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It was a nice win, but no one had better say that a December win does anything to make up for the humiliating choke job/comeback in the playoffs. It doesn’t. The time to stand up and show the Flyers that you have mental toughness and fortitude was back in March, not now. The Bruins had four chance to send that message to Philadelphia and failed each time. So this is a hollow victory, but a hollow victory is better than no victory at all.
Tonight the Bruins face the Flyers for the first time since their playoff matchup last spring, when Boston easily knocked out Philadelphia. (Well I assume they did, I saw the first three games, but then had to leave the country for a few months. But there’s no way they could have blown a 3-0 lead. I’ll just Google that to make sure… Oh. Wow.)
So the Bruins choked. Badly. But HOW badly? As horribly as the 2004 New York Yankees, who pulled the biggest choke job in sports history? No, not quite. Two other NHL teams had blown 3-0 series leads before the Bruins did, while the Yankees remain the only baseball team to choke away that kind of lead in baseball. And what’s more, the Yankees were three outs away from a sweep, leading in the 9th with Mariano Rivera on the mound.
Also, last year’s Bruins were kind of playing over their heads to get the 3-0 lead in the first place, and once David Kreijci got hurt and the Flyers got Simon Gagne back from injury, the Flyers were clearly the better team. So their horrible choke wasn’t as bad as the Yankees. Close, but not quite.
Tim Thomas gets the start tonight for the B’s, while rookie Sergei Bobrovsky starts for the Flyers. Big question now: will the reprehensible Daniel Carcillo come back from injury and play tonight? And the answer is: No, he is still out, leaving Scott Hartnell and Jody Shelley as the Flyers top miscreants tonight.
And by the way, what kind of goon/irritant/rat/weasel/brawler/cheater goes by Daniel instead of Danny or even Dan? Carcillo should have his Goon Card taken away for that. His teammate Danny Briere used to go by Daniel, but then realized that he was a hockey player, and changed his name to Danny. And he’s a fancy forward, not a tough guy.
In olden times, when the Bruins last won the Cup, players had simpler, shorter names. That worked well for them then, so maybe they need to go back to that. So as of now, Daniel Paille is now Danny Paille. Dennis Seidenberg is now Denny Seidenberg. Gregory Campbell, your 70’s hockey name is now Greg Campbell. Zdeno Chara, you are now Dino Chara. Ty Seguin, Andy Ference, Pat Bergeron, Nate Horton and Mike Ryder, join the club. Johnny Boychuk is already a member.
The puck drops, and immediately the Flyers almost score as Thomas bungles the puck, but then makes the save. The Bruins scramble, scuffle, chase the puck, panic, freak out a bit, and then finally calm down and win the puck. Boychuk tries a blast from the poiint, which is saved easily, as is Horton’s snapper.
18 minutes: Briere slips a pass through the Bruins crease, but Ville Leino (rhymes with Philly Lame-O) can’t get a piece of it.
17:20: the Flyers come into the Boston zone on a 3-on-2, but Stuart breaks it up. Philly sets up shop in the Boston zone, though no scoring chances result.
16 minutes: The Krejci, Horton and Lucic line controls the puck in the Flyers’ end, but the only shot to result is Ference’s blast from the point that’s easily blocked by Chris Pronger.
15:45: Punk Scott Hartnell (who recently cut off his Sideshow Bob/Larry of the Three Stooges curly red afro) plows into Thomas. Play is stopped, but somehow Hartnell remains out of the penalty box.
15:09: Big Dino Chara is spun to the ice by Nikolai Zherdev, who is called for tripping. Bruins on the power play. Krejci zips through the Flyer zone and fires a shot, but Bobrovsky gloves it nicely.
14 minutes: Bobrvsky soon also smothers a Chara drive from the point, and a Lucic stab from the crease. But after blocking Lucic, the puck is just sitting there deliciously until the Flyers defensemen try to fling it out. But they send it right to Bergeron, camped out in the slot, and he fires home for the first goal of the game! 1-0 Bruins!
12 minutes: Lucic plows into Jody Shelley from behind, earning a penalty and the ire of Chris Pronger. In Lucic’s defense, Jody Shelley has not one but TWO girl names. He needs to turn in his Goon Card like his pal Carcillo.
11 minutes: The B’s easily smother the first half of the penalty, holding the F’s without a shot so far.
10 minutes: At the end of the penalty, Philly generates a chance, but Thomas stymies Briere and then Jeff Carter, and forces a faceoff.
