|05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET|
Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.
After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.
But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘ two in garbage time ‘ in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”
“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”
Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.
|05.07.11 at 11:25 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Saturday morning that Patrice Bergeron is dealing with the effects of another concussion.
Bergeron, who missed nearly a full year after a severe concussion when hit by former Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones in October 2007, collided with Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over the Flyers. He did not return, and Chiarelli indicated he is likely to miss the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay, with rookie Tyler Seguin getting the chance to take his spot on the roster.
“Patrice suffered a mild concussion,” Chiarelli said on Saturday, before adding that he thought the Giroux hit was “a shade late.”
While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return. The Boston Globe initially reported Saturday morning that Bergeron had sustained a concussion.
Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line role to center the line with Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand. Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.
|05.07.11 at 4:18 am ET|
The Bruins were able to break a 1-1 tie in the third period in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals thanks to a snapshot from Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic‘s second goal of the game, and a couple of empty net goals courtesy of Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille en rout to sweeping the Flyers Friday night.
The win was just the latest example of what has been a season-wide trend for the Bruins. The Bruins’ 94 third-period goals in the regular season ranked second in the NHL, while they had a league-best 57 goals against in the final 20 minutes. The biggest case in the regular season was their five-goal showing to come from behind in the third against the Penguins back in November, but the most recent, and now most important, one came Friday. Tim Thomas knew the B’s had it in them, so between the second and third period, he spoke up and said so.
“It was an actual comment that I made to the team, was ‘third periods are ours,'” Thomas recalled after the game. “I just said that to reinforce and to remind guys that that’s the way it had been all year and hopefully help their confidence.”
It sure looked like it helped their confidence. After the Flyers got momentum in the second period on Kris Versteeg‘s goal, the Bruins were able to come out and make it a 2-1 game 2:42 into the third on Boychuk’s blast.
“Well, the result was great,” Thomas said. “We played a really good third period, but you did see a little bit of the fatigue set in because we weren’t getting pucks deep there a few times at the far blue line. It was just a couple of mistakes that we don’t normally make and stuff, but I think guys battled through it and just made sure to be even safer.”
|05.07.11 at 2:09 am ET|
Friday night’s series-clinching win over the Flyers was special for everyone involved with the Bruins, but it was a little extra special for Milan Lucic. The team’s leading goal scorer during the regular season entered the game without a goal in the playoffs. In fact, he hadn’t scored in 20 games going back to the end of the regular season.
That drought finally came to an end when Lucic one-timed home a centering pass from Nathan Horton for a power-play goal 12:02 into the game.
‘It was great,’ Lucic said when asked how he felt after the goal. ‘It was a great feeling once I scored that goal just to get that monkey off my back and get that lead.’
Lucic wasn’t done, either. He gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 4:57 remaining in the game when he beat Sergei Brobovsky five-hole on a breakaway for his second goal of the night. That was the backbreaker for the Flyers, who had turned up the pressure after the Bruins made it 2-1 earlier in the third.
‘That’s what it was all about here. We had to weather that storm,’ coach Claude Julien said. ‘When you are desperate and you need to score to stay in the series, you know they are going to give it their best shot. ‘¦ We did a great job until we got that third goal, which was a big goal. Certainly it relieved a lot of pressure.’
Lucic admitted that he got frustrated at times during the slump, but he credited his teammates for supporting him and helping him get through it.
‘My teammates, especially my linemates with [David] Krejci and Horton, we’ve been able to create so much chemistry here,’ Lucic said. ‘They had my back and they just told me, ‘It’s going to come. Just keep sticking with it.’ I tried my hardest not to get frustrated. There was a time there when I was really frustrated. But right now, obviously it feels good to step up and help the team win a big game.’
Assistant captain Mark Recchi said that sort of team unity is one of the biggest reasons the Bruins are where they are right now.
‘That’s what good teams do,’ Recchi said. ‘When you haven’t scored for a while, you tend to get tight. He’s a young kid and hopefully now he’s found a really good time to start getting hot. He’s been a great teammate to everybody else this year. When guys are struggling or they’re fighting to score goals, what good teams do is find ways to help him and take that pressure off of him.’
|05.07.11 at 1:15 am ET|
As much as Bruins fans will soak in the feeling of avenging last year’s playoff collapse to the Flyers, Bruins coach Claude Julien made it clear that he won’t let his team do the same for very long as the Tampa Bay Lightning await in the Eastern Conference finals beginning at TD Garden next week.
“Well, it’s something that has been hanging over our heads for over a year,” Julien said of last year’s 4-3 Game 7 loss to Philadelphia after a 3-0 series lead. “Even though we tried to turn the page, we were reminded everyday in this series. And it’s something that is there and will be there, what happened last year. But to come back and win that series, to me is a pretty convincing team in this series.
“I thought we played extremely well. It’s nice to be able to bounce back and you need to take time to appreciate what you have done and at the same time you really have to stay focused because the toughest games and still to come. And we have to be prepared that we are a group that believes we can go far in these playoffs here and farther than we have so far. And it’s up to us to keep that focus and keep moving forward.”
The Bruins have won eight-of-nine since falling behind the Canadiens, 2-0, in the opening round.
|05.07.11 at 1:04 am ET|
Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux with 17:30 remaining in the third period of Friday’s Game 4 win over Philadelphia. He did not return and his status for the start of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay is unknown at this point.
While the Bruins didn’t release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux’s shoulder made contact with Bergeron’s head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn’t return.
“I don’t know. I have no update for you guys right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Basically, I can’t give you anything more than that.”
Bergeron leads the Bruins with 12 points in 11 playoff games. The Bruins will play Games 1 and 2 at home this week against Tampa Bay, with the series possibly starting Tuesday or Thursday at TD Garden.
Chris Kelly stepped up from his third-line duty to center the Marchand-Recchi line for the remainder of the third period Friday.
“We talked about this morning, somebody asked me about different scenarios, and Chris Kelly is a very reliable player, a lot like Bergeron,” Julien said. “And a great two-way player. He as put up some decent points and he has also been extremely reliable defensively. So it’s an easy fit there and even Soupy [Gregory] Campbell has been a good player for us as well.
“He competes hard and very reliable. So you are able to move guys around and know they are going to do the job. And we’ve talked about our fourth line being a good line for us. And they have been good enough, to move them up to spots when need be,” Julien said. “Dan Paille took a shift there too on one of those lines. You have to be able to move guys around and they did a great job of stepping in and filling in those voids.”
|05.07.11 at 12:44 am ET|
In sweeping the team that spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Bruins thoroughly frustrated the Flyers from the opening faceoff through all four games, ending with Friday night’s 5-1 win in Game 4 at TD Garden.
‘Look at tonight’s game, it’s 1-1 halfway through the third,” Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The chances are relatively close. I would’ve liked to have generated more, offensively. I think in all the losses, we needed to generate more, we needed to spend more in the offensive zone. Defensively, even tonight, we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone trying to get through their trap and trying to get a sustained forecheck that could generate some offense and we weren’t able to do that, and in the losses, that seems to be one of the key things that factors in.
‘The other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You’re in your building and we don’t play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn’t get a win. We didn’t get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity.’
The Bruins swept Philadelphia for the second time in playoff history, having disposed of them in four straight in 1977. The Bruins won seven of the eight meetings between the two teams this year and Tim Thomas improved to 10-0-0 lifetime against the Flyers, including regular season and the playoffs.