Going into the evening, the Boston Bruins were only one of two teams to have a perfect record at home during these 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Considering their lack of success at home this season, the team is making these playoffs the right time to make the TD Garden a tough place for opponents to come to. Facing what would be a desperate Flyer team, it was mandantory the B’s continue their success on home ice.
Early on, I thought it was the Flyers that had better jump and they came out very chippy. Carcillo and Thornton were seen yapping at each other within the first minute. Carcillo laid into Steve Begin with a clean hit later in the period and Begin responding with a high stick creating a Philly power play.
Fortunately for the Bruins, it was a Johnny Boychuk wrist shot off a faceoff giving the B’s an early 1-0 lead. For Flyers starter, Brian Boucher, it was a tough night as he probably should have had the Boychuk drive and the eventual game winner late in the third period.
The big problem(s) I see with the B’s is the fact they are either chasing the lead like they were in the Buffalo series or they aren’t able to hold the lead like this series. In game one of this series, the Bruins lost a 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 leads. Tonight, it was 1-0 and 2-1 leads.
With 2:54 remaining in the first period after a good forecheck, Mike Richards was allowed to skate from behind the net to the top of the circle. A nice pick by Daniel Briere slowed Vlad Sobotka’s pursuit and once Richard’s was free, he ripped a wrist shot past Rask to tie things up. There was a good screen in front of Rask as well.
Both Flyer goals were in the later moments of the period. At some point starting from behind or not able to close out a game (or series) could come back to haunt them. The root of these problems is the fact at times they don’t move the puck out of their zone with any efficiency. On the first Flyer goal, Matt Hunwick and Dennis Wideman had all kinds of difficulties moving the puck out of the zone. “…the first one, twice we should have had the puck out of our own end.” said B’s coach Julien. ”If we want to battle for loose pucks, better in the neutral zone than in our own end, and that’s where we got ourselves in trouble. Definitely for a team that takes some pride in being good defensively, I think our game without the puck can be a little better.”
Both teams traded goals in the second period. Miroslav Satan has taken the torch from Mark Recchi with timely scoring. The Bruins had a great cycle going and then Dennis Wideman hit Blake Wheeler coming off the bench. Wheeler found Satan curling in the slot and his wrist shot beat Boucher far side for another Bruin lead.
It looked like the Bruins would be going into the room with a lead when Briere was sent to the box for hooking with only 2:42 remaining. The Flyers killed that penalty and once Briere stepped out of the box, Ville Leino rushed over the Bruin blueline and dropped the puck to Briere. He fought the check from Satan and put a perfect shot over Tuukka’s shoulder to the far side setting up the heroics of the third period.
The Flyers did everything they could in the third period to give the game to the Bruins. Taking two penalties a couple minutes apart took away their momentum they were building, turning the tide back towards the B’s. With the Krejci line going strong on the forecheck, David Krejci’s pass to Milan Lucic was tipped straight up in the air. Looch was the first to find it, boxed out the defender, turned and found the far corner with only 2:57 left.
Rhode Island native, Brian Boucher, was clearly disappointed with that final goal. “I didn’t pick it up right away. I was a little deep in the net.” said Boucher. “It was above my pad and below my blocker in a tough spot for me to get. I wish I could have picked it up a little sooner.”
Obviously, timely goaltending is a huge key in the playoffs and Boucher is just not giving the Flyers enough of it. Having said that, both these games have been so tight that either game could have gone to the Flyers.
Chris Pronger saved a sure goal from Daniel Paille when he got enough of his stick on Paille’s empty net attempt.
Game 3 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia. By the way, the other undefeated team in the playoffs. These Philadelphia Flyers have a 2-0 home playoff record.
Please see Joshua Bartle’s views of today’s game and of the series here.
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Written by Jim Mulligan