A very exciting game 2 leads us to an even series now. Boston took game 2, 6-5. It looked like they were going to run away with this one, scoring 5 goals on 9 shots in the 2nd period. But the Lightning fought back, and had a couple bounces go their way. But the Bruins hung on to win 6-5. Bergeron practiced with the team prior to game 2, but he was still out for the game. Look for him to play in game 3 though, and that will create an interesting debate about the starting lineup. There’s no way he can take Seguin out. The kid had 4 points in game 2, and now has 6 points in his first 2 playoff games. Just incredible. The Lightning didn’t have a great game, but they kept grinding away, and never lost hope. The Bruins better learn from this, and step on their neck the next time they are in this position. On to the game that was!
The game is on, and the Lightning have scored. The theme continues for Boston. A shot from the far circle went wide, but it took a good bounce for Tampa. The puck was picked up by Hall, as Thomas was still looking around for the puck. He easily put it in the back of the net, and Tampa was up 1-0, just 13 seconds into the game. This is the 4th time in 13 postseason games they have allowed a goal within the first 30 seconds of the game. Tampa is 8-0 when scoring first, so this will be an uphill battle for the Bruins. Boston came back hard, getting their legs under them early. As the Bruins rushed in and got in a shot from the point, Roloson made the save. Ference sprayed Roloson with some snow, and Headmen didn’t like that. After a little push from another Lightning player, Headmen came in and cleaned him out. Both players would receive matching minors for roughing, and they played 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Peverley had a chance late in the 4-on-4, drawing the puck into the slot. He skated right in front of Roloson, but the defense clamped down on him, and he couldn’t get the shot off. The Bruins had incredible pressure once the penalties ended. Boston held the attacking zone for a good minute or 2. Absolutely incredible shift by the 1st line. Tampa finally iced the puck, and the Lightning coach Boucher called his timeout to regroup the players. The Lightning cleared the puck out of their zone, but Boston came up with the puck. Seidenberg had the puck, and passed across ice. Malone came flying in with his elbow, and hit Seidenberg, luckily, with his shoulder. Boston would go on the powerplay for elbowing at 6:32. The Boston powerplay was weak again. Kelly had a chance late, but Roloson made a stick save. The game remained 1-0 midway through the 1st period. The 1st line got the Boston offense moving again, but no goal yet. Tampa dumped the puck in the Boston zone, and McQuaid would take it up ice. McQuaid came screaming trough the attacking zone, and fired a shot just wide of the net. Recchi who was trailing, was knocked over by Malone as he went towards the end boards for the loose puck. Boston would go back on the powerplay for interference at 11:20. The powerplay was moving the puck very well early, but Roloson looked equally as good in net. Kreci passed to Horton behind the net, and he found Lucic in the slot for a one-timer. But Roloson made an incredible save, and froze the puck. After the play ended, Hall hit Seidenberg, and he would receive a roughing penalty at 11:59. It was now 5-on-3 for the Bruins. The powerplay looked incredible, just attacking relentlessly. But Roloson was just too good, keeping the Bruins off the board. The 5-on-3 ended, but Boston still had 35 seconds left on the 2nd penalty. The Boston forecheck was relentless, and they had bodies in front of Roloson all powerplay. Seidenberg set up a shot at the point, but it was blocked down. The puck came right to Seidenberg, who passed to Kaberle and then back to Seidenberg for another one-timer. His shot went to the left of Roloson, and was deflected by Horton. Finally, the Bruins had broken through the seal, and scored with 1 second left on the penalty. Boston made these 2 powerplays count, and had tied the game 1-1 at 13:58. The Bruins had clamped down on defense, allowing just 2 shots by the Lightning after the 3:06 mark. As the Bruins were bringing the puck into the attacking zone, Horton ran over More. This resulted in an interference call at 17:16, and the Lightning went on the powerplay. An incredible shift from Daniel Paille, resulted in a shorthanded bid for the Bruins. Kelly got a bad angle shot off, but Roloson made the save. Paille appeared to have taken off 20-30 seconds of the penalty by clogging up the neutral zone by himself. The Lightning had a good chance by Teddy Purcell coming through the high slot. Thomas barely made the save, and the Bruins were able to block the net, and cover the puck up to get a whistle. There was a small scrum afterwards, which Steve Downie decided to attack Chara. Downie took a shot a Chara, trying to get some sort of retaliation. The 2 would receive offsetting minors, roughing for Downie, and unsportsmanlike for Chara. I don’t know why Chara got 2 minutes, but they were off the ice. Because of the previous Boston penalty, it remained 5-on-4 for Tampa. Although, the Lightning did nothing with the rest of their powerplay, so they skated 5-on-5. At the end of the period, Stamkos came storming into the Boston zone, with St. Louis on his left. Stamkos went to the far circle, and spun around a backhand shot towards the net. The puck was deflected by St. Louis, and bounced off Johnny Boychuck into the net. Tampa had taken a 2-1 lead with just 7 seconds left in the period. So, the 1st period ended with the Bruins down, 2-1. This felt like a period the Bruins dominated, and it is very unfortunate for them to exit the period down a goal. They have to stay positive, and come out ready to play in the 2nd.
