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The Flyers now have the Bruins right where they want them. I don’t need to tell you what happened last year, but if you need a reminder: Philly rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to topple the Bruins on their way eventually to a Stanley Cup berth. The Flyers and Bruins find themselves in the same situation last year.
The Bruins beat the Flyers 5-1 in Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead, and now have a chance to close out the series at home (instead of on the road like last season) this Friday night.
Tim Thomas was outstanding again, finishing with 37 saves a game after he stopped 52 shots. He’s the clear-cut Vezina Trophy winner and by far the hottest goalie in the playoffs, and that could take the Bruins a long way in the playoffs.
First things first, let’s examine how the goals were scored.
The Bruins basically put the game away within the first two minutes. Zdeno Chara got on the board 30 seconds in with a hard slapshot by Brian Boucher. David Krejci scored his fifth goal of the playoffs (and fourth this series) just 33 seconds later to give the B’s a really quick 2-0 lead. It’s the quickest two goals the Flyers have ever allowed in their history.
The B’s kept it going in the second period, when they collected two more goals within 95 seconds. Danielle Paille scored the third goal on a nice top shelf shot, and Nathan Horton put Boucher out of his misery with his fifth goal of the playoffs. The Horton score was a particularly easy goal, as he waited until the last second and fired it through Boucher’s legs.
Boucher was then pulled for Sergei Bobrovsky, who finished with 7 saves. Boucher stopped 16 shots in 20 opportunities.
The Flyers finally got on the board, spoiling Thomas’s shutout bid when Andrej Meszaros scored with less than four minutes left in the second period.
Late in the game, the Bruins found themselves on a 5-on-3 advantage. They had not scored on 31 power plays yet in the postseason, but Chara finally broke through for the B’s, scoring his second goal of the game. While the streak-busting goal was on a 5-on-3, it still counts.
The Flyers are in deep trouble. This year’s Bruins team includes a healthy David Krejci in addition to Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton, while Tim Thomas is doing his best Domink Hasek impersonation. Last year, the Bruins featured a Marc Savard who was half of himself, a Miroslav Satan 5 years past his prime, and they were without the injured Krejci.
Philly, on the other hand, is now without Chris Pronger (though he could play Friday) and might as well be without a goalie (Brian Boucher has been that bad this series).
The B’s will look to close out the Flyers on Friday for their first berth in the Eastern Conference Finals since 1992. If they get there, they would meet up with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who just got through sweeping the Washington Capitals.
Oh, and one last fact: The B’s haven’t been to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1990 and haven’t won the whole thing since 1972.