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The Bruins were finally able to do what they couldn't do in last year's semifinal series against the Philadelphia Flyers: win a clinching game. Boston powered past Philly, 5-1, in Game 4 to finish off the sweep.
Unlike last season, when Philadelphia came back from an 0-3 series deficit to win the series over Boston, the Flyers didn't appear to put up a fight right from the start, according to Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.
"The other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You're in your building and we don't play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn't get a win. We didn't get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity." (via WEEI)
This is the second time the Bruins have swept the Flyers out of the playoffs, also doing so in 1977.
Patrice Bergeron suffered an undisclosed injury following a hit from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux with 17:30 left in the third period of the Boston Bruins' 5-1 win in Game 4, completing a four-game sweep of the Flyers.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien didn't have any updates on Bergeron's condition following the game.
"I don't know. I have no update for you guys right now," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Basically, I can't give you anything more than that."
Team officials did not release any update on Bergeron's condition after the game, but that didn't stop some from speculating. Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com writes about one injury possibility that no one wants to hear: concussion.
While the Bruins didn't release any information on the particulars of the injury, it appeared that Giroux's shoulder made contact with Bergeron's head. Bergeron slowly skated off the ice on his own power to finish his shift but didn't return.
Bergeron had three shots on goal and registered two hits and a plus/minus of minus-1.
Milan Lucic awoke from his postseason offensive slumber and Johnny Boychuk netted the game-winning goal minutes into the third period to sweep the Bruins’ 357-day old demons - and the Philadelphia Flyers along with them - away.
Sergei Bobrovsky stood tall against some strong Bruins' shifts, and got luck to side with him, as Boston missed on a couple surefire chances to polish off the Flyers. Just under four minutes in, Daniel Paille had a chance on a turnover in the Flyers' zone, but missed the net left despite beating Bobrovsky to the side of the net. Some five minutes later, Rich Peverley had a chance in the midst of the game's best shift by his line, getting Bobrovsky down and deking him out, but Peverley had trouble settling the puck and put it into the apron.
After Scott Hartnell threw an ill-advised elbow at David Krejci near the Bruins' bench, Milan Lucic came over to settle things with his stick, and both went to the sin bin. On the ensuing four-on-four, the Bruins struggled to possess the puck in the attacking zone, and Mike Richards got behind the Bruins defense and found Kris Versteeg, who beat Tim Thomas glove-side high to even the game up.
Things got sloppy at the end of the period, with the Flyers taking a couple of careless penalties. After Daniel Briere's holding penalty against Chris Kelly, the Bs will have 1:37 of power play time to start the third period and get their lead back.
The Bruins have been getting a lot of monkeys off their backs in the first two rounds of these Stanley Cup Playoffs. The trend continued in the first period Friday night at TD Garden as Milan Lucic - the team's lone 30-goal scorer who was yet to notch a marker in 10 playoff games - gathered a bad Sergei Bobrovsky rebound off a Nathan Horton shot and promptly deposited it in the back of the net.
The Bruins power play, which had come up empty save for a garbage 5-on-3 goal in the waning minutes of Wednesday's 5-1 domination of the Flyers, gave the team its first real lift with that goal. After another unsuccessful power play later in the period, the Bruins are now 2-for-34 with the man advantage this postseason.
Lucic's goal pushed the Black and Gold to the next level that they'd struggled to find in the first ten minutes of the game, as the Bruins dominated the pace of play the rest of the period.
Peter LaViolette has made a name for himself switching goaltenders mid-game in this series, but don't expect Brian Boucher in the second for the Flyers; Bobrovsky turned away 13 other Bruins offerings and looked pretty comfortable between the pipes. His team was unable to find any offensive rhythm, however, generating only 6 shots in the frame.
The last of those shots generated some fireworks, however, as Scott Hartnell went to the net and wouldn't let up. He was removed forcibly by Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who threw one punch at Hartnell before the Flyer turtled. Hartnell got two minutes for roughing, and Chara received a double-minor for roughing.
The physicality is something that Bruins fans have clamored for from Number 33, and he was rewarded for his efforts by chants of "Cha-ra!" ringing down from the rafters.
The Flyers will start the second period with 1:53 of man-advantage time, as Shawn Thornton serves Chara's second minor.
Ever since the Boston Bruins absolutely decimated the Philadelphia Flyers in game three of their Eastern Conference semi-final series to take a commanding 3-0 series lead, anybody with an internet connection has suddenly become a historian.
Yes, history is repeating itself - last year, through three games in the Eastern Conference semis, the Bruins held a commanding 3-0 series lead, only to watch their goaltending struggle, their offense fade and their Stanley Cup hopes die as these same Flyers won the next four games, including coming back from a three-goal first period deficit in game seven to win the series.