The Lightning started with a quick chance by St. Louis off a long pass, but Thomas made a hoping blocker save. Tyler Seguin decided to take the game into his own hands, again. Seguin took the puck through center ice off a pass from Ryder, and split the defense at the point with some nice dekes. It was now a breakaway for they rookie, as he deked to the backhand and scored. What a play by the youngster, and he is looking like a real gem this series. Boston had tied the game 2-2, just 46 seconds into the 2nd period. The crowd was alive, and the Bruins were feeling it now. The 2nd line followed that up with a great shift, keeping the Lightning on their heels. The 1st line followed that up with an incredible shift of their own. Horton brought the puck into the attacking zone, and through the near circle. He centered a pass to Kreci in the high slot. You could see him slow the game down, and he made a pass to the far circle to Seidenberg. He dragged the puck around the circle, and passed into the slot to Kreci for a tip-in goal at 2:24. Boston had quickly asserted themselves, and taken the lead 3-2. The Bruins played very well in the 1st, and deserved to end the period with the lead. They didn’t get discouraged though, and kept the tempo up to start the 2nd. The Bruins look great in this game, doing everything fast and effective. Off a face-off win by Boston, the puck was picked off by Tampa. Ryan Malone skated behind the defense, and had a breakaway chance now. But an incredible save by Thomas with the right pad kept the Lightning off the board. Boston now had numbers of their own, as Horton and Seguin were in a 2-on-1 situation. Horton took the puck into the attacking zone, and passed across ice to Seguin. Seguin took the puck into the far slot, and got a wrist shot off high glove side and scored again. Boston was up 4-2 at 6:30, and they looked like a juggernaut in this game. Tampa stayed in the game, just gutting through this period. Off a face-off in the Boston zone, the Bruins tried to clear the puck. It was knocked down, and a shot was taken from the point. There was a pileup for the puck, and Recchi cleaned out a Tampa player. He would be called for cross-checking at 7:29. The Lightning had a great chance to get back in the game now, back on the powerplay. Tampa won the face-off back, and Lecavalier had the puck at the point. He feint a shot as he skated closer to the near circle, and then took his shot. The puck bounced off Thomas’s left pad, and went right through the 5-hole. Tampa had closed the gap to 4-3 at 7:48. Suddenly, Tampa was right back in this game. Tampa would go back on the powerplay after Chara was called for tripping on Stamkos at 10:18. The penalty-kill was much better for Boston this time around, allowing just 1 shot on net. The penalty was killed off, and the game remained 4-3. It was a crucial penalty kill, but the Lightning had the momentum now. Tampa had a 2-on-1 chance with Stamkos, but great stick work by Boychuck deflected his centering pass away. As Boston entered the attacking zone, Lecavailer would get called for hooking Brad Marchand at 15:04. Boston was back on the powerplay, but it was slow to start. With under a minute left, Kaberle set up the umbrella for Boston. He passed to the near circle to Seguin, who let a one-timer go. The puck was blocked by Roloson, but Ryder was in front of the net for a rebound attempt. He made it count, as he roofed a backhand into the net. Boston had taken a 5-3 lead at 16:16. Lecavailer givith, and Lecavailer taketh away! The Bruins were playing very aggressive now, and it almost cost them. Gange received a pass just in between the Bruins defenders, and he had a semi breakaway. With good back pressure from the D, Gange was forced to get a backhand shot off, and it went wide. Boston kept the pedal to the metal though, and Seguin again forced another play. Seguin stopped a clear by the Lightning, and made a behind-the-back centering pass to Kelly. His shot was stopped by Roloson, but a juicy rebound was found by Ryder again. He got a shot off skating through the slot, and into the back of the net. Boston was up 6-3 with just 19 seconds left in the 2nd period. The period finally ended, and Boston had scored 5 goals on Dwayne Roloson to take a 6-3 lead. Roloson had stood on his head in the 1st period, but the Bruins found a chink in the armor. Thomas hadn’t been great, but he had made some spectacular saves to keep the Bruins in the game. The key catalyst to the period was quite obvious. Tyler Seguin looked like a true pro, scoring 4 points in the 2nd period. The Bruins just needed to play smart hockey in the 3rd, and they would shut the door on this game.