8 minutes: Flyers outshooting Boston 11-8 so far. Meszaros makes it 12-8 with a snapper, but Thomas handles it with the stick.
5 minutes: both teams trade harmless shots, no danger. Then suddenly Ryder dishes to a cutting Tyler Seguin, who snaps the puck into the top corner past Bobrovsky for the goal! 2-0 Bruins.
4 minutes: James Van Reimsdyk gets the puck in the slot, but Johnny Boychuk comes over, stuffs his shot and smashes him to the ice. Jack Edwards comments: “And the sun just disappears from the sky for James Van Reimsdyk.” So poetic, our Jack.
3:30: Jody Shelley is back on the ice, and he’s peeved. He searches out Shawn Thornton, and they drop their gloves! They basically stand there and look at each other for a few seconds, then lock up. Now they trade a flurry of heavy right hands! Thornton takes a shot to the back of the head, but he is wearing a helmet. The action slows, but Thornton lands a counter shot to Shelley’s helmet. Now basically punched out, they hang on, panting, until the refs decide to break it up. The pugilists are no doubt left with very sore fists from pounding each other in the helmet for 30 seconds.
3 minutes: Chara’s stick snaps, and the Flyers break in on a 3-on-12. But the captain hurries back and slides in to break up a pass, and then Ference blocks another. Zherdev gets the puck, open on the left side, but Thomas blocks his first-timer.
2:30: Seidenberg trips Claude Giroux, and is off to the box. On the power play, Philly gets a lot of possession, but can mostly only pass it around the outside of the zone. But then as time runs out in the period, Giroux snaps a low shot off Boychuk’s stick that clangs off the post! The horn blows, and the score after one period is Boston 2, Philadelphia 0.
Philadelphia outshot Boston 15-10 in the first. But the B’s scored the only two goals and we had a nice brawl, so things are going well so far.
19 minutes: Soon after the period starts, Seidenberg comes out of the box. But with less than a minute and a half gone, Krejci is called for a hook, and the Flyers go right back on the power play.
18 minutes: Leino tries to pass back to Pronger, but somehow the puck comically goes right past him, all the way back to the Philly end, and the Flyers have to regroup. And they do– Hartnell behind the net finds Briere in front, but Thomas robs him! Jack Edwards: “Thomas stacks the pads, does the snow angel, and the barrell roll move!” Everything Jack says ends with an exclamation point! Boston kills the rest of the power play.
16 minutes: Philly now with 10 scoring chances to Boston’s 7. Ryder’s big slapper is deflected by Timmonen and easily handled by Bobrovsky.
14 minutes: Thomas robs Hartnell twice from the side of the crease, knocking one off the post, and then blocking a stuff attempt with the pads. Couldn’t have stymied a better guy, since Carcillo is not playing. At the other end, the Bruins quickly get a chance, as Wheeler and Bergeron hack at the puck as it trickles through the crease, but can’t convert.
12 minutes: Thomas thwarts van Reimsdyk, diving onto his side to stuff the shot. Soon after, Shawn Thornton is called for holding, though it looked more like he was just standing there. Another Philly power play.
10 minutes: Again, the Bruins stymie the Flyer power play. They even get a 3- on 2 break, but Boychuk fires wide, and Philly quickly speeds back. Leino feeds Carter, but his redirection is snagged by Thomas. Excitable Jack blurts out “An X-Ray- Vision save!”
8 minutes: Marchand sends one to the front of the net for Ryder, but Michael “Kramer” Richards is there to break it up.
7:11 McQuaid belts the stickless Blair Betts into the boards, and Jody Shelley then rams McQuaid halfway over the boards from behind, and is called for the penalty! Bruins on the power play now.
6 minutes: Bergeron’s stick shatters, giving Blair Betts a shorthanded mini-break in, but he can do nothing with it. At the other end, Lucic steals the puck and feeds Krejci, alone in front– Krejci tries a crazy stick-between-the-legs flip shot, but it’s saved by Bobrovsky. Penalty is killed.
5 minutes: Hartnell tries to jam one in from the side, but Thomas blocks it and holds. Hartnell keeps hacking away and Thomas takes exception, shoving Hartnell in his loathsome face. Marchand jumps in to exchange shoves with Hartnell, and the refs break everything up. Hartnell and Thomas are given minors, with Seguin serving the penalty for Boston.
