Black and golden
Lucic late goal gives Bruins a 2-0 cushion
There was Miroslav Satan throwing a half-hearted pokecheck at Danny Briere as he carried it out of the zone. There was Satan again, this time trying his best to catch up to Briere, attempting one last backcheck before the Philadelphia forward let a top-shelf wrister loose that beat Tuukka Rask.
And there was Claude Julien, slamming his fist against the glass, steamed about a sloppy line change and a late goal (19:35 of the second period) to tie the score at 2-2.
“You can’t panic,’’ said Zdeno Chara. “You have to stay calm and get ready for the third. It’s always hard to get scored on in the last few minutes of a period or late in the game. You just have to stay calm and not panic. That’s just the way it is. Sometimes teams are going to score like that.’’
The Bruins, once quick to crumble (especially at home), are not those Bruins anymore. With their offensive game still clicking in the third, the Bruins forced the Flyers to take two penalties — too many men at 7:32, and a holding call on Briere at 10:03.
And when you’re a team already shorthanded like the Flyers (missing Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne, and Ian Laperriere), a pair of third-period penalty kills can wear out the legs of horses Chris Pronger, Mike Richards, Braydon Coburn, and Kimmo Timonen. So at 17:03 of the third, with Philadelphia’s big guns on the bench to get a rare breather, the Bruins took advantage of their depth.
With third-pairing defensemen Ryan Parent and Lukas Krajicek on the ice, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Satan cycled the puck in the offensive zone until the big left wing potted the deciding goal in last night’s 3-2 win. The Bruins hold a 2-0 series advantage.
“I liked the way our team responded,’’ Julien said. “Especially when we get scored on in the last 24 seconds of the second period, it certainly gives the other team momentum. It could certainly deflate you when you get scored on. But our guys kept their focus and went out there in the third determined to win the hockey game.’’
Game 1, a 5-4 overtime win for the Bruins, featured up-and-down shinny with countless scoring chances on Rask and Brian Boucher. Last night, both clubs employed a defensive-minded approach with the expected characteristics — physical play, blocked shots, even an accusation of finger-gnawing (the latter being what Dan Carcillo claimed Marc Savard did to him during a scrum at 5:55 of the second).
“Last time I’ve been bit was in grade school,’’ said Carcillo. “It’s not a good feeling. It’s pretty cowardly.’’
But the Bruins were just as good at playing the lunch-pail style as they were at flaunting their skill in Game 1.
Consider the final minute, when Boucher (24 saves) was pulled for an extra skater. Twice, Johnny Boychuk raced past Flyers and tracked down loose pucks in the right corner. Twice, Boychuk cleared the zone with simple bonks off the glass over forecheckers intent on keeping the cycle going in the Bruins’ zone.
“You just want to win the battles and get it out of our zone,’’ Boychuk said. “You spend less time in our zone so they couldn’t score. Just tried to put it off the glass because I knew guys would be coming down the walls to take away that play.’’
It’s been grinders like Boychuk, once set in stone as the No. 7 defenseman, making a difference in the playoffs for the Bruins. In the first, Boychuk gave his team a 1-0 lead following an offensive-zone faceoff win. Patrice Bergeron was lined up against Richards (50.7 percent regular-season success rate on faceoffs). But Richards was thrown out (Bergeron thought maybe the Philly captain had been too quick on the draw) and replaced by Scott Hartnell, who had lost four of the mere five regular-season faceoffs he took.
Bergeron promptly won the draw (16 for 22 on the night) and pulled the puck back to Boychuk, who wasted little time taking advantage of the Flyers shifting toward his partner.
Before the Flyers could reset to take away his shot, Boychuk snapped a shot past Boucher at 5:12.
“Everybody went to Z because they thought I’d pass it back to him,’’ Boychuk said. “I figured, ‘I might as well wrist it on net.’ ’’
Richards tied the score at 17:06 of the first — one of the few times Chara wasn’t on the ice against him — after Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman, and Vladimir Sobotka had trouble clearing the puck from the defensive zone. With Briere setting a pick on Sobotka, Richards stepped into a seam and fired a wrister past Rask to make it 1-1.
The Bruins regained the lead at 9:31 of the second on Satan’s fourth postseason goal. Krejci started the play on the left side by keeping puck possession amid serious Philly heat, then found Hunwick at the left point. Hunwick shuttled the puck to Wideman, who sent a pass down the right wall to Blake Wheeler. Wheeler fed Satan near the right circle, and as soon as the pass arrived, the winger snapped it off his blade to beat Boucher.
Later in the second, Satan would be partly culpable for Briere’s tying goal.
“Puck was standing up or something,’’ Satan said. “In a strange way, it flew in the net. It’s going to happen here or there, those kinds of goals. After the period, we just knew that we had to keep doing the same thing over. Fortunately, we were able to get that winning goal.’’