|05.03.10 at 11:02 pm ET|
There are moments that define every series.
On Monday night, the bad boy of the Philadelphia Flyers claimed he was bitten in a scrum after a second period whistle. The Bruins said Dan Carcillo was just looking for attention by trying to pull the teeth out of the mouth of Marc Savard.
After Milan Lucic scored with just 2:57 left in regulation, it was the Bruins who had taken a bite out of the heart of the Flyers with a 3-2 win, taking a 2-0 series lead to Philadelphia for Game 3 Wednesday night.
But afterward, the hottest topic was that moment when Carcillo and Savard became entangled in a scrum with 14:05 left in the second period.
Carcillo was asked point blank if he was bitten on the finger, as was first reported on TV by TSN in Canada during the game.
“I did get [teethmarks],” said Carcillo, who said he was not bleeding after. “Last time I’ve been bit was in grade school. It’s not a good feeling.”
“It’s pretty cowardly.” said Carcillo, who laughed at Savard’s claim he was trying to pull Savard’s teeth out. “Yeah, that’s what I do when I get in a scrum. I try to pull people’s teeth out. Whatever, man, he bit me.”
Was Carcillo surprised that he was allegedly bitten?
“Yeah,” Carcillo said. “Guys don’t bite. Men don’t bite.”
But even Carcillo’s own teammate, Mike Richards, found the accusation a little hard to believe.
“I don’t know,” Richards said thinking out loud. “Maybe he bit himself. I have no idea what happened there.”
Carcillo was the focal point of what was a very physical second period. Earlier in the game, with 6:50 left in the opening period, Carcillo ran at Steve Begin with a high hit near the head in the neutral zone. Begin retaliated with a cross check, and the Flyers were awarded a power play.
|05.03.10 at 9:45 pm ET|
Summary — The Flyers twice came back from a one-goal deficit before the Bruins reasserted their will in the third, paving the way for a 3-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Milan Lucic scored the game-winner in the third to wrap up the victory for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask won his third straight playoff game with 24 saves, and once again out-dueled Brian Boucher, who took the loss by allowing three goals on 27 shots.
With the game tied at two heading into the final minutes of the third, David Krejci battled behind Boucher and sent a bouncing puck of a Flyers’ stick into the slot where Lucic settled it down and banged it home for the game-winner at 17:03.
After a strong start to the first period for the Flyers, the Bruins tampered the Philadelphia heat when Patrice Bergeron won a face off to the right of Boucher straight to the stick of defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk slipped a wrist shot with enough vigor on it through traffic to the top of the net and Boston had its second early lead of the series at 5:12.
Philadelphia came back late in the first when it used its aggressive two-man forecheck to break down the defensive pair of Matt Hunwick and Dennis Wideman coming out of the Bruins defensive zone. The trio of Ville Leino, Danny Briere broke down the exit and pushed the puck around the back of the net to Mike Richards who circled in from the circle to put the puck to the far side of Rask to make it 1-1 at 17:06.
Miroslav Satan continued his hot postseason in the second period when he put the Bruins back up at 9:31. The Flyers had been aggressively attacking the point of action on the puck to disrupt the Bruins flow in the offensive zone. Krejci was able to create a seem of space on the half wall and kick the puck to Wideman and then onto Blake Wheeler, who caught Satan on the dot on Boucher’s left and put a wrist shot into the net to make it 2-1.
Boston was guilty of one of hockey’s greatest pet peeves — allowing a goal in the last minute of a period. Leino and Briere rushed down the wing with a little give-and-go game that ended with the puck on Briere’s and a wrister above Rask to tie the game at two with 21.8 seconds left in the second.
Danny Briere — The feisty forward has pushed the Flyers attack through the first two games of the series and was instrumental in their first two goals with an assist in the first and a lamp-lighter in the second.
Miroslav Satan — Scored his fourth goal of the playoffs and extended his point streak to five games. Also had an assist on Lucic’s game-winner. The forward has nine points in the Bruins eight playoff games thus far.