Only, these aren't the same Flyers. Philadelphia doesn't have last year's Game 4 hero Claude Giroux, they may or may not have their top defenseman in Chris Pronger and they have Jeff Carter only operating on one good wheel. Not to mention, they don't have a surprisingly hot Michael Leighton in net, and Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky aren't exactly the Edge and Christian of tag-team goaltending tandems.
And these definitely aren't the same Bruins. B's fans favorite target Dennis Wideman is long gone, replaced by a suddenly hot Nathan Horton and always-reliable Gregory Campbell. The young Tuukka Rask isn't in net, and although Tim Thomas may be 13 years older than Rask, he's not shown any signs of wearing down, having allowed only one goal in the past 125 minutes of playoff hockey. A less-than-fifty-percent Marc Savard is - regrettably - nowhere to be seen, as are Trent Whitfield, Vladimir Sobotka, Byron Bitz and scores of other 2010 goats.
Dennis Seidenberg, who wasn't available in last year's postseason because of an arm injury, has revealed himself as a monster, logging over 25 minutes of ice time and blocking shots just as well as he's ever done. alongside him, captain Zdeno Chara has been a physical force, getting into the offense with three points Wednesday night and getting into the faces of any Flyers who care to make a run at Thomas. Patrice Bergeron has been quietly strong all series, playing great two-way hockey and making his linemates better in the process. The Black and Gold are now 12-0-1 in their last 13 games against the Flyers with number-one pivot David Krejci in the lineup, and Krejci's put up eight points in three games of this series, including the game-winning goal in each game of the series. Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly continue to prove why they were brought in at the trade deadline, bringing a speed game that's really worn down Philadelphia's defense and swiss cheese goaltending. And Brad Marchand continues to prove why he shouldn't have been snubbed in Calder Trophy voting.
It's safe to say that Marchand doesn't care much for the Calder, though; he and the Bruins both have their eyes set on a much bigger trophy. They all know about last year, but nobody in the room is fearing the worst; as Marchand says, "we're writing our own new chapter."
The Bruins have looked very good in the past two weeks; Boston has won seven of their last eight playoff games, averaging nearly four goals per game and allowing just over two goals in that period. 21 of their goals in the postseason have come from players who weren't on the Bruins' roster in games four through seven against the Flyers last year, and ten of the team's 12 goals scored in the third period or later have been scored by skaters who weren't donning Black and Gold sweaters at the end of last year's Flyers series.
The power play is still an area of concern - one goal in 32 chances isn't a very good percentage, and that one was a garbage-time goal in a two-minute five-on-three power play at the very end of the third period of Wednesday's blowout, anyway - but it's a concern for both teams at this point, and the Bruins haven't found much trouble scoring at even strength, which is where they plan on playing most of their game.
Bruins' head coach Claude Julien, when asked if he was happy with where the Bruins are at right now, responded succinctly: "We are never happy."
Julien knows what's behind, but he also knows what is - and what could be - ahead. Heading into game four, none of the statistics matter, none of the past performances mean a thing. What matters is only that his team goes out and does it.
"To finish off a team, you need your best game of the series and that is what we are going to need Friday."
The Boston Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 1:01 and cruised to a 5-1 win in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night. Zdeno Chara had two goals and an assist, David Krejci added a goal and two assists and Tim Thomas made 37 saves to help give the Bruins a 3-0 series lead. Of course, Boston has been here before.
It was just one year ago that the Bruins took a 3-0 series on the Flyers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs only to see that lead evaporate as Philly became just the third team in NHL history to come all the way back from a 0-3 deficit.
"Obviously the toughest win to get is the fourth win, so we've got to make sure we're ready on Friday. We're happy with tonight's game, but we can't get too high in the playoffs. We're going to celebrate tonight, but we're going to get right back to work tomorrow and make sure we work Friday, because Philly is not going to quit. They're a great team, and they're going to be there to bounce back on Friday. So we better make sure we're ready for that."
Zdeno Chara had two goals and an assist, David Krejci added a goal and two assists and Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist to give Boston a 5-1 win and a 3-0 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Bruins were in nearly the same situation in last year's conference semifinal series after winning the first two games at home and taking Game 3 in Philadelphia.
However, the Bruins went on to lose the next three games and blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7 to become just the third team in NHL history to drop a seven-game series after going up three games to none.
The Bruins will look to exorcise last year's demons Friday in Game 4 in Boston, and can do so with another strong performance from goaltender Tim Thomas, who stopped 37 shots Wednesday.
