Recchi an old pro at playoffs
Mark Recchi, 43 years old and with two Stanley Cup rings already stashed away in his personal vault, scored his 57th career playoff goal at 5:33 of the first period last night as the Bruins rocketed out of the gate, taking a 2-0 lead at TD Garden, and then riding a roller coaster into overtime, in which Nathan Horton’s goal gave the Bruins a 4-3 victory over the Canadiens and a 4-3 victory in their first-round playoff series.
The Bruins move on to face the Flyers in Round 2, which begins Saturday in Philadelphia.
With the Boston power play continuing to sputter (0 for 21 in the series) and the Montreal power play running on overdrive (6 for 27, including 2 for 4 last night), the Bruins had to fall back on even-strength teamwork.
“The power play kept them in the series,’’ said Recchi, “but I think we’re the better team five on five.’’
After ceding the first two games to the visiting Canadiens, the Bruins last night were finally using not only their brawn and their bite, but their smarts. History hung over their bench, too: In their last two Game 7s against Montreal, the Bruins had been shut out. But the Bruins have some extraordinary history on their side, too: This is the 15th career playoff run for Recchi, who was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Penguins in 1990 and the Hurricanes in 2006. He knows the territory. He has seen what persistence can do.
“We believe we earned this series,’’ said Recchi, whose goal moved him into a tie for 36th in career playoff goals with Cam Neely. “We believe we deserved it.’’
The goal also put Recchi in a tie for 34th in career playoff points with Phil Esposito (137).
“Give the guys a lot of credit,’’ said Recchi. “We believed in each other and we trusted each other and we found a way to win.’’
Johnny Boychuk opened the scoring at 3:31 with a ripper from the right point, a shot set up by Brad Marchand’s crafty pass out of the right corner as the rookie winger threaded the puck between two Canadiens to put it on Boychuk’s stick.
Two minutes and two seconds later, Recchi worked a smart exchange with defenseman Andrew Ference and gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Ference was making a move to the net from the right point, but lost control of the puck off the end of his stick. In the meantime, Recchi had dropped back to cover for Ference’s pinch. Ference had enough reach to poke the puck back to Recchi, who fired a wrist shot over the glove of Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
“That was a great pinch by [Ference],’’ said Recchi. “It came right to me in the slot, I couldn’t believe how wide open I was. You don’t get too many good opportunities like that. I was fortunate to beat [Price], but when you have that much time in the slot, you don’t get it very often so I took advantage of it.’’
The Canadiens barged their way back into the game with Yannick Weber’s power-play goal at 9:49, and then a shorthanded score that came off Recchi’s stick. Dennis Seidenberg dropped a pass to Recchi in the neutral zone, but the puck was behind Recchi and he said he didn’t see it.
Tomas Plekanec did, and the speedy Canadien scooped it up and raced away to beat Tim Thomas for the breakaway score that tied the game at 2-2.
The lead seesawed twice more, Chris Kelly scoring for Boston and P.K. Subban for Montreal, setting up the overtime session.
“I trust what I do out there,’’ Recchi said. “And I trust my linemates. I believe in what we’re doing; I’m comfortable out there. I’ve been through a lot of it. Our line, I’ve been with [Patrice Bergeron] for a long, long time and [Brad] Marchand is a terrific young player for us, so we know what we have to do and we support each other well.
“It’s just nice to help the team. That’s what we try and do every night, be consistent and be someone the coach can count on.’’
While Boston fans may have been frantic as the overtime unfolded, Recchi said it was energizing.
“It’s a great rivalry,’’ said Recchi. “We didn’t want to stop playing.’’