boost to core and youth, Brian Boucher says 'teams would have been scared to play' Flyers in postseason

A big question to former general manager Ron Hextall's process was how quickly could the team's highly touted youth catch up to the core.

The Flyers were not embarking on a rebuild but instead a transitional phase in which the club needed its prospects to meet its veterans in harmony.

The plan made great sense. It just never came to fruition.

It's very possible the Flyers' established core of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier needed more help — not just hope from younger players. And it's very possible, simultaneously, the Flyers' younger players needed more help — a little less pressure to go from prospect to pillar in a quick flash.

Last summer, the Flyers added Kevin Hayes, Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun and Tyler Pitlick. None were the juiciest names during the offseason but they've helped make the Flyers a top-six team in 2019-20 after the club was 22nd among the NHL's 31 teams last season.

"I think you can tell that’s another reason why we’re winning games," Voracek said in February about the Flyers' improved depth. "So many times me, G or Coots didn’t have any points, and we find a way to score four, five goals. Let’s be honest, it didn’t happen very often in the past. We are extremely deep."

Former Flyer and current NBC analyst Brian Boucher sees a team that has now put all the necessary pieces together, a group that would have posed trouble in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs had the regular season finished on time.

The additions of some of the veterans that they added in the offseason — Kevin Hayes, Justin Braun, Matt Niskanen — they’ve been valuable pieces to a young nucleus that maybe was starving for a little more leadership inside that locker room," Boucher said Monday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast, "and I think it’s been a really good thing for this Flyers team.

They had the coaching change in the offseason and they bring in some new faces, yet they’re dealing with some adversity — Oskar Lindblom’s unfortunate news and then also Nolan Patrick being out. Yet this club seemed to exceed expectations. I think they came together as a group and really started to bond and play good hockey at the right time of year.

And that’s what’s really unfortunate is that when it shut down, the Flyers were really humming and you wonder what this team would have looked like heading into the playoffs in a normal scenario. I would think that teams would have been scared to play that team. I don’t know how it’s going to play when they come back, if they can restart the engine, but I think better days are ahead for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boucher, who was with the Flyers for 42 playoff games in his career and the 2010 run to the Stanley Cup Final, can sense the fan base bubbling again.

“I think the fans are starting to realize, too, in this league the parity that is here," Boucher said. "Every year is different and just because you didn’t do well last year doesn’t mean there can’t be a quick turnaround the following season. So it’s not like you’re in a 10-year drought and you’re stuck there forever. Things can turn quickly — draft well, guys play above their ceiling, development happens quicker.

"These things can change the fortunes of a team and I think the fans of Philadelphia were starting to see this Flyers team — talk about all these prospects that they had — now starting to come into their own with the additions of some veterans, a new coach and all of a sudden the confidence growing. I think there was genuine excitement about this Flyers team and there should be because they have some good pieces.

“If I was an opponent having to face the Flyers in a seven-game series, especially with the way they were playing, I would have been really nervous just knowing the confidence that was brewing inside that Flyers locker room.”

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Flyers Talk podcast: Special guest Brian Boucher discusses excitement around Flyers, Carter Hart

Flyers Talk podcast: Special guest Brian Boucher discusses excitement around Flyers, Carter Hart

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall are joined by special guest Brian Boucher, the former Flyer and current NBC analyst.

From his best memories in Philly to the Flyers' current club, let's dive in:

1:00 — How Boucher and his family are staying busy

3:30 — The AHL's cancellation doesn't relate to the NHL

5:55 — Boucher likes the 24-team postseason idea

7:45 — Holding the NHL draft in June makes sense for many reasons

10:00 — There are many challenges for the players during the hiatus

12:00 — Boucher sees something impressive brewing with the Flyers

14:20 — The anniversary of the crazy 2010 comeback over the Bruins

16:15 — Talking Peter Laviolette and Alain Vigneault

18:45 — Let's just say Boucher lost some weight in 5OT game

21:00 — Why Boucher has been impressed with Carter Hart

22:50 — What was Boucher's favorite aspect of Philly?

24:00 — Boucher can sense excitement around the 2019-20 Flyers

26:00 — Life as a broadcaster for Boucher

30:30 — Fans always remember the playoff-clinching shootout and so does Boucher

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