"I think we all feel pretty good about our game right now and confident," said Boston forward Daniel Paille, who had a goal in the game. "So the main thing for us is not to get too high and stay focused."
Andrej Meszaros scored the lone goal for the Flyers, who pulled their starting goaltender for the fifth time in 10 playoff games.
Brian Boucher started between the pipes and was blitzed for two goals in the first 63 seconds. He wound up allowing four goals on 20 shots before being pulled just over 15 minutes into the second. Sergei Bobrovsky finished the game in net and stopped 7-of-8 shots.
The Bruins came out with the blitz and scored twice in 63 seconds to take a lead they never relinquished.
The first goal came at the 30 second mark as quick work in the Philly end resulted in a backhand pass behind the left side of the net to the front where Chara blasted it home for his first goal of the playoffs.
Moments later, a behind the back pass from Milan Lucic in the low right boards to the front saw Krejci one-time the puck home for a 2-0 lead.
"Yeah, it's not the start that we envisioned and you know you want to get off to a good start and it didn't happen today," said Boucher.
Thomas stopped 12 shots in the first period.
Boston made it a 3-0 contest at the 13:39 mark of the second as a transition play saw Greg Campbell send a pass from the right to the left and Paille snap a shot into the right corner of the net.
Just under two minutes later, Horton skated through the middle and over to the inside right circle before slipping a shot between the pads of Boucher, who was pulled from the net and replaced by Bobrovsky.
Philly got on the board with 3:34 to play in the second on Meszaros' second goal of the playoffs, a wrister from down low at the left side.
Thomas, though, stopped 12 shots in the final period as Philly was unable to cut any further into its deficit.
To add insult to injury, Boston scored on a 5-on-3 power play with 1:22 to play when Chara's one-time blast from the top of the left circle sailed into the net.
It was the first time in the playoffs that Boston had scored on the man advantage. The team came into Game 3 0-for-28 on the power play in its previous nine contests this postseason.
Chara was plus-four in the contest...It was the quickest two goals to start a game in Boston playoff history. Also, it was the fastest two goals allowed by the Flyers to start a playoff game...Boston hasn't reached the conference finals since 1992...Philadelphia defenseman Chris Pronger sat out for a second straight game while forward Jeff Carter returned after missing the final three games of the first round the first two games of this series with a knee injury.
The Boston Bruins will look to take a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night at TD Garden (7 p.m. Versus). Of course, that's all-too-familiar territory for the Bruins and Flyers.
It was only last year Philly came all the way back to win four straight to become just the third team in NHL history to win a series after going down 3-0. More ominous news for the Bruins: the Bruins have lost seven best-of-seven series after taking the first two games, including last year's collapse. In fact, their series win over the Montreal Canadiens in this year's quarterfinal was the first time Boston had ever overcome a 2-0 deficit.
So consider Wednesday night, and this series, their shot at redemption -- with two wins, they can put an end to any chances of another comeback, and an end to the Flyers' season.
"Yeah, it's great to come in and get the two wins but we are far from done," said [Chris] Kelly. "Obviously, Montreal did this same thing to us and we know they are going to come hard in Boston."
Brian Boucher, despite getting pulled in Game 1 and suffering a hand injury in Game 2, is expected in net for the Flyers. Although Boston is just two wins away from reaching the conference finals for the first time since 1992, the Bruins have still yet to record a power-play goal in these playoffs. Boston was 0-for-2 with the man advantage on Monday and has failed to score on 28 power-play chances in nine games.
They needed overtime and an amazing 52 save (!) from Tim Thomas, but the Boston Bruins won another game on the road Monday night, beating the Philadelphia Flyers in OT, 3-2, to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The game-winning goal came 14:0 into the extra time, and it took a bit before the Bruins had even learned they officially won.
David Krejci's one-time on a pass from Nathan Horton rocketed past Sergei Bobrovsky, but the immediate ruling was that the puck had hit the back pipe.
The goal was initially waved off, but at the next whistle the play was reviewed. Replay showed the puck hit the rear brace of the net before ricocheting back into play, giving Boston the win and a 2-0 lead in the best- of-seven series.
James van Riemsdyk had both goals for the Flyers, who fell to 2-4 at home in these playoffs.
Brian Boucher left in the second period with an apparent hand injury, but came back for the third and played the rest of the game. He allowed all three goals on 35 shots while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all six shots he faced in nearly nine minutes of action in the middle session.
The series shifts to Boston for Game 3, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
There likely isn't much sweeter news for the Boston Bruins, who put five goals past Boucher in the first 38 minutes of game one on Saturday, finishing with two more against rookie Sergei Bobrovsky en route to a 7-3 triumph over the Flyers.