Mike Smith switched in net for the Lightning to start the 3rd period. As the period started, a giveaway by Ference nearly resulted in a goal by the Lightning. Then as the Bruins brought the puck into the attacking zone, Tampa was called for interference. Dominik Moore knocked into a Bruin at the bench area, resulting in the penalty just 32 seconds into the 3rd. Nothing happening though on this powerplay, and the game remained 6-3. Hall had a takeaway in the neutral zone, and passed ahead to Stamkos. Stamkos just fired a bullet from high in the near slot, and scored under the bar blocker side. The lead was cut into, now 6-4 at 3:47. Tampa was controlling the puck early in the period, and Boston just seemed to allow it. The Bruins were not playing for offense, and they seemed content to just collapse around the puck. Stamkos had another chance in the slot, after Gange came up with a takeaway in the neutral zone. Thomas was strong on the ice, and kept the puck out. Another turnover in the Boston zone by the Bruins defense, and Tampa had a great scoring chance in the slot. Lecavalier and St. Louis worked a give and go in the far slot, but Thomas somehow made an extension with his right leg, and made the save. As the Bruins brought the puck up ice, the play would be blown dead. Nathan Horton would be called for elbowing at 10:07, and the Bruins faced a critical penalty-kill in this game, and series. Tampa just held the puck in the Boston zone, getting tons of shots on Thomas. Then Johnny Boychuck lost his stick with 30 seconds left in the penalty. Kreci tried to get him his stick, but it was dropped in transition, and Kreci picked it back up. That paid off actually, as Kreci stole a pass from Downie and cleared the puck. Boston killed off the penalty, and Claude Julien called a time-out to regroup his team. Things got very worse though, after a point shot from Headmen hit the far post, and then bounced across to the near post. The puck bounced to the far side of the net. The Lightning pounced on the puck, and Thomas lost his helmet when McQuaid inadvertently fell on him. No whistle was called, and the Lightning put the puck in the net. Thomas came up bleeding a bit above his left eye, and the puck actually bounced off him into the net. Just horrible officiating, and the game was now 6-5 at 13:15. Tampa came back with a rush attempt, and Ryan Malone crashed into Thomas after he made a save. Boston would go on the powerplay for goalie interference at 13:36. The powerplay was sad though, and the game remained 6-5. Tampa came with another big rush attempt. A shot was taken from the far circle that Thomas stopped, but the puck bounced right to Lecavalier with an open net now. Ryder clamped down on Lecavalier though, denying him a shot. Thomas dove across in an attempt to bock the shot, and now found himself on the ice, with his pads stacked. The puck was all alone in the near circle, and Marc-Andre Bergeron picked it up. He got a snap shot off on the sideways Thomas, but he stretched his glove arm up, and knocked the puck down. Thomas covered up the puck, and it was still 6-5. Tampa was attacking furiously now, as the game was under 2 minutes to play. Tampa emptied the net with a minute and a half left. After a blocked shot, Horton and Lucic were coming up ice in a 2-on-1. Horton passed across to Lucic at the near point. The Lightning defender hit the ice, and Lucic’s shot went wide. Tampa brought the puck back into the Boston zone, and had 30 seconds now to score. But it would not be enough, and the Bruins had won game 2, 6-5.
