|05.05.10 at 9:31 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA ‘ The Bruins took a big step toward the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, taking a Game 3 win over the Flyers at the Wachovia Center. Boston put Philadelphia down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series with a 4-1 victory and will look to sweep away the Flyers in Game 4 on Friday. Tuukka Rask continued his solid playoff play and won his seventh game of the postseason, while Brian Boucher has fallen from his high perch coming out of the Flyers’ quarterfinals series and took the loss by allowing three goals on 19 Boston shots.
Philadelphia put a digit on the board first for the first time in the series when Arron Asham struck 2:32 into the game. The play was set up when Bruins rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid turned the puck over to center Blair Betts at the blue line to start a 2-on-1 the other way with Claude Giroux and Asham. Giroux waited long enough down the left wing to put the puck on Asham’s stick for a flip across the crease on Rask for the early advantage.
Boston came storming back. Blake Wheeler scored the first playoff goal of his career (in his 17th postseason game) when he tipped a Matt Hunwick shot from the left point through the crease to tie the game at 4:11 in the first. A minute later, the Bruins took the lead when Flyers center Mike Richards was over-aggressive in hitting David Krejci as the Bruins center made his way out of the zone and sent the puck sliding through the neutral zone to Milan Lucic making the entry on the blue line. Lucic flipped to Miroslav Satan rushing down the seam and the Slovakian forward made an up fake with his stick and went around a diving Boucher’s glove to make it 2-1 at 5:15. Krejci would not return to the game after the hit.
Mark Recchi made it 3-1 at 2:30 of the third period on the power play when he was able to slam home a bouncing puck off a shot from Zdeno Chara in the high slot was blocked to the ice by Wheeler. It was Recchi’s fourth of the playoffs and the 54th playoff goal of his career. Patrice Bergeron added an empty-netter at 18:02 to put the exclamation point on the victory.
Miroslav Satan — Scored the Bruins second goal and continues to lead his legions in playoff scoring with 10 points through nine games (5 goals, 5 assists).
Tuukka Rask — The Finnish rookie withstood the storm to emerge dry on the other side as the Flyers put up the most shots they had through the series.
Blake Wheeler — Scored his first career playoff goal and assisted on Recchi’s in the third for his second career playoff multi-point night (second of playoffs).
Turning Point – Asham took a tripping penalty at the 50-second mark of the third period that was a touch of a questionable call as Matt Hunwick had lost an edge on the end boards on the sub-optimal Wachovia Center ice. The Bruins would take advantage on the power play when Chara slipped into the high slot and sent a screamer to the crease that Wheeler blocked down to the ice with his chest, straight to the stick of Recchi waiting for it to fall and bang home for the two-goal lead at 2:30.
Key Play — The Flyers had a great chance to tie the game at two around 14:52 of the second period when Asham put a ricochet rebound of Rask’s pads back on the goaltender. Rask could not corral the rebound and Asham flipped it back to the far side, as Rask was out of the crease attacking the point of attack. But the forwards attempt hit the post and the Bruins were able to clear it out of the zone and protect their lead in a period where they were outshot 15-9.
|05.05.10 at 8:39 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — For the first time in the series, neither team found the back of the net in a period and, as a result, the Bruins stand just 20 minutes from a nearly insurmountable 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Flyers.
The Flyers ended the period with a power play but as has been the case nearly all season long, the Bruins penalty was more than up to the task.
The only Boston concern remains the injury bug. Neither David Krejci nor defenseman Adam McQuaid will return to the game due to undisclosed injuries, the team’s media relations staff announced late in the second. Both players appeared in just two shifts of the first period before leaving the game.
The Flyers are outshooting the Bruins, 27-17, after 40 minutes.
|05.05.10 at 7:48 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins grabbed a 2-1 lead after the first period and became the first visiting team to lead in the series so far. But it came at a cost as David Krejci and Adam McQuaid were sent to the dressing room with undisclosed injuries.
The first 20 minutes of the series in Philadelphia in the series featured the first lead by the Flyers.
Rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid, who might be playing his last game if Mark Stuart returns Friday for Game 4, turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. The bobble led to a 2-on-1 rush by Flyers Claude Giroux and Aaron Asham.
But the Bruins wasted little time gathering themselves and mounting a comeback as less than two minutes later Blake Wheeler scored on a re-direct in front of Brian Boucher at 4:11, his first career playoff goal in 17 games.
Mike Richards, who reportedly threatened to take out Savard during Game 2, took out Krejci instead in the neutral zone. But just before the hit, Krejci found Milan Lucic at the right point. Lucic found a streaking Miroslav Satan down the slot. Satan skated in alone on Boucher and beat the Flyers goalies with a nice backhanded deke at 5:45 for a 2-1 Bruins lead, the first by a visiting team in the series.
Krejci did not return for the remainder of the period.
