|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.
|Bruins/Flyers Game 3 live blog: B’s lead, 4-1, in third||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.
|Bruins/Flyers Game 2 Live Blog: Headed to overtime||05.02.11 at 6:59 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia live from Wells Fargo Center (as well as a cast of others) as the Bruins take on the Flyers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|Bruins/Flyers Game 1 live blog: Gregory Campbell makes it 7-3||04.30.11 at 2:31 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as the Bruins take on the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second time in as many years. The live blog begins at 2:30.
|Nathan Horton does it again in OT, Bruins advance past Canadiens to face Flyers||04.27.11 at 10:10 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins gave Boston its latest Game 7 scare by blowing a pair of leads, but advanced to the second round of the postseason in thrilling fashion Wednesday night thanks to a Nathan Horton series-clinching goal in overtime that gave the B’s the 4-3 win. It was Horton’s second overtime goal this series.
With the victory, the Bruins will get a shot at redemption, as they will face the same Flyers team that came back from a 3-0 Boston series lead to eliminate the B’s in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.
With the teams tied at two midway through the third, Chris Kelly put a rebound from an Andrew Ference shot under a diving Carey Price at 9:44 of the third period. P.K. Subban would erase the lead with a blast past Tim Thomas on the power play at 18:03 of the third. That set up Horton’s heroics.
Johnny Boychuk opened the night’s scoring by sending a shot from the point through traffic and past Price. Mark Recchi would follow with his first goal of the playoffs at 5:33, giving the B’s an early 2-0 lead and filling TD Garden with quite a buzz.
The Habs would come roaring back thanks to their special teams, with Yannick Weber scoring on the power play at 9:49 of the first period and Tomas Plekanec beating Thomas on a shorthanded breakaway at 5:50 of the second. Thomas would have 29 saves in regulation for the B’s.
The Bruins will begin the conference semifinals in Philadelphia, as the Flyers (ranked No. 2) are the higher seed. It is the third straight year in which the B’s have advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The B’s have been eliminated in the conference semifinals in each of the last two seasons.
With the win Wednesday, the Bruins have their first Game 7 victory since 1994, when the B’s eliminated the Habs at the Boston Garden. It is also the first time in Claude Julien‘s four years in the Boston that he’s led the team to a Game 7 victory. Julien’s first three seasons in Boston ended in Game 7 losses.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR BRUINS
– The B’s got off to a fast 2-0 start in the first 5:33 of the contest. Sure, they ended up blowing it, but Boychuk getting the B’s on the board early in the first period with a blast from the point was reminiscent of the team’s 7-0 victory over the Habs back on March 24. In that game, of course, Boychuk scored 1:01 into the game and the B’s never looked back.
– Kelly had just two goals and three assists in 24 regular-season games with the Bruins … and then topped that in one playoff series, tallying three goals and three assists against the Canadiens. More importantly, he produced in the biggest of situations. In Game 4, he scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then set up Michael Ryder for the overtime winner. Wednesday, he buried a rebound with 10:16 remaining in the third to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
– The Bruins started the third period playing much better than they did in the second. They were able to string together good shifts from each of the top three lines, something they didn’t do in the middle frame. The B’s dominated time of possession for the first half of the period and were consistently swarming around Price. The pressure finally paid off when Kelly buried a rebound 9:44 into the period to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.
– Andrew Ference may give crowds the occasional finger, but he was huge for the Bruins this series. He scored a key goal in Game 4 (Finger Gate) and had two assists Wednesday, including on Kelly’s go-ahead goal in the third.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS
– No use in having a two-goal lead when you can’t hold it. In front of a crowd that was trying to forget last year’s 3-0 collapse vs. the Flyers, the B’s let the Habs erase Boston’s 2-0 lead and clearly grab the momentum in the second period. It was a very rough period for the B’s, who ended up being outshot, 12-7, in the second.
– The B’s made Price’s night rough early, but they hardly poured it on once they grabbed their 2-0 lead. Following a timeout called by Jacques Martin, the B’s got only two shots on goal for the rest of the period. That means the B’s had as many goals in the first 5:33 as they did shots in the final 14:27 of the opening period. Hardly terrific, but given the two goals part, they’d probably take that every period.
– It was bad enough that the Bruins couldn’t score on the power play. It was even worse when they allowed Montreal to tie the game while Lars Eller was in the box for cross checking. After failing to get set up for the first minute of the power play, Recchi couldn’t control a pass from Dennis Seidenberg in the neutral zone, allowing Plekanec to skate in on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Thomas. Boston couldn’t get set up after the goal, either, and concluded the man advantage without a shot on goal. The B’s had a lot of bad power plays in the series, but this one was the worst, which is really saying something.
– Midway through that second period, Brad Marchand opted out of a golden scoring opportunity to make a pass to no one in particular. He took a feed on the left wing on a 3-on-1 and had an open lane to the net, but instead tried to pass the puck across the top of the crease to one of his two linemates. Unfortunately, one of them was tied up by a defender and the other was already past the right post by the time Marchand made the pass. What should’ve been a grade-A scoring chance became nothing more than a dump into the corner and an easy clear for Montreal.
– Poor officiating. Just a horrid penalty called on Shawn Thornton called late in the first period. With Habs forward Ryan White seemingly holding Thornton in blatant fashion, Thornton was called for an elbow that replays failed to show.
A hooking call on Michael Ryder on Plekanec at 8:22 of the first wasn’t much better. Plekanec seemed to go down rather easily on a play in which it seemed Ryder was simply outmuscling him. Boychuk’s boarding call late in the second period looked to be the closest to a penalty of all the ones called on the Bruins, as the late high-sticking call on Patrice Bergeron seemed to be more James Wisniewski theatrics than anything else.
|Bruins Game 7 Live Blog: Bruins, Habs will decide it in overtime||04.27.11 at 5:53 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Joey the Fish and others from TD Garden for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. It’s do or die for the Bruins, and the blog will open at 6:30 p.m..
|Countdown to Game 7, 5 P.M.: Will the Bruins fail to close again?||04.27.11 at 5:04 pm ET|
With just two hours until the start of Game 7, Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Bruins have no one — including the referees — to blame but themselves for again failing to put away a team in the postseason. Here’s the final paragraph of the Cotsonika column:
The Bruins weren’t able to bury yet another opponent, and if they don’t bury the Canadiens on Wednesday night, it won’t matter how they tried or how hard they worked. They will have had their chances, too many chances, only to keep falling short and keep their Stanley Cup drought at 39 years and counting.
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