What an exciting game in Boston tonight. The Bruins dominated most of the 1st period, and all of the 2nd. The 3rd though, not so much. Let’s break it down, period by period. Boston allowed a goal 13 seconds into the game, and with 7 seconds left in the period. But all that time in between, they dominated. Boston had held the Lightning to 2 shots within a 15 minute span at one point. Lucic just missed cashing twice on the powerplay, but Horton eventually got a deflection goal. Boston had worked so hard for that 1st goal, especially with how good Roloson played in the 1st. He stopped 17 of 18 shots. That last second goal though, was very deflating. But, give the Bruins credit. They came guns a blazing in the 2nd period. That was all thanks to Tyler Seguin. The kid looked amazing, netting 2 goals on 3 shots, and adding 2 assists in the period alone. He helped the powerplay greatly, and injected life into the crowd, and bench. You could see his energy rubbing off on his teammates. With Bergeron most likely coming back for game 3 on Thursday night, Claude will now have some questions to face. He has to keep Seguin in, so who will he scratch for Bergeron? I think he should scratch Paille. Paille is only useful on the pk, and is replaceable on the 4th line. Claude should move Peverley to the 3rd line, and Kelly to the 4th line, and that would put Bergeron back on the 2nd line. Bregeron is desperately needed on the 2nd line, as Marchand and Recchi have been invisible in these 2 Lightning games. The 3rd period is what scared me in this game
Boston just sat back in the 3rd, and let Tampa right back into the game. The defense was very shaky in the 3rd, turning the puck over numerous times. Tampa had a couple breakaways, but Thomas stopped every one of them. The offense was not given any chances really, as they were too focused on not blowing this game away. That is a big problem. Claude needed to have them in attack mode once Tampa started to get some momentum back. They need to be focused on winning, instead of not losing. But great play by the defense late, allowed the bruins to escape with a 6-5 win. This was a game decided by 1 period. If Seguin didn’t get things rolling in the 2nd period for the Bruins, they easily could have lost this game.
Thomas was good, but not great in game 2. There were 2 goals that he could do nothing about. Those being the one that bounced off of Boychuck, and the one that hit Thomas in the face. That play should have been blown dead anyways, and I don’t think the puck didn’t appear to cross the line when it hit the posts. So I don’t think that goal should have counted. So if you take those 2 goals away, and Tampa only had 3 goals. And the Lecavalier powerplay goal was a softy. I expect Thomas to make that save next time he’s in that situation. Thomas will be better in game 3, but what about his counterpart? Roloson was outstanding in the 1st period, but was horrible in the 2nd. Roloson stopped 17 of 18 shots in the 1st, but only 4 of 9 in the 2nd. Look for both goaltenders to have a bounce-back game in game 3, and I expect a very low scoring game. Boston is a great team on the road, so I expect them to at least split the series in Tampa. But, I think it is more likely that they will win both games in Tampa. I expect Boston to win game 3, and take the lead in this series.
The Bruins stole a game in Philadelphia on Monday night, winning 3-2 in overtime. The game was stolen by Tim Thomas, who made 52 saves on the night. It was capped of by David Kreci, who, after review, had scored the game winning goal at 14:00 in OT. The Bruins were very fortunate to win this game, and are going to have to improve their play in order to win game 3. Chris Pronger was out with an undisclosed injury, taking away a huge presence on the ice for the Flyers. Philadelphia missed his play, as their defense allowed the Bruins to have more scoring chances, even though they outshot Boston 54-41. It was a very thrilling game, so lets see how we got there.
