|Why Tim Thomas vs. James van Riemsdyk is the best show in this series||05.04.11 at 11:15 am ET|
One player nearly evened the series by himself. The other put on perhaps the best pressure goaltending performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs.
James van Riemsdyk had to settle for scoring twice and watching his Flyers fall into another 2-0 hole against the Bruins while dominating every shift he was on the ice.
Tim Thomas saved 52 of 54 shots, including all 10 in overtime, as he single-handedly made sure van Riemsdyk and the Flyers came to Boston in another desperate situation.
Tonight, the two of them will be asked by their teammates to keep it up in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Looking back at Game 2, there were several moments that could have put an entirely different perspective on Game 3 tonight. If JVR beats Thomas with six minutes remaining in regulation on a break in on net, the Flyers win. If JVR beats Thomas on a phenomenal shot off a faceoff with just over four seconds remaining in regulation, the Flyers win. If Thomas doesn’t make a save on Philly’s No. 21 on a clean look from the left circle 10 minutes into OT, the Flyers win.
Thomas was ready for every possible scenario on Monday, including that dramatic end of regulation, which also saw Danny Briere miss by a hair of putting Thomas’ save on van Riemsdyk into the net for the game-winner.
‘This is one of the most dangerous faceoff teams in the offensive zone or our defensive zone that we play against,” Thomas said. “They have a lot of different things that they do. They actually already scored once this series in the first game on a play. So I knew even with a few seconds left that the faceoff could be dangerous.
“The way it worked out it came off the faceoff and for just a second there it went behind a screen for me and I found it just as the guy was throwing the first shot to the net but I saw it so late that I couldn’t control the rebound. I saw the rebound go over to Danny Briere’s feet and in that one hundredth of a second I thought it might be over because he’s one of those guys that gets them and you know. He fumbled it for just a second, just long enough for Seidenberg to dive over and block one. I was still waiting for that buzzer and I don’t know if by the time it hit me if the buzzer had gone off or not but it was relief when the buzzer happened.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|Mark Recchi on D&C: ‘The pressure’s all on them’||at 10:06 am ET|
Bruins forward Mark Recchi checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, hours before the B’s host the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Bruins have a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Boston. A year ago, the B’s led the Flyers 3-0 in the series before losing in seven games. Recchi said the Bruins have not avoided discussing last year. “We know that. We’ll talk about it. There’s no question we’ll address it,” Recchi said. “We’ll get ready. Our thing is: Hey, focus on what we do. Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on tonight. Focus on what we do as a team. Don’t focus so much on them and what’s going on on the outside, what people are saying, what people are talking about. Get in our bubble and let’s get ready for tonight.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that the pressure is on the Bruins now because they are expected to win. Recchi isn’t buying it. “The pressure’s on them,” Recchi countered. “They have to come in here and win. We went and did our job. They had home ice. The pressure’s all on them. If they don’t win, they’re down 3-0. They can talk all they want about last year and all that, [but] the pressure completely is on them right now.”
Tim Thomas has stood out in goal for Boston and has drawn comparisons to Dominik Hasek for his unconventional yet successful style of flopping all over the crease. “They found a way to stop pucks,” Recchi said of Hasek and Thomas. “It doesn’t matter how, they found a way. There’s a method to their madness, too. Timmy might look like he’s all over the place, but he really knows what he’s doing in there. He’s really controlled, and actually probably controlled in his mind in how he wants to play.”
At 43 years old, Recchi is in his 22nd NHL season. Asked about his ability to continue to produce as the oldest player in the league, Recchi said: “It’s all how you rest and prepare. I’ve got lots left in the tank. ‘¦ Once playoffs start, I just basically play right now. I don’t do a whole lot of practicing. I just try and keep myself sharp as much as possible.”
Recchi said he does his best to play through pain. “Regardless of my age, I want to be counted on,” he said. “And I want the coach to know that I’m going to be there. And I want my teammates to know I’m going to be there for them all the time.”
|Bruins-Flyers: Three points heading into Game 3||at 6:58 am ET|
Everyone knows what happened after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last year: a Flyers Game 4 victory followed by three more in what ended up being one of the most devastating ends to a season in Bruins history.
This time around, the Bruins have set about righting that wrong, if it’s possible, and they’re off to the best start they could have through two games: a 2-0 series lead. Even if they take Game 3, it won’t be anything new for a team that was in the same position a year ago, but they’ll be sitting pretty.
It looks like they’ll have to play Game 3 without Adam McQuaid, as the rookie defenseman sprained his neck trying to hit Mike Richards in Game 2. Expect Shane Hnidy to be in his place for the veterans second game this postseason. Hnidy played just 4:13 in Game 2 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens when he filled in for an ill Zdeno Chara.