The Flyers outshot the Bruins, 12-8 in the opening period.
|05.05.10 at 2:03 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Claude Julien said at the onset of the series that everyone should not automatically turn the clocks back to 1975 when looking at this Eastern Conference semifinal series between his Bruins and the Flyers.
Well, Julien may want to revise that a bit, or at least caution his team of the possibility heading into Game 3 tonight. The ‘Broad Street Bullies’ of the 1970s were known to attempt to intimidate for an edge. They played in the old Spectrum, which still stands to the north, across the parking lot from the Wachovia Center.
Julien’s team heads into a hostile building against a team that is cornered and still believes they can win the series, even though the Bruins hold a somewhat commanding 2-0 series lead.
Add to that Marc Savard doesn’t have the TD Garden crowd tonight waving yellow hankies but rather 20,000 rabid Flyer fans wanting blood for his alleged chomp on Dan Carcillo’s right hand in the second period of Game 2.
The Bruins have a chance to put the Philadelphia Flyers in a 3-0 hole tonight in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series. But to do so, Boston must get the job done on the road, a task they were unable to finish the last time they had the chance in Buffalo
Julien put the team through an optional skate Wednesday morning at the Wachovia Center before addressing the media and the importance of understanding what’s at stake in Game 3.
“I think both teams have their approach,” Julien added. “Obviously, the Flyers want to get back in the series and there’s no doubt they’re going to be ready. We don’t want to let them back in the series so we need to be ready. It’s not a very complicated thing. I think it’s a matter of understanding the urgency of both sides and be ready to counter what the other team is going to throw at you.”
Savard did not take part in the optional pregame skate, choosing to get his rest for tonight. He is more than prepared to hear some not-so-nice things from the fans tonight.
“It’s part of the game and whatever comes, it just makes you play better,” Savard said Wednesday morning.
Savard is not alone in wanting to be disciplined tonight as the Flyers figure to at least attempt to draw the Bruins into some penalties the way they did in the second period Monday.
“I wouldn’t say distracting,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “We’ve played in loud buildings before and this is one of the louder ones. And it’s a little tougher when they’re not cheering for you but we have to find a way.”
|05.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — Centermen think they are so clever.
Faceoffs. Simple science or mischievous underworld of cheats and chicanery? A sub-theme to the Bruins and Flyers series that developed during Game 2 and is carrying into Game 3 in Philadelphia on Wednesday has been the Boston’s dominance on the dot. Flyers captain Mike Richards did not fare well on Monday against Patrice Bergeron in the circle and he is hoping that being home in the Wachovia Center will help take away the Bruins advantage.
“They are good faceoff guys and they used the home ice to their advantage,” Richards said. “He [Bergeron], is strong, I think he has a enough respect where he is allowed to cheat a little bit more. I am not sure what else but faceoffs are all about who can cheat the most and in the long run it is a lot easier taking face offs at home than it is on the road.”
Boston centerman David Krejci said after Game 2 that “every center has his tricks” and then refused to elaborate on exactly what tricks he has up his sleeve. It is like every center in the NHL is part of a little fraternity and each unit has their own secret handshake when it comes to gaining the advantage on the dot.
“Every one cheats on faceoffs, it is just about who does it the best,” Richards said. “Home ice I think it is a lot easier to take faceoffs than it is on the road and obviously is better to play with the puck so we will use that to our advantage tonight.”
What Bergeron does so well in the circle is get his shoulder down, quick stick and box out. Some guys do not come to a full stop when skating in for the drop, giving them more momentum in getting that shoulder down and the other center off the puck.
“I do it too. I do it all the time, everybody does,” Richards said. “Just look for the edge to win the faceoffs and I think the refs have been doing a great job of letting us pause a little bit.”
Richards mentioned multiple times that “it is easier to win faceoffs on home ice.” What he is basically saying is that is when teams have the last change they can craft their matchups to their benefit. For instance, Richards never touched the ice in the first two games without Bergeron and Zdeno Chara on his back. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette would double shift Richards and Chara would double shift as well. Laviolette has been scrounging around for trios and pairs that can break down the Bruins.
“I don’t think there was as much line juggling as you guys would call it,” Laviolette said. “It is more of trying to get somebody away from somebody cause we can get different matchups. It will be easier at home where we can start where we want and play from there. We are double shifting some guys in the lineup so that is a cause (of the line juggling) as well. Just with opportunities when we have been behind, we need to get guys out on the ice so we have some guys who we will shift them a little bit more with the guys out of the lineup.”
Laviolette is, of course, referring to Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne as the guys out of the lineup. Richards was Laviolette’s primary center during the regular season and took 1373 faceoffs at 50.7 percent success rate. Carter was the next guy on the list with 1314 at 52. 4 percent and both were about 500 ahead of the next guy on the team, Blair Betts at 855.
“We have to do a better job of doing being ready on the face offs,” Laviolette said. “I thought there were some faceoffs that we won and they picked it up and therefore it looked like their win. We have to be ready as a group. The centermen have to do a good job but our wingers have to do a good job as well.”