The game is on, and Philly scored. Philly had a 2-on-1 after a bad pinch by the Boston defense. Claude Giroux passed across the ice for van Riemsdyk who just got it into the net off the post. It was 1-0 Philadelphia, 29 seconds into the game. Another quick goal allowed by the Bruins. This is not going to bode well. Seconds later, Thomas would make a save, and he batted the puck out of the air. The puck went over the glass though, and it was a delay of game call at 0:48. The Flyers didn’t get a lot of chances, and Boston killed the penalty off. Philly dumped the puck into the Boston zone, when McQuaid was setting up in the corner boards. He stopped, anticipating pressure from Jordan Shelly. He hit him a little too hard into the boards, and Boston was now on the powerplay at 3:37 for boarding. Another powerplay without a goal for Boston. the number is now 0-27 for Boston. Boston was sustaining pressure though, and Kelly just missed a chance in the near slot. Boucher made the save with his glove and pad, and found the rebound right in front of his left pad. Boston would go back on the pk at 8:49, after Campbell was called for holding. Philly did a much better job controlling the puck this time around, and got pucks to Thomas. After a point shot by Timonen, there was a scramble at the net, and van Riemsdyk put the puck in the net again. It appeared to go in off the shin pads of Chara. A bad break early for Boston, but it was caused by relentless pressure by Philly. The Flyers had a 2-0 lead 9:31 into the 1st. Boston wasn’t playing great, but they were getting chances. The 3rd line of Kelly-Peverley-Ryder was getting plenty of chances. Peverley was coming through the Flyers zone, and Ryder had stationed himself right in front of Boucher. Peverley took a shot, and Boucher just got a right pad save. Ryder tried to jam the puck, and the puck trickled out into the crease. A charging Kelly tipped in the puck for a goal. Boston had closed the lead to 2-1 at 12:50. And another quick rush by the Bruins and Bergerons line created more trouble. Bergeron was set up in the low near circle, and he passed to Marchand high in the center slot. Marchand got a wrist shot off, and beat Boucher low glove side. Suddenly, Boston had tied the game at 2, just 1:25 in between both goals. Philly decided to shake things up. As Kreci and Versteeg were heading to their benches, Versteeg grabbed a hold of Kreci as he tried to get into the Boston bench. Versteeg proceeded to pull Kreci into the Philly bench, so Kreci took a few jabs at him trying to get him to let go. The refs would break it up, and both players would receive offsetting minors. It was now 4-on-4 for 2 minutes, at 15:04. Both teams had great chances late in the 4-on-4. The Bruins were caught in the middle of a change, and Timonen got a shot off in the slot. Thomas came out to attack the puck, and made a great save. The puck rebounded all the way to the blue line, and was picked up by Paille. He now had a breakaway, but Boucher made a kick pad save with his right pad. Philly brought the puck back into the Bruins zone. Adam McQuaid attempted to make a hit on Mike Richards at the near post. Richards sidestepped the hit, and McQuaid fell very awkwardly, face first into the boards. He laid on the ice for several minutes, but he would stand up, and skate off with some help. He would not return to the game. There was still 2:30 to play in the 1st, so on the game went. Philly was getting pressure back on the Bruins net. It was a very physical 1st, and the game was tied at 2 heading into the 2nd period.
The 2nd period started with pressure from Boston’s 1st line. Kreci missed a shot high glove side, and Boucher made a great glove save off a near circle shot by Seidenberg. The Bruins had a much better start to this period, controlling the puck in the Flyers zone. It was all Boston in the first 5 minutes, with the Bruins getting 5 shots on goal to Philly’s 1. But the Flyers were ever opportunistic, and created another 2-on-1 chance. This time though, a diving Boychuck stopped the puck during a centering attempt. Thomas jumped on the puck, and covered up. van Riemsdyk had a chance off the rush, trying to stuff the puck near post. Thomas tried to cover up, but the puck bounced into the crease. Andrew Ference acted as a second goaltender, taking up space in the crease. Zherdev had a chance on the rebounding puck, but Ference stopped the puck from going in. Boston’s 1st line brought the puck up ice, and got a shot on Boucher. Philly would get the puck back, and brought it into the Boston zone. There was a battle behind the Boston net against the boards, and the play would be whistled dead. Boucher apparently hurt himself on that last Boston chance, and would skate to the bench. Bobrovsky would come in at 11:01 in the 2nd, to replace an injured Boucher. Andrew Ference brought the puck into the Flyers zone, and went behind the net. He tried to get a centering pass out, but it would be turned over to Philly. Philly had a 2-on-2 up ice, and van Riemsdyk had another chance, centering a pass to Zherdev, but Thomas made a spectacular left to right leg save. Boston had their own numbers up ice, and Horton brought the puck into the far slot. He tried to center to Kreci, but the puck bounced off of Versteeg. The puck came right to Kreci, as Versteeg had run into Bobrovsky. Kreci had a wide open net, but his spin around backhand hit the near post. A huge break for the Flyers, and depressing miss by Kreci. van Riemsdyk had a semi-breakaway chance, and deked to the forehand, but his shot went wide. The tempo was up, late in the 2nd period. The 1st line of Boston was dominating the Richards line of Philly. They controlled the puck for over 30 seconds in the Flyers zone, but Bobrovsky made some terrific saves. A terrific check by Boychuck pinching in behind the Flyers net, and Philly retaliated. Scott Hartnell would receive a slashing call at 18:27. The powerplay looked good, but it was all by the Bruins 1st line. That 1st line of Horton-Kreci-Lucic was flat-out killing the Flyers. The period ended, and the Bruins had not scored. They would have 27 seconds of powerplay left when the 3rd started. We entered the 3rd, tied at 2.
