|05.04.11 at 9:39 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Flyers can say they have the Bruins right where they want them, but the B’s now have a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series and a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference semifinals clash.
Nathan Horton had a Gordie Howe hat trick and David Krejci continued his dominance of the Flyers in a 5-1 Bruins’ win. Horton assisted Krejci’s goal in the first period, fought former Bruin Sean O’Donnell at 3:31 of the second, and scored his fifth playoff goal at 15:14 of the period. Even the power play scored, as Zdeno Chara scored his second of the night on a 5-on-3 in the final minutes.
Though they essentially stole Game 2, the Bruins came out and beat the Flyers Wednesday night just about as handily as they could beat anyone. Chara scored his first goal of the playoffs with a rocket past Brian Boucher just 30 seconds in, and Krejci scored his fourth goal of the last three games just 33 seconds later, and from there, the Flyers’ response was minimal. Andrej Meszaros provided Philadelphia with its lone tally in the second, though it was after the B’s had scored four and chased Boucher for the second time this series. In pulling Boucher in the second period for Sergei Bobrovsky, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has now changed goalies mid-game due to performance five times in 10 postseason games this year.
The Bruins will go for the sweep in Game 4 at TD Garden Friday. Should the Flyers take that contest, the series would continue in Philadelphia on Sunday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Once again, Krejci got on the scoresheet against the Flyers, which at this point should come as no surprise. With his first-period goal and third-period assist, Krejci extended his point streak vs. the Flyers to 12 games, including the playoffs. Krejci has four goals thus far in the series, and dating back to last year’s Winter Classic, he has five goals and 12 assists vs. Philadelphia. Even better? The Bruins are 11-0-1 in those games.
Krejci’s goal also proved to be the game-winner, giving him two game-winning goals in the Bruins’ three wins in the series against Philly. He scored in overtime to clinch Game 2 in Philadelphia.
– The Bruins really couldn’t have asked for any better of a start. They assaulted the Philadelphia net right from the get-go, resulting in Chara’s first goal of the playoffs just 30 seconds in. Boucher made the initial stop on a pretty centering pass from Patrice Bergeron to Brad Marchand, but Marchand collected the rebound at the side of the net and fed Chara for a laser-guided one-timer into the top corner. The B’s struck again just 33 seconds later when Milan Lucic found Krejci in front for his fifth of the postseason. Boston didn’t let up after the fast start, either, as it continued to dominate pretty much all aspects of the game (including an astounding 14-3 advantage on faceoffs) throughout the first.
– The Bruins were the more physical team from the beginning, and they did what they could to get that point across. Marchand absolutely crushed Ville Leino in the corner with the Flyers on the power play early on, and Boychuk followed suit. Marchand had a team-leading seven hits in the first two periods.
– As a fourth-liner, Paille doesn’t get a ton of ice time, but he certainly made the most of it Wednesday night. In the first period, he did an outstanding job killing the Flyers’ first penalty of the night. Paille was on the ice for the first 55 seconds of it and he was all over the place. He disrupted several passes and twice cleared the puck the length of the ice. Later in the period, he landed a huge hit on Kris Versteeg at the Flyers’ blue line. Paille’s hard work paid off with his first goal of the playoffs 13:39 into the second when he took a pass from Gregory Campbell on a 3-on-2 and rifled it over Boucher’s shoulder.
Give credit to Boychuk on the play as well, as it was a heads up play in intercepting a Flyers’ pass that started the play.
– With his assist on Chara’s goal early in the first, Bergeron is now tied with Philly’s Claude Giroux for the most points in these playoffs with 12 (2g, 10a). The assist wasn’t even the most impressive part of Bergeron’s game, though. He won 16 of 18 faceoffs to help lead a team-wide domination on draws (the B’s won 39 of 51 for the game). Bergeron also came close to ending Boston’s power-play drought on three occasions. He missed just wide on a one-timer in the first period. In the second, he got robbed by a sliding Bobrovsky and then hit the left post just a few seconds later. The B’s won 43 of 55 faceoffs ‘ Bergeron won 17 of 19.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE FLYERS
– Laviolette can try all of the “the Bruins are supposed to win” head games that he wants, but the Flyers are in deep, deep doodoo. The B’s know they can take advantage of the Flyers’ goaltending, and the idea of it holding up for four straight games is very hard to imagine, even given the history.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It was going to be the power play, but Chara changed that when he made it 5-1 with 1:22 remaining in the contest.
