By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff
Don’t call it a comeback.
At least not so far in this series. No, the Boston Bruins –– the same squad that had to battle back after succumbing early leads to the Buffalo Sabres in five of six First-Round games –– are 2-for-2 when it comes to starting on the right skate in Round Two against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Monday night, the Bruins got a big first goal from Johnny Boychuk, who scored 5:12 into the first, but, for the second time in two nights, again failed to maintain the lead through the rest of the game.
Luckily for Boston one of the squad’s star centers was once again ready to answer the call late in the game. In front of a sold out TD Garden, it was Milan Lucic who netted the game-winner for Boston, his with 2:57 left in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie and help the Bruins capture a 3-2 win.
The win put the Bruins up 2-0 on the Flyers in the series, which continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Lucic netted his winner on a broken play started by David Krejci. Krejci, working from the right corner of the Flyers’ zone, tried passing to Lucic as he skated through the right slot. Philadelphia D-man Lukas Krajicek tipped the puck into the air with his stick, and the knuckler evaded a swinging clear attempt by Ryan Parent and fell near the right hashes.
As the Flyers’ defenseman raced to swat the puck away, Lucic put a body into Parent, boxed him out, and spun a laser by unsuspecting Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher.
“That was actually my thought, to try to box the defenseman out and try to shoot,” Lucic said. “It worked out pretty good.”
The late-game heroics are nothing new to the Bruins, who beat the Flyers’ in Game One on an overtime winner by Savard. In the First-Round series against Buffalo, the B’s earned three of their four wins against with goals either in the third period or in overtime.
What has been new in this series has been Boston’s propensity to get on the board early –– a trend most recently kept alive by Boychuk.
One of the key questions facing the Bruins in lieu of Marco Sturm’s season-ending ACL and MCL tears was how Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi would respond with a new forward filling in at their now-vacant wing spot.
It didn’t take long to find an answer –– get creative, and maybe a little bit lucky.
The line, featuring Daniel Paille on the spare wing, took its first shift together just over five minutes into the game –– Bergeron and Recchi had taken previous shifts during a Boston power play 47 seconds into the game.
Bergeron took the draw at the left dot in the Flyer’s zone, and won the faceoff, pulling the puck back to his left.
Moving from the far-left hashes, defenseman Johnny Boychuk met the puck about halfway up the circle’s circumference. Boychuk fired from there, ripping the disk by Mark Recchi, who timed his skate in front of Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher perfectly, blocking the goalie’s view and leaving an open window for Boychuk on the short, stick side. Boychuk didn’t miss.
The tally was Boychuk’s second goal and fifth point in his last seven games, strong production for a D-man who tallied just five goals and 15 points in 51 games this season.
“I think they were trying to win it to [Zdeno Chara],” Boychuk said of the goal. “But it just landed right beside Bergy, and everybody went to Z, I think because they thought I might pass it back to him, so I figured I’d wrist it on net.
“It wasn’t a set play at all. I just jumped at the loose puck tried to shoot it.”
After the Flyers responded with a Mike Richards’ tally late in the first, Miroslav Satan put Boston back on top with an even-strength goal midway through the second.
The Bruins held off a handful of Philadelphia scoring chances through the next nine or so minutes, but with just 24.8 seconds left in the second, Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask and the Boston defense faltered, allowing the Flyers to tie the game at 2.
Daniel Briere picked up the tally for Philadelphia, his fourth of the playoffs. Briere charged the zone from the right wing, holding off Satan while staying wide of Andrew Ference, the D-man defending from the right slot.
Briere corralled the puck until he was just below the right faceoff dot, then ripped a wrister into the top-left corner of the net. The shot was a good one, but was also one Rask –– who had the puck whiz by his right ear –– should have been in better position to play.
At least in the immediate aftermath, Bruins’ coach Claude Julien agreed Rask should have made the save, slamming the glass behind him and yelling Rask’s first name in anger.
Rask would respond with perfection the rest of the way, turning away all five Flyers’ shots he faced in the third.
“He doesn’t get rattled,” Julien said. “He gets mad, but he doesn’t get rattled, and I think you see his competitiveness there when he lets in a goal he doesn’t like. I think that’s both our goaltenders. They get mad and they react and they usually react positively. That’s what Tuukka did. He closed the door in the third and that’s what we needed.”
Carcillo: Savard’s bite was ‘Cowardly’
Early in the second period, during a scrum resulting from Savard’s slashing of Boucher, Flyers’ forward Dan Carcillo claimed that the Bruins’s star bit him in a move Carcillo deemed “pretty cowardly.”
“The last time I’ve been bit was in grade school,” Carcillo said to reporters after the game.
The alleged bite came as Carcillo –– still wearing his gloves –– attempted to facewash Savard in the corner of the Philadelphia zone.
“I think he tried to pull my teeth out,” Savard said. “If that’s biting, I don’t know what to say.”
“Yeah, that’s what I do when I get into a scrum,” Carcillo said sarcastically. “I try to pull people’s teeth out.”
The incident was the second time that Savard has been accused of biting –– the first was in 2003 when the then-Atlanta Thrasher received a one-game suspension for biting Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger Darcy Tucker.
Savard received a two-minute minor for slashing on the play, while Carcillo received no punishment.