Bruins take 3-0 series lead behind big nights from Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, Tim Thomas
|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.