Tuukka Rask — Solid when he needed to be in holding the Flyers to two goals and sending the series back to Philadelphia with the Bruins up two games.
Turning Point – Boston took control of the momentum in the second half of the third period when the Flyers took a couple of penalties to Arron Asham and Briere, as the Bruins turned the play around and held on after a fury of a Philadelphia attack through the late second period and beginning of the third.
Key Play — Lucic’s game-winner. The hulking forward scored his first of the playoffs in a big way when he settled the bouncing puck, turned and fired to beat Boucher low to his stick side.
|05.03.10 at 8:49 pm ET|
Meet Boston’s newest public enemy No. 1: Dan Carcillo. He figures to be a central figure in the third as the Bruins and Flyers are tied, 2-2, after 40 minutes.
After four-plus periods of wide-open play and scoring chances, the second period of Game 2 finally felt like the Flyers-Bruins of the 1970s.
There were hard hits, late hits and retaliatory penalty calls.
And there was the first true run at Marc Savard after a whistle.
Six minutes into the period, with the game tied, 1-1, Dennis Wideman fired a shot to the right of Brian Boucher, where Savard was standing. Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Carcillo went after Savard to protect Boucher.
Savard, frustrated, took a whack at Boucher after the whistle and was called for a slash.
Earlier, it was Carcillo who went up high on Steve Begin at center ice near the boards. Begin retaliated and was called for a cross-check. In both cases, the crowd fired up the Bruins penalty kill. After 40 minutes, the Bruins are a perfect 4-for-4 on the PK.
The Bruins exacted the best revenge when Miroslav Satan fired a shot five-hole on Boucher at 9:31 for a 2-1 Bruins lead. Dennis Wideman assisted on the goal and has a four-game playoff point streak while Satan has scored in five straight games for the Bruins, starting with Game 4 against Buffalo.
But these Fighting Flyers tied the game with just 24.8 seconds remaining when Daniel Briere came out of the penalty box and flew down the right wing, beating Rask with a laser wrister to the far side.
|05.03.10 at 7:53 pm ET|
This game already has a different feel than Game 1. Like Game 1 there were two goals in the opening period and the Bruins did take the lead. But the Flyers fought back to tie it, 1-1, at the first intermission.
Aside from generating a scrum and a shot on Brian Boucher in the opening 15 seconds, the Bruins didn’t have nearly the jump or energy they had in Game 1. Shawn Thornton made his series debut on a line with Steve Begin and Blake Wheeler and immediately made his presence known by crashing the net.
Still, the Bruins managed to break the ice on a great combination of a face-off win by Boston’s best on the draw and a good shot through a heavy screen.
Patrice Bergeron won his offensive zone draw cleanly to the right of the Flyers goalie and drew it back to Johnny Boychuk. The young B’s blueliner, just above the circle, fired a quick wrister through a screen that Boucher didn’t see till it was behind him, beating the Flyers netminder to the short side at 5:12 even strength.
The Flyers responded with a screen-goal of their own when Mike Richards pulled a Wayne Gretzky-esque move with puck behind Tuukka Rask. Richards skated from the end line out to the left dot curled around and used a nice screen from Danny Briere to beat Rask with just 2:54 left in the opening period.
The Flyers were 0-for-2 on the power play but spent a lot more time in the Bruins zone than the opening period Saturday.
The Flyers also outshot the Bruins, 10-7, in the opening 20 minutes.
|05.03.10 at 1:24 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton is not the type to sit and watch his team mates go up and down the ice in an intense playoff game. Yet, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers, Thornton found himself a healthy scratch watching from media Level 9 of TD Garden, his heart trying to escape his chest every scoring chance the Bruins had on Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher.
“I want to be in every series. It is the best time of year, what you work for all summer and all winter long to get to this point. Watching hockey sucks. I would rather be playing,” Thornton said after the morning skate on Monday before Game 2. “I watched the second and third. The first I was working out. I can’t stand it. I almost had a heart attack. It is way harder to watch than it is to play. When you are involved you are in the flow but when you are up top or in the back room watching the game, every chance your heart jumps out of your chest, so it is tough but it is exciting as well. As I said before, I would rather be playing and that is one of the reasons because it sucks to have to sit there.”
