By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
Forty years to the day after Bobby Orr went flying, the Bruins failed to get off the ground Monday night as the Flyers cruised to a 4-0 Game 5 victory to cut Boston’s series lead to 3-2.
The Bruins struggled at both ends of the ice all night. Bad passing spoiled a number of breakouts, weak forechecking consistently derailed offensive chances and dumb penalties ensured momentum stayed on Philadelphia’s side.
“For whatever reason, we just didn’t have it tonight,” said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. “I thought after two days we’d be well rested and ready to roll, but we weren’t on our toes and we weren’t sharp, and they were the better team. They were more committed.”
The lackluster effort was lowlighted by the last 10 minutes of the second period, during which Boston completely unraveled by allowing two goals and taking three penalties.
After the Flyers held possession in the Bruins’ end for well over a minute, Scott Hartnell made it 2-0 Philadelphia when he batted home Danny Briere’s chip shot over a hopeless Tuukka Rask (27 saves) with 8:44 remaining in the stanza.
“[Rask’s] playing well … but we’re just losing our guys in the defensive zone,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic. “We just have to sharpen up and play more as a five-man unit down there.”
Boston responded by taking back-to-back penalties — a roughing by Marc Savard and a boarding by Steve Begin.
After successfully neutralizing the Flyers’ first four power-play chances, the Bruins’ penalty kill finally cracked with Begin in the box. Mike Richards held the puck behind the net before finding Simon Gagne all alone at the top of the crease for a one-time tally.
With 38 seconds left in the middle frame, Andrew Ference joined the parade to the sin bin after crosschecking Ville Leino, who netted the Flyers’ first goal.
“Usually when the other team outworks you, you tend to take penalties,” Lucic said. “We have to start taking the play to them so they take penalties like that against us.”
Gagne capped off the scoring with his second goal 6:48 into the third when he collected a loose puck that Dennis Wideman couldn’t hold in the offensive zone and beat Rask blocker-side on a breakaway.
It appeared that a door may have been opening for the Bruins when Flyers goalie Brian Boucher (9 saves)) had to leave the game five minutes into the second period. But Boston let backup Michael Leighton (14 saves), who was playing for the first time since March 16, off the hook by failing to put any sort of consistent pressure on him.
“We didn’t do a great job of generating too many shots,” Lucic said. “We didn’t get shots through. We didn’t set up shots too well.”
After jumping out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Bruins now have to head back to Philadelphia on Wednesday night for Game 6 with the Flyers looking to force a decisive Game 7.
The Bruins stressed that it isn’t time to panic, though.
“We’re still up 3-2,” Recchi said. “As disappointed as we all are, we have to forget about this. And we will. We’ll get some good video tomorrow on what we can do to get better. The one thing we all know is that we can all be better as individuals and more desperate as a team. I think we’ll be fine.”