Injuries and substitutions aside, Wednesday’s game is a pivotal one. As the B’s saw last week, winning Game 3 when you’re down 2-1 can change plenty, and that’s what the Flyers will aim to do. On the other hand, if the B’s can grab a 3-0 series lead, they’ll be in good position to do what 99% of teams do with 3-0 leads. Here are a few quick points on where things stand entering a big game at the Garden:
KREJCI REMAINS KEY
Sure, the L’s didn’t start coming until game four, but the Bruins suffered a major loss in Game 3 last season when David Krejci broke his wrist. Without Krejci, the B’s weren’t the same team, and it had a lot to do with why Philadelphia was able to crawl back to make it a series.
This year, and after a pedestrian first round vs. the Canadiens, Krejci has been as a big a force as anyone else (except for perhaps Tim Thomas) through two games. After having difficulty finishing plays vs. the Habs, Krejci has lit up the Flyers to the tune of five points in two games, including the game-winner in overtime in Monday’s Game 2.
With Marc Savard making only a 25-game cameo, Krejci was the de facto top center on the team most of the year, yet he didn’t always play like it. Krejci’s a guy who runs hot and cold, but he’s showing that he’s using the right faucet when it counts.
The Bruins aren’t going to sit back and play the “what if” game with what they could have done with a healthy Krejci last year, but so far they’re finding out what they can do with him this year.
THE WINNING WAY: CIRCUMVENTING REGULATION, POWER PLAY?
Four overtime games, zero power play goals, and only one win in which they’ve outshot their opponent. Those are some of the interesting details of the Bruins’ postseason thus far, but they’ll take the results.
The B’s are in no way welcoming more OT games, but given that they’ve won all four they’ve played so far, they’ve got to like the reputation they’ve developed. Contests like Game 2 are ones they most certainly won’t win every time, as Thomas faced 32 shots in the third period and overtime, while the B’s mustered just 12 shots. As they say, a win’s a win. You’d think the B’s would just rather win the way they did in the 7-3 fashion in which they took Game 1.
As for the power play, the mystery of when “the streak” will finally end (they’re at 0-for-29 thus far in the playoffs), is growing in legend. Will it get to 30? 35? It looked better late in the second period Tuesday, and perhaps with the confidence of winning will come the confidence to get this ugly streak out of their heads. The B’s just need to make sure their power play looks more like it did in Game 2 than it did in Game 1, when the Flyers were easily gaining possession and sending it the length of the ice.
THOMAS HAS BEEN IN OCTOBER FORM IN THE PLAYOFFS
Blaming the goaltender would be absurd, but it would be fair to say after the first two games of the quarterfinals that Thomas wasn’t quite where he was earlier in the regular season. The rebounds were big, and the Habs were game-planning around them. Since then, the B’s netminder has played to the lights-out standard he set way back in October. The line of thinking back then was that if the Bruins could get that kind of performance in the postseason, they’d be tough to beat. Well, they’ve gotten that performance, and they sure are tough to beat.
As Brad Marchand pointed out after Game 2, the Bruins had no business winning that game. The Flyers came out harder, played a fantastic game and got 54 shots on Thomas. Yet Thomas was the exception to the rule that if a team can come out flying at home, they should win.
Consider that James van Riemsdyk, who had two goals in the first 9:31 of Game 2 but was stopped on his following bids, should have had even more than the hat trick he didn’t get (we make too many Ovechtrick jokes in this space, explaining the absence of an obvious reference here), but Thomas shut him down on a night nobody else could. Regardless of what an opposing team can throw out there, it seems Thomas, when at his best, trumps all. He may not have the numbers from the first month of the season, but he is playing like it and giving the B’s a great chance to win each night.
Wednesday, it will be interesting to see how each team comes out. The Flyers should be desperate to avoid a 3-0 deficit, but it would be hard to top the effort they gave in Game 2. The Bruins should come out stronger if they don’t want to leave it up to their goaltender again. Even if it does fall in Thomas’ hands, he proved in Game 2 that he can handle it.
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The Bruins and Flyers are back in Boston for Game 3 tonight at TD Garden (7 p.m.) and there’s no extended wait between Games 2 and 3 like there is with the Celtics and Heat. And that’s probably a good thing on many levels for the Bruins.
There’s little time to think about being up two games in the series, having dominated the Flyers in pretty much every aspect of the game – except the power play, of course. There’s little time to answer questions about what it’s like being on the flip side of the 2-0 equation just one series after wiping out the deficit and beating the Canadiens in seven games.
These Bruins aren’t about to complain about being up two games despite losing to the Flyers in a similar position last year and overcoming the 0-2 hole in the last round.
