By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
Returning back to home ice, the Bruins had a commanding 2-0 lead over the Flyers and looked to make it 3-0. It was uncertain if Adam McQuaid would be in the lineup, as in Game two, he was diagnosed with a sprained neck injury. If McQuaid couldn’t play, then Shane Hnidy would take his spot. Despite the countless bright spots for the Bruins in this series, there was still one uncertainty. That was their powerplay. In the playoffs, the Bruins were 0-28 on the power play, which needed to change asap.
Tyler Seguin was the only healthy scratch for Boston, and Zac Rinaldo was the only healthy scratch for Philadelphia. Tim Thomas would obviously get the start for Boston after an exhilarating performance in Game two. On the other side of the ice, Boucher would get the start despite a shaky first two games and injuring his hand in game two.
Bruins Make Quick Work
The puck was dropped, and Boston made early work on Brian Boucher right away. Just 30 seconds into game three, Zdeno Chara ripped one by Boucher, and it was 1-0 Boston. The quick work for Boston didn’t stop there, as just 33 seconds later, Krejci made it 2-0 Boston. A quick pass from Milan Lucic found Krejci in front of the net, and Krejci tipped it in past Boucher. With Boston leading 2-0 just 1:03 into game three, Peter Laviolette called a timeout to regain composure for his team. Boucher stayed in the net, and T.D Garden let Peter Laviolette know who was in the net for him.
11 minutes left in the period; the Flyers got a chance to halve the Bruins lead. Milan Lucic was called for goaltender interference, and Philly got the first powerplay opportunity of the night. Boston killed off the penalty, and they still had a 2-0 lead. Past the halfway mark, Philly started to get some quality chances on Thomas, but Thomas wasn’t letting anything by him. With the first intermission seconds away, Patrice Bergeron was whistled for hooking, and Philly had a powerplay for the last 16 seconds of the period. Philly didn’t score, and the first period was over. Despite Philly leading the shot total 12-10, Boston had a 2-0 lead.
Bruins Conitnue Domination
Second-period action was underway, and Philly started with 1:44 left on their powerplay. They weren’t able to score, and it was still 2-0 Boston. 3:31 into the second, a scuffle in front of Boucher led to Nathan Horton and Sean O’Donnell dropping the gloves. O’Donnell clearly instigated the fight, but both went to the box for fighting majors. 7:05 into the period, Riemsdyk was called for high-sticking, and Boston had a chance to take a commanding 3-0 lead. The pattern of not scoring on the powerplay continued for Boston, and they were now 0-29.
Despite their horrendous powerplay, the Bruins were able to dominate during even strength. In fact, six minutes later, Daniel Paille made it 3-0 Boston. A 3-on-2 breakaway that involved Gregory Campbell finding Paille open on the left circle resulted in Paille netting a crisp wrist shot. 1:25 later, Nathan Horton wanted to really open up this game, and he was able to make it 4-0 Boston. Horton picked up his second point of the game after beating Boucher five-hole. Boucher was pulled for the second game in a row, and Bobrovsky was substituted in.
A smidge over a minute later, the Flyers finally got on the board after Andrej Meszaros beat Thomas short side. Boston would get another powerplay opportunity in the last three minutes but couldn’t score again and was now a dismal 0-30. Nonetheless, Boston had full control of this game and took a 4-1 lead into the third period.
Bruins Win/Lead Series 3-0
The final 20 minutes of action was underway, and not a lot of action was happening in this period. Philadelphia was getting more shots on the net than Boston, but Thomas was a brick wall, not letting anything by him. Philly was desperately trying to get any sort of advantage in the period. Whether it was trying to initiate a fight or draw a call, Boston wasn’t having it. Fast forward to the 18:06 mark of the period, the Flyer’s hopes of coming back were diminished when Mike Richards was called for hooking, and Boston had a chance to break their 0-30 goalless powerplay.
Just eight seconds later, Braydon Coburn was whistled for cross-checking, and Boston was on a 5-on-3 powerplay for at least the rest of the game. 24 seconds into the 5-on-3 powerplay, Boston had done it, and they had finally broken the goalless powerplay streak. Chara blistered a slap shot past Bobrovsky, and it was 5-1 Boston. The remainder of the period eased by, and Boston had a commanding 3-0 series lead.
For the second year in a row, the Bruins had a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers. This year they wanted a different result than last year, obviously. A lot of positives to take away from this game for Boston. One, they finally converted on the powerplay; two, they got on the board early and were able to force Boucher to be pulled from the net again, and third, they were able to stay out of the penalty box while playing a physical game.
Philadelphia led the game in shots on net with 38 compared to Boston, who had 28 but, Boston took advantage of weak goaltending and converted on chances when needed. The three stars of the game were Brad Marchand (one assist, three shots on goal), Tim Thomas (37 saves on 38 shots), and Zdeno Chara (two goals and one assist). The series would resume May 6th back at T.D Garden, and Boston looked to do what they couldn’t do last year, and that was to sweep Philadelphia.