|05.04.11 at 6:54 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others from TD Garden as the Bruins and Flyers square off in Game 3 ofthe Eastern Conference semifinals. Boston has a 2-0 series lead.
|05.04.11 at 4:07 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed 2009 third-round pick Ryan Button to an entry level contract. The defenseman played seven games for the Providence Bruins this year via an amateur tryout agreement and picked up one assist in the process.
Button split this past season in the WHL between Prince Albert and Seattle. He had five goals and 30 assists for 35 points between the two teams. The Edmonton native’s high in points came in 2008-09, when he had five goals and 32 assists for 35 points with Prince Albert.
|05.04.11 at 1:20 pm ET|
A 2-0 series lead is a good thing, but not the thing that a team ultimately wants. It’s a case of a team having desired results so far, but still not having the desired result. One game can change everything, and with the Bruins holding a 2-0 lead on the Flyers entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday night, the Bruins know that. They should have as good a perspective on that as anyone else.
No, this isn’t about the players who were on last year’s team thinking back to the blown 3-0 series lead in 2010. Instead, the B’s can simply think back to the last series. With the Canadiens winning the first two games of the quarterfinals, the Bruins took Games 3 and 4 in Montreal and eventually won the series in seven games. It all started with that 4-2 Game 3 win, and they know it.
“[We were thinking] that if we got the third game, the series would completely turn around, and that the pressure would be on them, and we’d be right back in it,” Brad Marchand recalled Wednesday. “Anything could happen from that point forward, so the third game is a huge turning point. We knew that, and that’s what we want to focus on. They’re definitely doing that [in the Flyers’ room] right now.”
The similarities are there for the Bruins in the first round and the Flyers in the second round. Both teams lost the first two games at home, the second of which they had to play without their key defenseman. If the two teams are to share another thing in common, it could come in the form of a win on the road for the Flyers in Game 3.
“We want to make sure that we’re ready and not waiting. We’re prepared for that. We know that we were down 2-0, and we came back,” Marchand said Wednesday. “You kind of use that to put ourselves in this situation here and make sure that we don’t give them any opportunity to get back in this series.”
While some players are using their first-round triumph to give themselves perspective on how possible a Flyers’ comeback is, others are blocking everything out altogether. For Shawn Thornton, it’s as simple as winning a game.
“We’re not really talking about last series. We know that this is Game 3. It doesn’t matter what the record is. It’s Game 3, either way. I haven’t really put too much thought into anything except for preparing for tonight’s game as best as possible.”
The idea of not thinking about the score of the series is one shared by Thornton’s linemate in Daniel Paille. The fourth-liner remembers the feeling of having to “prove a point” after Game 2 of the last series, but doesn’t want to even consider the fact that the B’s could potentially have a stranglehold on the series with a win Wednesday. The way he sees it, they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“[Leading] 2-0 doesn’t mean much. The way we look at it, it’s still 0-0 right now because if start thinking ahead of ourselves, we get in trouble. When we start doing that, it’s just not good a team, so we try to do everything we can to stay focused and avoid all of those types of situations.”
The Bruins are in the right situation entering Wednesday, but they know as well as anyone that it could be a completely different story when the game is concluded.
|05.04.11 at 12:39 pm ET|
The buzz Wednesday morning at TD Garden surrounded Flyers forward Jeff Carter, who participated in the team’s morning skate and could lace up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Bruins. The 36-goal-scorer hasn’t played since leaving Game 4 of the first round with a knee injury suffered in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers. General manager Paul Holmgren has listed him as a game-time decision Wednesday, but aside from that, coach Peter Laviolette and Carter himself had very little to say on the subject.