‘Well it’s good to be on the other side this round,” Game 2 hero David Krejci said. “We can control our own things and bring it back to our building. We are going to use our fans as our seventh player and just go out there and take it game by game. Hopefully we can win the third one and go from there.’
‘Like Dave said, it’s better to be on this end,” added Tim Thomas, who stopped 52 of 54 shots Monday, including all 10 in OT. “We do know from the way that we were able to come back last series though that a 2-0 lead in a series doesn’t mean that the series is over. We still have a lot of work in front of us. As long as we take the same approach one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time I think that’s the right approach. So that’s the way we will approach it going forward.’
2010 met 2011 in the post-game following Game 2 when a reporter asked Bruins coach Claude Julien if he realizes how tenuous a two-game lead can be. Sure, it’s a great spot to be in heading home but the Bruins know what the Canadiens did.
‘Well, you know, it is a nice position to be in, especially when you win the first two on the road,” Julien said. “There is no doubt that it is the perfect scenario for the first two games on the road, but we are not thinking about that. We are thinking about this year. Probably half the players were not even here last year, so we can bring up whatever we want. Our goal here is to focus on what is happening this year. What happened last year is last year, so it hasn’t really been on our minds. We have absolutely learned from that. We are using those kinds of things as a learning tool.
‘They took a two to nothing lead and we never gave up. I believe teams that make is this far are teams that have a lot of character. We know they are not going to give up, and we know has what happened with this team. They are capable of bouncing back just as they did in the last round, so we have to be ready for them. We need to understand that the second half of tonight’s game was not good enough for this hockey club. We hold ourselves responsible for higher standards, and we are going to have to be better.’
|David Krejci wins it for Bruins in OT||05.02.11 at 10:42 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — It took some extra time and some extra nail-biting, but the Bruins grabbed a 2-0 series lead over the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday thanks to a 3-2 overtime victory. David Krejci scored the game-winner at 14:00 of the first overtime period. It was Krejci’s third goal the last two games, and the Bruins’ fourth overtime victory this postseason.
The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes thanks to a pair of goals from James van Riemsdyk. The 21-year old beat Tim Thomas 29 seconds into the contest to give the Flyers the lead, and he followed it at 9:31 with a power play goal.
The B’s would come roaring back, as Chris Kelly put a puck past Brian Boucher with traffic in front of the net at 12:50, with Brad Marchand scoring 1:25 later. The teams played to a scoreless second period, though Boucher would leave with an apparent hand injury after from a Johnny Boychuk slap shot. Boucher was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky for the remainder of the period, but would return in the third and play the rest of the game.
Thomas made 42 saves in regulation, while Boucher stopped 28. Bobrovsky saved all six shots he saw.
The teams will now head to Boston, where they will play Games 3 and 4 at TD Garden on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins have trailed by multiple goals on the road twice this postseason, and have come back to tie it in both instances. The B’s trailed by a pair in the second period of Game 4 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens and went on to win the game in overtime, and once they got going, they needed less than three minutes to come back from the Flyers’ 2-0 lead in the first period.
– This is some start to the series for Marchand. After totaling an impressive five points in the Montreal series, the rookie has four points, including three goals, in the first two contests of the quarterfinals. His goal on Monday was a big one, as his snipe on a wrist shot in the first period tied the game at two. He did have one of the occasional moments that comes with his play when he took a cross-checking penalty 3:21 into the third period.
– Chris Kelly can say he hates his cage all he wants, but the fact of the matter is that he’s had six points in six games since first donning in in Game 4 of the quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens. It’s either a good-luck charm or perhaps there’s far more to Kelly than was initially seen when the B’s traded for him in February.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Adam McQuaid left the game in the first period and did not return. The rookie defenseman went to hit Mike Richards in the Boston zone, but it seem his stick hit Richards’ skate, causing him to trip over it and go head-first into the boards. He was taken to Jefferson Hospital for evaluation. If he is unable to play in Game 3, you can expect Shane Hnidy ‘ unless Steve Kampfer is ready to return.
– The Flyers really applied the pressure in the third period, with 22 shots begin fired on Tim Thomas. Luckily for the Bruins, their netminder was up for the challenge and shut down many serious bids from Philadelphia. The B’s had seven shots in the third period.
– JVR has been a thorn in Boston’s side, and there’s no question about it. The 21-year-old New Jersey native has scored three goals in the first two games of the series, even after Thomas stoned him on a 2-on-1 with Nikolay Zherdev in Game 1. The UNH product has now scored in four straight games, and three straight playoff games against the Bruins. He had the goal late in the first period of Game 7 against the B’s that started the Flyers’ comeback.