4 minutes: The teams skate 4 on 4. Thomas makes a nice kick-save, then Krejci heads into the Philly zone, and sets up Seidenberg, who first-times it back to him. Krejci’s quick snapper is saved by Bobrovsky.
Hartnell comes out of the box, takes in a long pass and breaks in on goal! Thomas saves his shot, but Ference will be called for slashing Hartnell, who was alone behind the defense– penalty shot coming up for the Flyers!
Hartnell glides in, tries a backhander, but Thomas is there to easily smother it as Hartnell comically slides into the boards like a pee wee player in his first game! Save Thomas, no goal.
2 minutes: The puck slowly trickles through a scrum of players, and Thomas dives forward to cover it.
1 minute: Richards carries it in and dishes to Andreas “Chicken” Nodl, alone on the side. He fires, but Thomas saves again! The period ends, and Thomas has been spectacular, as Philly could have, and should have, had several goals in that period. After two periods, it’s still 2-0 Boston.
19 minutes: Nodl gets open in the slot and shoots for the top corner, but it just whizzes wide.
18 minutes: Horton steals from Pronger and breaks in, but his shot hits the post! Later, Krejci feeds Caron, who tips it toward the corner, but Bobrovsky kicks out the leg pad to make the big save. The Bruins are flying more than the Flyers, and generating steady pressure so far in this period.
16 minutes: The oafish Jody Shelley sends in a shot from the point that deflects wide, but Thomas is out of the net and can’t find the puck! It’s okay, as his defensemen find it and clear.
Nodl drills Seidenberg in the head and knocks off his helmet! Later, Nodl drives to the net, but can’t get a shot off, and Ference comes flying in at the whistle to send him sprawling.
Now it’s the Flyers with the pressure, as Bergeron has to come back to break up a golden scoring chance by Darroll Powe (of the Saskatoon Powes.) Surely the Bruins couldn’t blow a lead against the Flyers, right? Right? Oh right.
15 minutes: It’s Nodl again– this time he sets up Giroux in the slot. Giroux sends a low burner along the ice, but Thomas drops to his side and gets it! Philadelphia with 35 shots so far tonight; Thomas of course has 35 saves, many spectacular.
13 minutes: Lucic sends a one-hander to the net that doesn’t trouble Bobrovsky. Lucic stays active and energetic, forcing a turnover. Chara grabs it at the point and sends in a bomb that Bobrovsky has to scramble to block.
11 minutes: Neither team can generate a chance, as the furious pace of the earlier part of the period has slowed. Thornton manages to dish the puck to Krejci, but his shot is easily gloved by the Russian rookie.
9 minutes: Lucic and Krejci wheel around the Philly zone dangerously, but can’t get a shot off. Timmonen has an open shooting lane for a second, but Chara sticks out a leg to block his drive.
8 minutes: Jordan Caron fires one just wide of the net. In the other end, Mark Stuart shoves Briere to the ice, like a playground bully.
7 minutes: Krejci breaks in alone into the crease, but Bobrovsky stymies him. The Flyers come back but Boychuk leaps forward to belt van Reimsdyk to the ice!
6 minutes: Sean O’Donnell’s long shot is tipped by Richards, and streaks just wide of the post! Thomas makes a save, and directs the rebound to Chara, who tries to pass to Ryder, who unfortunately wasn’t looking. Leno-chinned defenseman Matt Carle seizes the loose puck and drills a shot, but Thomas easily has it with the blocker.
5 minutes: Carle steals it in the Boston end, but Boychuk smothers his shot. And the puck gets stuck in his shorts! Seriously, it does! The ref blows the play dead, luckily for Boychuk’s boys.
3 minutes: Flyers are outshooting Boston 38-31, and are generating all the pressure here late in the game, but Boston is hanging on without giving up many scoring chances.
2:30 left: Boborovsky heads to the bench, and the net is empty! Krejci steals it in his own end, and feeds Lucic. Lucic shoots into the empty net for the goal, clinching the game! (Surely they couldn’t blow a 3-0 lead to the Flyers? All right, all right, I’ll stop.)
One minute: Bobrovsky sheepishly goes back into the game. As the fans stream to the exits, the Bruins stay in control. Powe takes a desperation shot right before the clock hits 0:00, and hits Thomas in the logo. The horn sounds as Thomas makes his 41st save of the night for the shutout. The Bruins win, 3-0 the final. Thomas nets his fifth shutout of the season, making 41 saves as the Bruins win for only the second time in the last 6 games.