Thornton will likely be in the lineup for Game 2, but not under the circumstances that anybody would find ideal. With Marco Sturm going down for the rest of the season (and the beginning of next) with two torn ligaments in his right knee, Thornton will resume his spot on the checking line and get down to business against the bruising Flyers attack. Thornton is a good Bruins citizen. He is always accountable, always present and always wants to play. There are more talented skaters among the Bruins forwards but he brings a lot of heart to the dressing room and the rink. He cannot see himself in the lineup as any type of reward because another one of the standout clubhouse guys has to face surgery and months of rehabilitation.
“I wouldn’t use the word rewarded. A good friend, good team mate is down. It is tough. I don’t like how it happened with the injury but I am going to get in the lineup and try to play as well as I can,” Thornton said.
A lot of people scratched their heads when Thornton was the man to sit as opposed to a player like Blake Wheeler, who has been ineffective around the goal and prone to turnovers through the end of the season and the playoffs. The thought was that, since the Flyers are so physical and aggressive, that Boston would need a player of Thornton’s talents to help counterbalance Philadelphia’s style. Former Bruins player and coach and current NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury said on the Dale and Holley show recently that sitting Thornton would be a crime.
“I would shed a real tear if I were a Bruins fan, if that happens,” Milbury said. “I don’t think his presence in the lineup is given enough importance by the people in management, frankly. I’ve seen him sort of get jerked around this year and I thought it was a mistake. If he doesn’t play tomorrow I think it is a mistake, and if he doesn’t play every game the rest of the way I think it’s a crime.”
Crime averted though it took a catastrophe to happen.
Unlike Milbury, Thornton is not suited to the media level. He joked around with reporters that they had it easy on Level 9 but ultimately, it is just not his style.
“The game is so much easier on the ninth level. That is why you guys [the media] make so much money, huh? I kind of prepare the same way I would for any other game. It is easier up there, you can see things happen before they happen. It is a lot quicker on ice level so I just come out and do what I do,” Thornton said.
|05.03.10 at 12:35 pm ET|
Marco Sturm has been down this road before and he does not like it. On Dec. 18, 2008 Sturm tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and missed the rest of the Bruins regular season as well as the playoffs. On Saturday, he tore the medial collateral [MCL] and anterior cruciate ligaments [ACL] when he went in for a hit against Philadelphia Matt Carle 21-second into his first shift in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Philadelphia.
“Yeah, I tried to hit him [Carle] and I felt it right away when I went to hit him. I got caught or something and my knee twisted just a little bit and I could hear right away the big pop and I had heard it again, before [his previous ACL tear] and I knew it was going to be the same thing from before,” Sturm said.
For Carle’s part, he did not register that the Bruins forward had been injured until play was stopped when Tuukka Rask covered the puck in the Boston zone. It was just a normal hockey play — Sturm going for a defenseman on the forecheck, the defenseman gets the puck away and braces for the hit.
“I just saw him coming out of the corner of my eye and had to get rid of the puck because I knew I was going to get hit,” Carle said. “So, I just flipped the puck and braced for the hit and saw him go down right after. Just kind of one of those weird plays that happens during a game. As soon as I flipped the puck and reacting to that and he just kind of bounced off me and I didn’t know he was hurt until later in the shift and he was just laying on the ice and you know it had to be something pretty serious because he wasn’t moving.”
Sturm noted that the injury is the exactly same that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered in the beginning of the 2008 NFL season. In as such, Sturm will wait for the MCL to reduce in swelling and heal itself a little before going in and having surgery on the knee. Like his left knee the year before, Dr. Peter Asnis and Dr. Tom Gill will perform the procedure in about four to six weeks. In terms of rehabilitation, Sturm does not yet know if he will stay in Boston or head back to Germany.