Can the Flyers change their fortunes around in this series with the simple advantages that come with being on home ice? Creating matchups for the purpose of forechecking and winning face offs is definitely an important part of the game but, as Laviolette points out, the Flyers still have to execute.
|05.05.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
Daniel Carcillo has become enemy No. 1 to Bruins fans, and Mike Emrick, of NBC Sports and Versus, said the Flyers tough guy will have extra attention from the officials as the series continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
“Carcillo with the various fake moves and all of that is starting to draw attention of the entire staff,” Emrick said to Dale & Holley on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s going to play to well as the series goes on and you can probably see that he is not going to get a fair shake on some of these things if he had been probably the model player. I have a feeling that there is going to be some rank among the staff and they’ll keep a eye closer on him than they will someone else.”
Emrick said Game 3 probably will be the most “aggressive” of the series, and that the physical players like Carcillo or a Milan Lucic have always been fan favorites, especially in Boston and Philly.
“The Jesse James guys are really good, and we really don’t have too many guys who are difficult to deal with in the sport, but they are the best guys,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s just because they have a fairly humble roll to take on and they’ve agreed to do it. … But the one thing is they are the most likeable creatures that there are.”
The voice of the NHL on NBC said he he didn’t know why Bruins made such a turnaround in these playoffs, but he said they can be contenders going forward.
“Whatever it was they ought to bottle it up and Claude Julien can open a stand and sell it,” he said. “Whatever it is it’s worked. There are all kinds of radical turns that occur at playoff time.”
Emrick said it all started with winning at home.
“They started playing better at home at that point,” Emrick said, referring to a late-season win against the Rangers. “They’d only won one game at home since Fenway. That made it two and they built on it from there and got much better. I’m not sure what it was. I’m not sure if someone said something in the room or if it was one of those spontaneous things where they got confidence. … Whatever it is, they’ve done it really well and it’s a thrilling thing for their fans to see.”
|05.05.10 at 10:48 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss his team’s playoff series against the Flyers.
With the Bruins up 2-0 in the series on the day of Game 3, Recchi expects the Flyers to come out with plenty of intensity as they face a must-win situation. “We know it was two good games, two hard-fought games, and it is going to be no different tonight,” he said. “We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first 5-7 minutes and then push back. And if we can do that, it will play into our favor as well.”
Asked how he thinks his younger teammates will handle the hostile crowd, Recchi said he doesn’t think it will be much of an issue. “They won’t get unnerved about stuff like that at all,” he said. “Our guys are ready for everything. We’ve been in it, and Buffalo was a pretty crazy building as well. We’ve seen it first-hand, and Philly fans probably take it up a notch, but at the same time that won’t bother our guys.”
The Bruins’ struggles during the regular season were well documented. Despite that, the team has persevered and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Recchi was asked if he ever had doubts that the Bruins would right the ship during moments like the team’s 10-game losing streak. “When you believe in the guys sitting beside you, in the dressing room, that never crosses your mind,” he said. “My biggest thing was I knew we had it in us, because we could control games and dominate games, but then we just couldn’t find that consistency. And I knew it was there. We did it the year before. a lot of these young guys had done it the year before. So in the end I wasn’t too unhappy that we went through that rough patch because I believe it makes you grow.”
The 42-year-old also talked about his transitions as a player over the last 20 years. “At 22 I was just a young offensive player who was very gifted offensively,” he said. “I was still learning to be a leader, but I had some great guys in the dressing room like Bryan Trottier and Joe Mullen. Thirty-two, I had become kind of a leader and was better at it. I was still an offensive player but I was getting better at two-way. And 42 is not as good offensively, but responsible defensively and I think I am a good leader in the dressing room.”
To listen to the interview, click here. A transcript is below.
Even though you guys are up 2-0, is the fact that you could have lost either of those games a good or bad thing in the team’s mind?
Well, as long as we understand that it could have went both ways I think that is the important thing ‘ that you learn from it. We know it was two good games, two hard fought games and it is going to be no different tonight. We are going to have to weather the storm of their home crowd for the first five to seven minutes and then push back. And if we can do that it will play into our favor as well.
You almost have to expect this will be their best effort tonight. Is that safe to say?
Absolutely. They will throw everything at us but the kitchen sink. We’ll have to be ready for it and like I said we’ll have to push back. And if we can and we can weather it then it is going to be a tight game again.
If it doesn’t work for the Bruins, and it does for the Flyers, when do you expect it to get ugly?
Well, you never know with this rivalry. Both are big teams and physical teams, so you just never know.
Does the hostile crowd affect you?
Once you get out there playing, it doesn’t really matter. It is loud and when team’s come to our building it’s loud and energetic. It is a fun atmosphere to be in regardless of what building you are in. That’s what it is all about and the playoffs are fun, so you’ve got to enjoy it. Enjoy that 18,000 people hate you. Read the rest of this entry »
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