Boucher was back in the game to start the 3rd, and the Bruins powerplay was up. Philadelphia came out firing, getting plenty of chances on Thomas early. Philly had a 3-on-2 coming through the neutral zone. As they entered the Boston zone, Giroux skated outside, and passed back inside to van Riemsdyk. It was now a 1-on-1 against Thomas, and Thomas closed up the 5-hole to make the save, and Seidenberg swept the puck away. Philly was setting up the puck behind Thomas. Marchand would hit Versteeg, and get called for cross-checking at 3:21. Philadelphia now had an early chance to take the lead with the man advantage. The Bruins pk was solid, not allowing any good scoring chances. But, right as the penalty was about to end, Claude Giroux took away a Boston pass. He passed behind the Boston defense to Briere, who had a breakaway. He made a head fake to the backhand, and tried to get a forehand shot off, but Thomas stuffed him to make a spectacular save. The Bruins were just able to avoid another powerplay goal. Philadelphia was maintaing puck control midway through the 3rd. van Riemsdyk was getting a ton of chances on Thomas, just tearing up the Bruins D. Philly almost had a goal on a wraparound chance. Thomas was looking one way, and the puck came the other. It was centered in the crease, but stayed out of the net. Some great pressure by Lucic though, and he poked the puck away from Zherdev. Lucic slowly skated into the far circle, and centered to Horton. But a spectacular right to left leg save by Boucher kept the Bruins off the board. That seemed to spark some life in the Bruins, and they sustained some pressure in the Flyers zone off the face-off. Chara had a one-timer opportunity, but he broke his stick on the shot attempt. Philly dumped the puck into the Bruins zone. Boychuck went behind the Boston net, and the puck bounced off of his skates right into the slot. Mike Richards was right there, and got a shot off, but Thomas made a great save and paddled the puck away. Then, as Philly was trying to bring the puck into the Bruins zone, Briere took a forearm shiver from Chara to the face. He would receive a roughing call at 17:19, and the Flyers had a big chance late on the powerplay. Tim Thomas was spectacular in net, and the Flyers were kept off the board. Boston would ice the puck with :04.2 remaning in the 3rd, forcing a key face-off in their own zone. It was a stalemate at center ice, when van Riemsdyk came in and wheeled around a shot on net. The puck bounced off of Thomas, and came right to Briere in the slot. He had a wide open net to shoot at, but just fanned on the shot. He had a follow-up shot, but it went right into the now prone Seidenberg. Boston escaped the 3rd period, still tied at 2. And boy, did they escape. Besides that last second chance, Thomas had made 22 saves in the 3rd period alone, for a total of 41 through the first 3 periods. Boston meanwhile, had just 7 shots on Boucher in the period. It was on to another overtime game for the Bruins.
