Nowhere to run as Game 7 looms
Disappointed Bruins don’t sound worried
PHILADELPHIA — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk had just come off the ice after yesterday morning’s optional skate at the Wachovia Center and tried to take the edge off of an edgy situation, what with the Bruins looking to prevent this best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series from extending to a seventh game.
“Hey,’’ Boychuk said, in the visitors’ dressing room, “I didn’t want it to go to Game 5.’’
But, last night, the Bruins were left staring at a Game 7 back in Boston after absorbing their third consecutive loss in the series against the unrelenting Flyers, 2-1, before a Wachovia crowd of 19,929.
In the span of three setbacks, the Bruins have gone from enjoying a 3-0 series lead to battling for their playoff lives.
“We’re up against the wall now,’’ acknowledged Boychuk, now that the series shifts to TD Garden tomorrow night. “We’ve got to come ready to play and come [out] desperate the next game.’’
After scoring a 4-1 victory here in Game 3 to push the Flyers to the brink of elimination, no one in the Bruins’ dressing room thought it would come to a seventh game.
“No, we were hoping not, but it’s happened now,’’ Boychuk said. “So we’ve got to be prepared for that Game 7.’’
“I don’t think so, I’m not nervous,’’ said Milan Lucic, who gave the Bruins their only glimmer of hope when he tallied with a minute left in the game, a goal that came after Claude Julien had pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask in lieu of an extra attacker.
“I think you’ve got to embrace the struggle and embrace the challenge and have fun with it,’’ Lucic said.
The Bruins return to home ice looking to redeem themselves not only for squandering a 3-0 series lead, but also for their humiliating 4-0 loss in Game 5 Monday. Disgusted Bruins fans filled the Garden with a chorus of boos after the Black and Gold were outshot, 31-23, and managed just 14 shots on backup goaltender Michael Leighton, who was pressed into service when Brian Boucher injured his left knee in a second-period pileup.
Last night, Leighton made 30 saves in his first NHL playoff start, giving up Lucic’s goal that prevented the Bruins from getting shut out over the last six periods. At the very least, it was beneficial for the Bruins to put one puck past Leighton, whose confidence seemed to grow with each shot he faced.
“It was definitely beneficial,’’ Lucic said. “I mean, obviously we haven’t scored too many goals in the last two games, so to beat him once there gives us a little bit of confidence in the scoring department, knowing that we can beat him there. It’s a matter of getting pucks on net and getting a lot of traffic. I mean, you look at the goal at the end, I was in front of the net just digging away and we need to create more traffic like that to get some goals.’’
However, it did little to brighten the Bruins’ mood or outlook for Game 7.
“We’re disappointed with the loss, but we can’t get too down on ourselves and we can’t get too down on each other,’’ Lucic said. “We just have to find a way to battle through this.
“It’s been a tough road for us these last three games. But we’ve got to do whatever we can to come out with our ultimate best for Game 7, because that’s what we’re going to have to bring if we want to win that game.’’