During the regular season, the Boston Bruins were unable to string more than two consecutive wins on home ice. Now, after some more late-game theatrics at the TD Garden, the B’s are heading to Philadelphia with a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I’m sure a ‘History Will Be Made’ parody could fit in here, but I’ll leave that to the YouTuber’s.
After an emotional 5-4 victory over the Flyers in Game 1 on Saturday, Marc Savard and the rest of the Boston Bruins sans Marco Sturm, who’s been lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL knew they had no time to sit back against the resilient Flyers.
With Sturm done for the season, enforcer Shawn Thornton was inserted back into the line-up and wasted no time in letting his presence be felt. Nearly putting one by Boucher just seconds in the game, Thornton got in the face of Philly-embraced villain Daniel Carcillo, exchanging some words and shoves with his Winter Classic combatant.
Striking first for the second time this series, the B’s jumped out to an early lead when Johnny Boychuk‘s quick wrist-shot went by Brian Boucher top-shelf blocker-side to put the Bruins up by one just under six minutes into the game. Making it look easy on a clean draw win by Patrice Bergeron, the onus has to go on Mike Richards for getting tossed from the face-off dot and forcing winger Scott Hartnell to take the draw against Boston’s most effective center.
With the lead, the B’s committed their first act of taking a dumb penalty in this series when Steve Begin took exception to a hit from Carcillo. Knocked off the puck by #13 in orange-and-white, Begin responded by getting up and taking his frustrations out on the agitator with a crosscheck to the chest. Goaded into the box by Carcillo, who laid on the ice as if he was just shot in the arm with a bullet, the B’s successfully killed off the Flyers’ power-play but were unable to escape the period without any damage.
Continuing the trend of answering before the end of a period, Mike Richards scored his fourth goal of the playoffs after a botched clear by the Bruins defense gives the Flyers forwards more than enough room to beat Rask top shelf to knot the game up at one all after one.
In the second period, with tensions between these two clubs already mounting, it was merely seconds after a Boston power-play expired when Marc Savard took a late slash at the glove of Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher. Angered by the actions of #91 in black, defensemen Kimmo Timonen and who else but Daniel Carcillo wasted no time in tackling the Bruins’ forward down to the ice and taking some extra liberties.
Entangled in the midst of a full on melee, Carcillo allegedly showed his fingers off to the officials, accusing Savard of biting him. Savard, who was suspended in 2003 for biting Darcy Tucker, recalls the incident differently, citing that Carcillo has a tendency to embellish stuff in his favor.
“Bottom of the pile, he tried to pull out my front teeth,” Savard said after the game “Is that a bite? He tried to yank ‘em out. I don’t know if he wanted me to look like him. But he tried to pull [my teeth] out. That’s for sure”
This was only the beginning of where things got interesting between the Flyers and Bruins as several post-game reports indicated that Flyers captain Mike Richards told Savard that “they were going to put him out for another six weeks”, obviously referring back to the concussion sustained by the Bruins’ center that kept him out of action for nearly two months. While the report was denied by Savard after the game, the animosity level between these two clubs is ruling the contest after just two games.
As the Garden came down with some unfavorable chants directed at official Bill McCreary, dissatisfied for the lack of a call against the Flyers for what the fans perceived as a two-on-one assault, the B’s were back on the penalty kill.
Killing off the penalty with relative ease, the Bruins would answer back when Miroslav Satan scored his fourth goal of the postseason with a wrist-shot that squeaked through the five-hole of Boucher, putting the Bruins up by a goal midway through the period. Dubbed ‘Miro the Hero’ by fans, Satan has continued to provide the goals he was initially signed for by Boston on January 2nd. The goal also gave B’s forward Blake Wheeler his first point since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Sabres.
When the B’s failed to capitalize on a Danny Briere hooking call when just over two minutes left in the period, it was Briere who made the tired B’s defense pay. Coming out of the box and putting the pressure on Boston in the closing seconds of the period, Briere shot an on-edge puck up and over Rask’s shoulder to knot the contest up once again with just 25 seconds left in the period.
Getting two gifts of penalties in the third period with a too many-men penalty and another Briere hooking call, the B’s failed to convert on both chances when it looked as if the fans at the TD Garden were going to be witnessing another overtime game when an unlikely hero emerged. Milan Lucic, who has been bumped from line to line (t0 line) throughout the playoffs, just so happened to be in the right position at the right time.
Winning one-on-one battles in the Philly zone and capitalizing off Darroll Powe‘s failure to clear the puck out of the zone, David Krejci worked with the puck behind the net before losing it when Lucic grabbed the puck out of the air, dropped it down, spun, and fired a shot that went through Boucher to give Boston a 3-2 lead with 2:57 left in the game.
As Boucher skated towards the bench in favor of the extra attacker, the Flyers was on..or it wasn’t. The B’s repeatedly foiled Philly’s chances and even had their best opportunity to put the game to bed when Patrice Bergeron connected with the stick of Daniel Paille who had a 6’7″ defensemen by the name of Chris Pronger in his way. Paille released the shot, but it was Pronger’s stick with some help from the post that killed the Bruins’ chances for a fourth tally and the rush with less than 30 seconds was on.
Unable to sustain any real cycling of the puck, Boston barely clears the zone with under 10 seconds to go, killing Philly’s chances of a miracle comeback and in a city where the water was off limits, the Garden crowd danced in jubilee to the post-win playing of The Standells’ song “Dirty Water”.
Boston was a scene of pure chaos, but you know, not that kind of dangerous chaos. Hugs were aplenty, hi-fives were imminent, and one would have to assume that outside the Garden the sales of “Lucic Crew” shirts were skyrocketing. That being said, there’s plenty of reasons to be concerned in Boston. Remember last season when the Carolina Hurricanes look lost and then came back to win three straight against the Bruins? Do you remember what was the biggest factor was in the Bruins’ eventual downfall?
The speed of the Carolina forwards.
Guys like Daniel Briere, Daniel Carcillo, Claude Giroux, and James van Riemsdyk are simply skating circles around the Bruins defense thus far. Without blue-liners Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart in the line-up, the B’s defense can’t afford to sit back and let the Flyers have it with their speed.
A Tip of the Cap to…
Firstly, it’s worth noting that the Bruins have a 2-0 series lead in the second round for the first time since 1992. It’s also worth noting that Miroslav Satan had another multi-point effort tonight, making him the first Bruin to have three straight multi-point playoff games since Cam Neely.*
Goat of the Game
Is it time for Blake Wheeler to take a seat in the press box? It was another ho-hum effort tonight from the Bruins winger, who was credited with an assist but look simply lost out there during most of the contest. Playing on the fourth line, Wheeler has failed to bring energy to any of these games throughout the playoffs and the B’s may be best by turning to a fast tempo player such as Brad Marchand instead.
The B’s head to Philadelphia for Game 3 of this series on Wednesday night. Boston was 1-0-1 during the regular season in their trips to Philadelphia, but the Flyers come home boasting a 24-14-3 record during the regular season at the Wachovia Center and a 2-0 record in their building during the playoffs.
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About the Author: Ty Anderson ran the Chronicles From The Garden blogspot account during the 2008-09 NHL season before joining HockeyIndependent as the Bruins Blogger. He is a Seinfeld enthusiast, self-admitted Star Wars nerd, Vezina-quality street-hockey goaltender, and can be found in Balcony 314 of every Bruins home game. Follow him and his tweeting madness on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/_TyAnderson or send him an e-mail at TAndersonBruins@gmail.com.