The overtime started with some safe play by both teams, not wanting to allow any funny goals. The 1st line of the Bruins started getting pressure in the Flyers zone. Then the 1st line of Philly got pressure of their own. Giroux had a couple good opportunities, but Thomas made the saves. You could feel the momentum shifting towards Philly. Shawn O’Donnell took a shot from the point, that was knocked down by some bodies. Richards found the puck in the low circle, and got a backhand off. It hit the skates of Chara, and hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net. After getting off the ice, Chara headed down the tunnel. He would return momentarily though, which was a big sigh of relief for the Bruins. They could not afford to lose another defenceman, especially one that takes up as much space and minutes as Chara. Midway through the OT, the Flyers had 9 shots on goal, and Boston had just 2. Peverley stole a puck in the neutral zone, and skated right into the high slot. He got a wrist shot off, and hit the near post. The Flyers now caught a break in this OT, and the game remained tied. Philly took the puck right back into the Boston zone. The game narrowly ended off a deflection by Leino from a point shot, but the puck hit the side of the net. Boston would send the puck up ice, and on Boucher from their defensive zone. Boucher paddled the puck to the near side to Coburn. He passed around the boards, but the puck skipped by to Horton at the point. Horton skated to the far circle, and passed to David Kreci in the near slot. He got a wrist shot off, and beat Boucher for the game-winning goal. Or did he? The puck bounced back into play, and the referee signaled no goal. Now me, sitting in my chair in front of my computer, watching the game live, could tell that it was a goal. Play went on, but nothing serious happened. After the play was whistled dead, the refs reviewed Kreci’s shot. It became official, at 14:00 into overtime, the Boston Bruins had stolen one in Philadelphia, 3-2. (I saw a similar play live as well. On December 7, 2010, the Bruins beat the Sabers off a tip in by Recchi from a Seidenberg point shot. The goal hit the same exact spot, and bounced out of the goal. The refs looked at it, and finally called it a goal.) Anyways, the game was now over, and the Bruins now had a 2-0 lead in the series.
What a crazy game for the Bruins. This was a straight steal, they should not have won this game. The Bruins defense made turnovers constantly throughout the game. Most of them came after McQuaid was injured, which tells me that they were exhausted as the night wore on. The Bruins offense was only provided by the 1st line. A big change from what we saw against the Canadians. The Bergeron and Peverley line had some good chances, and the Campbell line provided little. It was the domination by the bruins 1st line that helped them win this game. But, above and beyond everyone else, Tim Thomas was the best player on the ice. Thomas stopped 52 of 54 shots, with 46 shots in a row including 22 in the 3rd period alone. He made one spectacular save after another, due to the bad turnovers by the Boston defense late in the game. And obviously, the Bruins powerplay needs to be fixed. 0-28, and counting. The Bruins have shown that they can win without the powerplay, so the real question is, how good would they be if the powerplay was working? I think they would be quite scary if they could get that man advantage going.
The Flyers played a great game offensively, but had another shotty game on defense. Boston controlled the 2nd period, and didn’t get a lot of chances in the 3rd or overtime. Even though, they had more scoring chances then the Flyers. That just shows how poor the Flyers D played. Philadelphia had plenty of scoring chances, but Thomas was just a brick wall. Going into game 3, the Bruins obviously have an advantage. They are up 2 games to none, and are heading back to Boston. The Bruins don’t play well on home ice, but they have they advantage of winning both games in Philly. I expect the Flyers to come out with a lot of energy in game 3, and be very physical like they were in game 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if Philly came out and won game 3 in Boston, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston wins game 3 either. After stealing game 2, Boston should be flying high. They are playing great, and Thomas is playing out of this world. With the struggles in Philly’s net, Boston could come out with the win if they are prepared. Philly just as easily could win this game. They lost the first 2 games on their own home ice. If Philly goes down 3-0 in this series, I don’t think they will make another miraculous comeback. Thomas is playing too good to allow that type of collapse. So it is significant that Philly wins game 3. If Philly splits in Boston, they can’t feel too confident going home, where the Bruins already won 2. So the Flyers desperately need to sweep in Boston to have a good chance to come back in this series. I said that the Bruins would win this series in 6, and I still see that happening. Of course though, I would love to see a sweep this year.
Before the game started, Chauncey Billups was officially ruled out. This is a huge blow for the Knicks, who are relying on him to get this team further into the playoffs. The first quarter was a back-and forth battle. Boston controlled the early stages, but the Knicks were able to go on an 8-0 run to end the 1st. The Celtics game-plan was get the ball to Rondo. He appeared to be the only Celtic who could score. Rondo had 14 points in the 1st alone. The Celtics took a huge blow though, when Jermaine O’Neal left with 3:44 left in the 1st quarter. Boston would take a 23-21 lead into the 2nd. The Knicks went on a 13-1 run to start the 2nd, but Amare Stoudemire was 0-6. He is somebody who has to score if the Knicks have any chance of winning. With 7:00 to go in the second, Jermaine O’Neal came back into the game. He had an apparent wrist injury, as his wrist was wrapped up tight. The second quarter became the Rondo and Anthony show. They were the only two who could score for their respective teams. Rondo had 18 points in the 1st half, and Carmelo had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Celtics bench is being outscored 15-7.