“I am definitely going to have Dr. Asnis and Dr. Gill do the surgery again but for sure I am going to have it here. I don’t know if I am going to stay here or go back home. There are a lot of questions and I just don’t know and we will have to wait and see,” Sturm said. “These guys, they didn’t do it, but it’s acting like Tom Brady. Same thing. But he decided to go to another doctor. And he did it too early, because the MCL wasn’t healed. So you got to get it healed first and then do the surgery. So it could be a while.”
At this point though, Sturm is just trying to cope with what could be the lowest moment of his career and perhaps the very end of his career. He is only 31 years old and has 855 NHL games under his belt but is now looking at his second major knee surgery in as many years.
“It is going to be the toughest challenge. The last one I didn’t know what to expect, I just went at it but I was around all the season with the boys,” Sturm said. “That helped me a lot. This time I know how hard it was and all that. It is a lot of work. I don’t know. Right now, I don’t know. I am still rattled and just got to be patient. I know I have my family to support me, my family at home so, we’ll see. It will be hard, definitely but I know what to expect now and just try do the best with it.”
It will be December before Sturm can even think about coming back to the ice for the Bruins for the 2010-11 season, his last of year under contract to the Bruins for $3.5 million. Yet, Sturm is the type of high-character guy who has worked hard to get back from injuries before and, though melancholy sitting on the stage at TD Garden Monday morning, showed a bit of resolve to think that he can make it back from a catastrophic injury, one more time.
“After the ACL from last year and just never thought it was going to be another injury like this. It is going to be a tough one but I have always come back from big injuries and I will come back from this one but it is going to be tough,” Sturm said.
|05.02.10 at 2:06 pm ET|
It is always fun to see the diminutive players take on the those of elevated physical stature. Smaller players, by definition, have to be scratchy, buckle-up-your-bootstraps type of guys if they want to survive in professional sports. It is not a matter of talent; often the smaller players are more talented than their larger peers and thus pack more talent per square inch into the smaller package. It is akin to pundits saying that Shaquille O’Neal was never a very talented center but was just so physically dominant that he became unguardable.
One of the smallest guys in the Bruins locker room (and also the oldest) is forward and future Hall of Fame member Mark Recchi. In Game 1 against the Flyers on Saturday he had lost his helmet in front of the crease and found himself face-to-chest with towering Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger. The defenseman is listed at 6-foot-6 while Recchi is quite generously on the roster at 5-10 (probably more like 5-7 or so, maybe a tad taller). Recchi did not like the extra juice with which Pronger hit him at the end of the play and gave the blueliner a big push to let to show his displeasure.
“It is just the way Mark Recchi has played for us all year,” B’s coach Claude Julien said. “I think we talk about him being a good example, and that is another one besides his work ethic and commitment. He has just gone in there and it is all about business. We know that Chris Pronger takes liberties with players at times, and at one point you have got guys pushing back and that is what [Recchi] decided to do.”
For his part, Recchi did not really think much of the fracas. He was served with roughing and cross-checking penalties, and Pronger took two for a cross check.
“It is part of it,” Recchi said. “It is the playoffs. That is the way goes. You know, he is a competitive guy, we all are. Whether it is him or whatever. You try to create space and try what it takes to win games, and he is going to do that, and there is a reason that he has won championships because he does what it takes. It is just us going out there and playing and it is really no big deal.”
This is an interesting series for Recchi, who served two separate stints with the Flyers, the first from the 1991-92 season until 1994-95, when he was traded to the Canadiens in midseason. Montreal then traded him back to Philadelphia in the middle of the 1998-99 season and he stayed there until 2003-04. He won a championship with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
“Yeah, I played the longest there and Philly is a great town and very similar to Boston, a great sports town,” he said. “Great place to live and I really enjoyed my time there. I ended up winning a Cup a couple of years later so it worked out. Everything happens for a reason.”
The 42-year-old Recchi may be one of the oldest players in the NHL, but even he would be hard-pressed to give specific details on the last time the Bruins and Flyers met in the playoffs in 1978, when he was 10 years old and living in British Columbia. That does not mean he is not unwilling to help write a new chapter in the rivalry.
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