The Bruins know it won't be as easy the second time around, however. Philadelphia - whether or not they have an injured Chris Pronger, who's a game-time decision with a nagging hand injury - will surely tighten their defense up and not let David Krejci and Brad Marchand put together the type of nights they had in game one. Krejci had two goals and two assists in the game, and Marchand had two goals - perhaps the biggest of the game that made it 6-3 after a mid-period Flyers surge - and an apple to boot, drawing a couple key penalties on the Flyers' blue-liners.
The Black and Gold came into game one after a seven-game series win over Montreal in which they were forced to skate more and harder than they had all season long, and that approach carried over into game one against a Philadelphia team that's just not quick enough to keep up with the Bruins at top-speed. But coach Claude Julien isn't counting on a game one redux:
"Absolutely not, I don’t think we are hanging our hat on [the Flyers changing goaltenders in game one]. We are hanging our hat, I keep saying it, on how we are going to handle our own situation and that’s what is important right now."
Julien also noted that his team wasn't visibly affected by the news that Osama bin Laden was killed over the weekend by U.S. Navy SEALS. "Our guys this morning seemed fine...if one team is going through it, I’m sure the other team is as well."
Players to watch for the Bruins are Dennis Seidenberg, who was a force in game one, with two assists and a plus-four rating and Marchand again, who had no trouble creating space and getting to the net on Saturday. In addition, look for a big showing from the Bruins' third line, which was held point-less in game one.
For the Flyers, look for continued strong performances from Daniel Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux. But if the Broad Street Bullies want to head to Boston with the series tied, the real superstar is going to need to be Boucher.
David Krejci has bad memories from last season's playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers, and it's not just because the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead. Krejci broke his wrist in Game 3 of the series, a 4-1 win for Boston, and was sidelined for the remainder of the series.
Krejci hasn't forgotten the injury, and according to him, neither have the Flyers.
"The guys from the other team, they let me know in the first period about last year," Krejci said. "But I tried to forget about those things. This is a new year, new season, new series. We have so many new players on our team. Half of the guys didn't even experience it last year so we didn't talk about it that much."
Krejci led the way for the Bruins' in their strong 7-3 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday afternoon, finishing with two goals and two assists.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - David Krejci led the way with two goals and two assists as Boston scored three times in the second period and rolled to a 7-3 victory over Philadelphia in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal set.
"Each game you have to do it again. What you've done in the past doesn't matter. The next game starts over," Thomas said about his club's good fortune to start a playoff series on the road.
Brian Boucher, who was heralded for winning all four games of his club's first-round series with Buffalo despite constant uncertainty in net, was shelled for five goals on 23 shots.
"As a goaltender, I'm responsible for stopping the puck," Boucher said. "It's always a wake up call to come out. It seems to be one of the last things coaches can do, instead of yelling at the guys or taking a timeout. That's the way it goes."
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two scores on 10 shots in relief.
Game 2 is slated for Monday in Philadelphia.
Ahead 2-1 after one, the Bruins increased their lead when Recchi followed up his own rebound in the right circle and pushed it through Boucher's pads at 2:33 of the second period.
Philly killed off two penalties in succession, but wasted two straight power- play chances. Krejci then redirected an Adam McQuaid shot out of the air for a 4-1 Bruins edge with 4:34 to play in the second.
Boucher was finally pulled after Marchand scored with 2:46 left, but 16 seconds after Bobrovsky took over, van Riemsdyk ripped a shot home from the left circle.
After wasting a brief two-man edge on the back end of the midway point of the third period, the Flyers crept within 5-3 on a one-man advantage as the clock ticked under seven minutes left when Richards roofed a shot from the slot.
"Well they definitely play a high pressure game," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg -- a former Flyer -- about Philly's up-tempo system. "For the most part we handled it all right, but there is still a lot to do."
A turnover in front of Bobrovsky became Boston's sixth goal when Patrice Bergeron pushed the puck ahead and Marchand swept in the proceeds from the right side with 5:01 to play.
"Right now pucks are going in and we're getting some lucky bounces and stuff, but it's not always going to be like that," Marchand admitted.
Campbell finished off the rout on a redirection from a Krejci pass at 17:39.
"I don't think anybody in here is happy with the way we played this afternoon. Everybody could have been better. You can't blame just the goalies or just the defensemen," said Briere. "I think all their lines gave us trouble, to be honest. We didn't compete against anybody. We let them get ahead of us in an area they are strong at, which is getting to the net. We got outworked, and they were able to find the rebounds."
