Close your eyes with me.
OK, the leaves are on the trees and the sun is shining. The sun is a warm, almost hot, 68 degrees for Boston. It’s playoff hockey and the Bruins are hosting the Flyers in Game 7 of the Conference Quarter Finals. What a night for hockey…a Friday night too. Do you have the picture in your mind?
If anyone ever tells you a hockey game needs five or six goals to make it interesting, put in tonight’s tape. Tonight had it all – intensity, hitting, timely goals and even a cheap shot to get the hatred going between the cities. It had a playoff feel to it for mid December.
The first period flew by as the teams ramped up the intensity but it was the goaltenders that had the upper hand. The Flyers killed the only penalty of the period and outshot the B’s 10-9.
The “playoff like” play continued throughout the middle period. Then it got a bit ugly. On an icing play, Flyers forward Jodi Shelly nudged Adam McQuaid just enough as he was closing on the net. McQuiad lost his balance and went into the end boards and stayed down on the ice for a couple minutes. McQuiad did get his arms up prior to hitting the end boards preventing a potential serious head injury. Shelley got a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for the hit but for all he did “wrong” and McQuaid said he apologized on the ice and waited for him as he went to te dressing room to apologize. McQuaid said after the game, ‘Yeah, when I was coming off the ice, he was waiting for me there. He said he was sorry and he didn’t mean to, so just kind of got to take what he says.”
With 1:21 remaining in the middle period, the Flyers executed a perfect three on two break in the Bruins zone. Claude Giroux found James van Riemsdyk in the slot and his wrist shot beat Tim Thomas over the glove side for a late 1-0 lead. The key to the goal was Braydon Colburn driving to the net on the 3 on 2 break. By his work going to the net, he created the space for van Riemsdyk to fill in and beat Thomas. Thomas was disappointed for not making that save, “I saw it, I knew going glove, but then I never got to see it again. It hit off my glove and went in.”
In the third period the Bruins came out of the locker room and outplayed the Flyers from the drop of the puck. The result was a Nathan Horton goal about half way through the period. The Captain made a pinch at the blueline to keep the puck in the zone. The B’s were all over Philly, not allowing them to get full control of the puck when David Krejci slid a pass to Horton in the slot and his wrist shot beat Boucher over the glove. Boucher gave Horton a look as if he was wondering how he got the shot up so quickly.
I thought Philly controlled the OT period. With the extra ice, the Flyers seemed to use their left wing to attack the Bruins defense. I counted them going to that wing four times in the OT only to be stymied by Thomas every time. As it looked like the game was going to a gimmick, Marc Savard’s drop pass to no one sent Mike Richards down the right wing alone against Dennis Seidenberg. Richards slowed down allowing two more Flyers to jump into the play forcing Seidenberg to cover the middle of the ice and let Thomas take the shooter. Richards looked off the two Bruins and ripped a wrist shot to end it with only 3 seconds left in the OT.
Savard took the full blame for his unusually bad pass. “…I just threw it back to the point and obviously, it was my fault there. Johnny [Boychuk] had gone down the net and I just thought [Dennis] Seidenberg was back there and he was in the middle more, so I just made a bad play, that’s all.” Thomas had bailed the boys out all night but not this time. “[he had] Just so much time and you know. When he did shoot he got it off really quick. He didn’t telegraph it, let’s put it that way.”
So the Bruins took 5 out of 6 points on the three game home stand and for the most part, the team was happy about that. The penalty kill was a perfect 1-1 tonight but the power play was disappointing. To not score on a 5 minute major when they could have possibly put the Flyers away was critical.
The kids on the blueline (McQuaid and Steve Kampfer) were impressive.
As I said prior to the puck dropping, Marco Sturm was traded today pending his physical. He is going to the Los Angeles Kings. Be sure to look for Eric Cooney’s take on this situation. As well as some interesting quotes from Peter Chiarelli and some of Sturm’s now ex-teammates
The Bruins have games in Buffalo (Wednesday) and Montreal on Thursday this week before coming home to play the Capitals in Boston next Saturday.
Open your eyes now because the B’s hosted the Flyers tonight. It was the first time Philly was in Boston since that fateful night last May. It’s really December and the only thing that’s at 68 degrees it the thermometer in your living room.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mulligan