The flashy play from van Riemsdyk wasn’t limited to just his scoring. He had a boat-load of opportunities for the Flyers Monday on a night in which he was clearly the best player on the ice. Among his chances was a breakaway in which he missed the net with Dennis Seidenberg giving chase.
– Speaking of defensemen, Zdeno Chara most definitely gave Danny Briere a little extra something in front of the Bruins’ bench with 2:39 remaining in the game, going off for roughing and giving the Flyers a big power play at the wrong time.
|Patrice Bergeron knows Flyers ‘will bounce back’||04.30.11 at 7:02 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins began the Eastern Conference semifinals by lighting up Brian Boucher and the Flyers to the tune of a 7-3 Boston victory Saturday. Boucher allowed five goals before being pulled in the second period, and though it marked the fourth time this postseason that the Flyers have had to make a goaltending change mid-game, the Bruins know better than to expect things to come that easy.
“Philly’s known for their comebacks, even within games, so you’ve always got to be on your toes,” Tim Thomas, who gave up three goals on the other end, said after the contest.
With the victory, the Bruins lead the series, 1-0, but won’t get ahead of themselves. The B’s had a 3-0 series lead a season ago before the Flyers won the final four contests to eliminate Boston.
“It’s only one game, and yeah, they will bounce back,” Patrice Bergeron, who had three assists in the victory, said. “We’re going to make sure we’re ready for that.”
Game 2 will be played Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.
|David Krejci, Bruins beat Flyers in Game 1||at 5:54 pm ET|
PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins began the Eastern Conference semifinals on a positive note, chasing Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher in the second period and taking a 7-3 victory at Wells Fargo Center Saturday.
David Krejci and Brad Marchand each had a pair of goals, with Nathan Horton, Mark Recchi and Gregory Campbell picking up tallies for the Bruins. The first five of the Bruins’ goals came against Boucher, who was pulled at 17:14 of the second period after allowing Marchand’s first goal. The rookie winger picked up his second of the night by beating Sergei Bobrovsky at 14:59 of the third, and Campbell scored his first career playoff goal at 17:39.
The teams will play Game 2 in Philadelphia on Monday before heading to Boston to play Games 3 and 4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Things sure are pretty when the first line gets first-line results. Krejci had just one point — his Game 3 goal — in the seven-game series vs. the Canadiens, and his four-point performance went a long way for the B’s Saturday. The B’s are still waiting to get more out of Milan Lucic, who did not have a point on the day, but his linemates certainly cashed in. Horton now leads the team with four postseason goals.
– The Flyers got some rough goaltending out of Boucher, and that’s obviously something the Bruins would welcome as a series-long trend. Boucher allowed five goals on 23 shots before being yanked, and some of the Bruins’ goals were very soft. Recchi got his own rebound before letting an easy one trickle underneath Boucher for Boston’s third goal, while Boucher knocked Horton’s goal into his own net while trying to stop it. Some goals, such as Krejci’s second, came as the result of traffic in front of the net, but it was just a bad showing for Boucher for the most part.
Saturday’s contest marked the fourth time in eight games this postseason that the Flyers have changed goalies during a game. Goaltending was an interesting topic before the series given that the B’s hold the clear advantage, so we’ll see if suspect Philadelphia netminding ends up playing a bigger role than we may have initially thought.
– The success continues for Patrice Bergeron. The second-line center was Boston’s best player in the conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens, and he had three assists on Saturday. The 25-year-old made a very nice play in redirecting an Andrew Ference shot from the point that would lead to Marchand’s goal off a rebound.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Pretty soon we’re going to have to change it to “What went wrong (aside from the power play not scoring) for the Bruins.” The B’s couldn’t bury one on any of their power plays, even when a shaky Boucher was in net for the first three. They finished 0-for-5 on the night and are now 0-for-26 in the playoffs. Yeesh.
– Sure, it was 5-1 at the time, but the Bruins allowed James van Riemsdyk’s second-period tally at a dicey time. Marchand had scored 16 seconds earlier to chase Boucher from the game, so the goalie change followed by the quick goal could have given Philadelphia a bit of a spark had they kept it up. Fortunately for the Bruins, they didn’t.
– Saturday marked only the second time since Game 2 of the first round that Chris Kelly’s line failed to produce a point. Peverley had a three shots on goal, but Ryder and Kelly combined for just one on the day. Kelly’s line was very good for the Bruins after the first couple games vs. Montreal, and the Bruins can only hope they get big production once again this round.
– The Bruins took four power plays in the first 13 minutes of the third period, and it finally paid off when Mike Richards ripped a wrist-shot past Thomas with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest. Sure, both teams in this series have bad power plays, but the B’s can’t assume the Flyers’ is as bad as theirs.