Amare Stoudemire was out with back spasms in the 3rd, and he did not return to the game. That was a huge blow for the Knicks. Yes, Anthony is lighting up the scoreboard, but they need Amare if they want to close this game out. Pierce had some huge blocks in the 3rd, and Ray Allen started to come to life, hitting 4 of 4 from 3-point range. The Knicks looked awful late in the 3rd. They couldn’t hit any shots, and went over three minutes without a FG towards the end of the quarter. Boston took a 74-68 lead at the end of the 3rd, and it looked like this game was over. Rondo was leading the team with 22 points, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce came to life with 18 and 16 respectively. The bench was providing nothing, but they were only taking on Carmelo Anthony. He was the only Knick who could score. New York started strong in the 4th. They were able to close the gap to 74-70. The Knicks eventually tied the game, and took the lead 78-76 on a 15-2 run. Anthony had the entire Knicks team on his back, and was doing a great job of getting them back into what had seemed like a done game. With 2:35 to go, Anthony nailed a huge 3-pointer to give him 42 points. New York took a 91-88 lead in the 4th. Pierce drove to the basket, and was fouled. He hit both his free throws to make it a one point game. New York set up in the Boston zone. A pass attempt was blocked, and picked up by Ray Allen. He got the ball to Rondo, who slowed the play down. He passed back to Pierce. With 1:14 to go, KG gets a huge dunk on a nice feed from Pierce. Boston now took a one point lead. But would there D hold it? On a crazy possession by the Knicks, including a missed lay-up by Mason, Jeffries eventually got the ball and put in a lay-up around Garnett. Knicks took a one point lead, 93-92. With 19.3 seconds on the clock, Garnett got the ball, and laid up a hook shot. He drained it, and now Boston was up 94-93. With 13.3 remaining, Mason inbounded and had it passed back to him. Mason got it to Anthony, who instead of shooting, passed it to Jeffries. He had a wide open lane, turned to pass, and KG got in his way. Garnett blocked the pass, and recovered it inbounds. On the floor Garnett was calling for a time-out. The ref came over to KG, and instead of calling a jump ball he looked at Garnett, and then gave him the time-out. That would all but end it for the Knicks. On the inbound to West, he was eventually fouled with just .6 seconds remaining. He hit both free throws, giving the Knicks one last heave. It missed horribly, and the Celtics took game 2 96-93.
In a hard-fought game, the Celtics were able to take game 2, 96-93. Neither team looked good early. Boston lost Jermaine O’Neal, although he did come back. Boston also got nothing from their bench. Rondo was basically their whole offense in the 1st half. I don’t mind him scoring a lot, but the rest of the team needed to get involved. Rondo ended the night with 30 points (career high) to lead the Celtics, along with 4 rebounds and 7 assists. New York had only one scorer as well, and that was Carmelo Anthony. He had 42 points to tie his playoff career high. Losing Stoudemire in the 2nd half was huge for this Knicks team. New York could have possibly won the game if he was in the game for the final possession. I would imagine that he would have hit the lane if he were in Jeffries position, and made the bucket. The 3rd period looked like the Celtics would easily run away with this game. But the Knicks came out very aggressive in the 4th. Melo was hitting everything, and it looked like he was going to win this game single-handedly. It was incredible to watch the lead evaporate for Boston. Boston can make a lot of improvements off of this game. They were out-rebounded 53-37, with plenty of offensive rebounds for New York. The Celtics still look like their missing something inside. If Stoudemire possibly gets back for game 3, the Knicks will dominate the inside. They need to do something about that, but I don’t know if they have any answers. Although, if Amare is out for game 3 or more, then Boston could wrap this series up in 4. Going into game 3, Boston looks in good shape to win the series. I think New York will win game 3, but look for the Knicks to come out flat in game 4 as a result. I think Boston will win this series in 5, possibly 6. For the Celtics to make a long run in the playoffs though, they need to improve their inside prescience, and get a better performance from their bench.