Banged-up Bruins pleased with 'gutsy' performance

Former Flyer Mark Recchi (middle) celebrates with teammate Blake Wheeler after third-period goal.
Former Flyer Mark Recchi (middle) celebrates with teammate Blake Wheeler after third-period goal.
Posted: May 06, 2010

The popular notion that a playoff series doesn't begin until a road team wins a game is a bit flawed.

The visiting Bruins won at the Wachovia Center last night and now their second-round series against the Flyers is just about over.

Playing shorthanded, and in a hot and hostile arena, Boston had one of its best performances of the playoffs and grabbed a 3-0 series stranglehold after last night's 4-1 win. Their coach called it a gutsy effort. Gritty, focused and huge were other adjectives thrown around in Boston's joyous locker room afterward.

Before the game, the Flyers had talked about scoring the game's first goal, about playing with the lead for the first time all series.

They did that when Arron Asham beat Tuukka Rask 2 minutes, 32 seconds into the game. But Boston knotted things up less than 2 minutes later on a goal by Blake Wheeler. Miroslav Satan scored a minute-and-a-half later on a partial breakaway set up when Mike Richards drilled David Krejci at center ice. The hit knocked Krejci from the game, but not before he was able to get the puck to Milan Lucic, who found Satan. That quickly, a 1-0 deficit was a 2-1 lead, which Boston sat on like a mother hen.

"When they did get that lead, on the bench we were like 'OK, no problem, boys. Let's go out and get it back,' " said Marc Savard, who assisted on Boston's first goal. "And what was it? Two shifts later that we got it right back."

Boston coach Claude Julien said afterward that Krejci was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Julien had no issues with the legality of Richards' hit, which caught Krejci up high. Defenseman Adam McQuaid also left in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each had 52 points during the regular season to lead the Bruins, so his loss was no small matter. Marco Sturm, another top forward for the B's, suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 1.

"I think we showed a lot of character tonight," said Mark Recchi, who added an insurance goal on the power play in the third period. "A couple guys go down early and we sucked it up."

Aside from the Asham goal, Rask was impenetrable. He stopped 34 shots, including 26 over the first two periods. Boston tightened things up in the third period, a frame many of them called their best in some time.

"They are a desperate team," Julien said. "They needed this win. And for us to go down to a short bench and be able to sustain that, I thought our guys responded well. It was a real gutsy win on our part."

By the end of the game, the home fans were booing. Maybe they knew that in the history of seven-game series in major sports, only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 2004 Boston Red Sox have rallied from 0-3 series deficits. Or maybe they were disappointed that a series that was supposed to go longer could be over before it really got started.

"We did take the crowd out of it tonight," Bergeron said. "But their crowd is so passionate. It's really tough to play here, to be honest with you. I'm sure they're going to be really loud for Game 4."

Bruin bits

Marc Savard, who allegedly bit Flyers winger Dan Carcillo in Game 3, was an early target of fans' ire. But when the Bruins took the lead, their focused turned elsewhere . . . Tuukka Rask was asked before last night's game if the Bruins were planning any strategical changes with the series shifting from Boston to Philadelphia. "I don't know anything about strategies," he said, plainly. "I'm a goalie" . . . Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman led all players by logging 28 minutes, 37 seconds. Johnny Boychuk, at 28:07, was second . . . Satan's goal was his 20th point in 22 career playoff games against the Flyers. The previous points came while he was with the Sabres.

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