“Jeff Carter looked good this morning,” Laviolette said after the morning skate.
Here is every word Carter had to say this morning:
Can you be a factor at half-speed?
“It’s a quick game right now, so I’m not too sure.”
Do you want to be in the lineup tonight?
“Of course. Everybody wants to be in the lineup.”
Are you optimistic you will be?
“I don’t know.”
More likely you need another game?
“I don’t know. Holmgren talks about all the injuries. We don’t talk about that.”
How many minutes do you think you could play?
“I don’t know. I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about getting myself healthy to get back. When I’m healthy, I’ll worry about the other stuff.”
So you’re not 100 percent?
“I don’t know. We don’t talk about injuries, remember? It’s been like that all playoffs.”
Is there more urgency to get back in the lineup down 0-2?
“Of course. You want to be in every game.”
Defenseman Chris Pronger was not on the ice for Philadelphia’s morning skate. He did not play in Game 2.
|05.04.11 at 11:42 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was not on the ice for Boston’s morning skate Wednesday at TD Garden, a sign that he could be out of the lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Flyers. McQuaid left the game in the first period Monday with a sprained neck suffered while trying to hit Flyers forward Mike Richards.
Coach Claude Julien would not offer an update on McQuaid’s status, but in the seemingly likely event that the rookie does not play, veteran Shane Hnidy would take his spot.
“Same as yesterday,” Julien said of McQuaid’s status. “Day-to-day. Nothing more to report on Adam’s situation. I know Shane Hnidy is a guy ready to play, and he’s certainly a possibility in our lineup tonight.”
Hnidy has played in one game this postseason, filling in for an ill Zdeno Chara in Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. Hnidy played 4:13 in that contest. After the morning skate, he said he is ready for Wednesday should his number be called.
“The same as any other game,” Hnidy said of his preparation. “I’ve been taking warmups, and it’s the same. I’m prepared to play, and you never know what’s going to happen, so my preparation doesn’t change. I get ready for the game physically and mentally and once gametime comes, I go from there.”
Mark Recchi was the only other regular absent from morning skate, though he has been a participant in morning skates throughout the playoffs.
|05.04.11 at 11:15 am ET|
One player nearly evened the series by himself. The other put on perhaps the best pressure goaltending performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs.
James van Riemsdyk had to settle for scoring twice and watching his Flyers fall into another 2-0 hole against the Bruins while dominating every shift he was on the ice.
Tim Thomas saved 52 of 54 shots, including all 10 in overtime, as he single-handedly made sure van Riemsdyk and the Flyers came to Boston in another desperate situation.
Tonight, the two of them will be asked by their teammates to keep it up in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Looking back at Game 2, there were several moments that could have put an entirely different perspective on Game 3 tonight. If JVR beats Thomas with six minutes remaining in regulation on a break in on net, the Flyers win. If JVR beats Thomas on a phenomenal shot off a faceoff with just over four seconds remaining in regulation, the Flyers win. If Thomas doesn’t make a save on Philly’s No. 21 on a clean look from the left circle 10 minutes into OT, the Flyers win.
Thomas was ready for every possible scenario on Monday, including that dramatic end of regulation, which also saw Danny Briere miss by a hair of putting Thomas’ save on van Riemsdyk into the net for the game-winner.
‘This is one of the most dangerous faceoff teams in the offensive zone or our defensive zone that we play against,” Thomas said. “They have a lot of different things that they do. They actually already scored once this series in the first game on a play. So I knew even with a few seconds left that the faceoff could be dangerous.
“The way it worked out it came off the faceoff and for just a second there it went behind a screen for me and I found it just as the guy was throwing the first shot to the net but I saw it so late that I couldn’t control the rebound. I saw the rebound go over to Danny Briere’s feet and in that one hundredth of a second I thought it might be over because he’s one of those guys that gets them and you know. He fumbled it for just a second, just long enough for Seidenberg to dive over and block one. I was still waiting for that buzzer and I don’t know if by the time it hit me if the buzzer had gone off or not but it was relief when the buzzer happened.’ Read the rest of this entry »