Krejci helped his club gain the early edge, intercepting a long shot from Horton and moving around Boucher for a score just 1:52 into the contest.
During a 4-on-4 situation, the Flyers tied the game. Ville Leino left a drop pass at the blue line on the left wing for Braydon Coburn, who fed to the front, where Briere corralled the bouncing puck, turned and fired past Thomas at 11:02.
Boston took a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the first, when Boucher was unable to glove Horton's second-chance rebound from inside the crease.
This is the sixth all-time playoff meeting between the clubs...Philadelphia has won three (1974, 1976, 2010) and Boston has taken two (1977, 1978)...The seven goals were the most scored against the Flyers in a home playoff game since a 7-1 series-ending loss to Buffalo in Game 6 of the Eastern quarterfinals on May 2, 2006...The Bruins last put up seven in a postseason tilt on May 10, 1988 during a 7-1 win over New Jersey in Game 5 of the Wales Conference finals...Bergeron finished with three assists for Boston, and Seidenberg added two helpers for the road team...Claude Giroux posted two assists for Philly.
The taste of an embarrassing collapse at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers is still fresh in the mouths of Boston Bruins fans. Leading 3-0 in a best of seven semifinals series, the Bruins collapsed and lost four straight games against the Flyers, marking the third time in NHL history that a team has come back from down 3-0.
Boston begins its quest towards redemption as it faces Philadelphia in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. EDT (TV/Radio: NBC/WBZ-FM).
The Bruins enter the series coming off a thrilling seven-game series with the hated Montreal Canadiens. Nathan Horton scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 to send the Bruins to the second round.
As for Philadelphia, it is also coming off of a seven-game series with the Buffalo Sabres. The Flyers coasted past the Sabres, 5-2, in the decisive game of the series on Tuesday night.
Tim Thomas wasn't spectacular for the Bruins in the series against the Canadiens, but he wasn't bad either. Thomas made 212 saves while allowing 17 goals in the series.
The goaltending has been less consistent for the Flyers, who used three goalies in their first round playoff series. In fact, Philadelphia became the first team in 23 years to win a playoff series while starting at least three different goalies.
Brian Boucher played in six games and started four for Philadelphia in net, making 141 saves while allowing 10 goals. Sergei Bobrovsky started two games, making 28 saves on 32 shots, and Michael Leighton stopped 25 of 29 shots in one start and two games.
Following Game 1, the Flyers will host the Bruins in Game 2 on Monday night. Philadelphia is 22-12-7 at home this season and was 2-2 at home in the first round of the playoffs. Boston was 24-12-5 on the road and 2-1 on the road in Montreal in the playoffs.
The temperatures are rising, and so, once again, are the expectations on Causeway Street. Is the third straight trip to the conference semi-finals truly a charm? We'll begin to find out when the Bruins and Flyers drop the puck on Saturday in Game 1, but our Ryan Durling says, we'll probably won't have an answer until Game 7.
With Wednesday night's overtime winning goal from Nathan Horton (watch it here if you haven't already), the Boston Bruins not only eliminated the Montreal Canadiens in a Game 7, but they also booked their ticket to the second of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The NHL released the complete playoff schedule for the second round, where the Bruins will face the Philadelphia Flyers in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The complete Bruins-Flyers series schedule:
No. 2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 3 Boston Bruins
Game 1: Bruins at Flyers, Sat., April 30, 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC/CBC)
Game 2: Bruins at Flyers, Mon., May 2, 7:30 p.m. ET (VERSUS/TSN)
Game 3: Flyers at Bruins, Wed., May 4, 7:00 p.m. ET (VERSUS/CBC)
Game 4: Flyers at Bruins, Fri., May 6, 8:00 p.m. ET (VERSUS JIP/CBC)
Game 5*: Bruins at Flyers, Sun., May 8, 3:00 p.m. ET (VERSUS/CBC)
Game 6*: Flyers at Bruins, Tue., May 10, TBD (VERSUS/CBC)
Game 7*: Bruins at Flyers, Thurs., May 12, TBD (VERSUS/CBC)
The Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres in seven games to advance to the second round. Philadelphia, as you may recall, knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs last season, becoming just the third NHL team ever to erase a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series. Surely, the Bruins will be out to exact some revenge.
For what it's worth, the Bruins went 3-0-1 against the Flyers in the 2010-11 regular season, including two wins at the Wells Fargo Center.
The other Eastern Conference Semifinals series has the Washington Capitals hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning, while out West, it's the Nashville Predators against the Vancouver Canucks and the Detroit Red Wings taking on the San Jose Sharks.
Visit SB Nation for a look at the complete second round schedule.
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