Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins might not win the Cup this season, but that’s not the point. The Cup is a realistic goal now. And it will remain a realistic goal for the foreseeable future.
In the midst of all this, let us pause and note that the Bruins have rebuilt themselves from the ground up, partly as the work of Mike O’Connell, partly as the work of Peter Chiarelli, partly as the work of Claude Julien and others. The players also should not be overlooked. The luster has been restored to the spoked “B’’ that serves as the team’s logo — it will not be fully restored until there is a Cup to celebrate — and the Bruins are where they are because of shrewd drafting and decision-making.
Let’s look at the big picture here. In the last four or five years, O’Connell and Chiarelli have drafted and/or signed everyone from David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Marc Savard to Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara. Phil Kessel was drafted and flipped to the Maple Leafs for three draft picks, one of whom will be Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall. The Bruins are young and talented, a combination that will serve them well for years in the salary cap world of professional sports.
from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe,
...But the only story that matters is this: This series isn’t over.
Predictably, the word character was thrown around the Flyers’ locker room. Mercifully, no one was heard uttering the words desperate and hockey in the same sentence. In fact, I never heard the word desperate at all. The Flyers may have been trailing the series, three games to none, but they were not defeated in any sense because they truly believed the series could just as easily have been 3-0 the other way. That may not have been entirely true, but that’s the way they felt.
“We don’t want to sit here and complain,’’ said goaltender Brian Boucher. “But I don’t think we got that many breaks to this point. We’re happy to get this win and get off the schneid.’’
Simon Gagne returned from an injury and scored the OT goal.
Game 5 is Monday night in Boston.
added 10:50pm, Video of the game winner.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
If Peter Laviolette is right, if desperation is more powerful than momentum in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Flyers should be locks to win Game 4 on Friday night at the Wachovia Center.
They couldn’t be any more desperate.
Facing the disgrace of a series sweep on their home ice, it would be surprising if the Flyers didn’t find a way to win at least one game. The sweep-avoiding win seems like a fairly common phenomenon. Nevertheless, according to WhoWins.com, which tracks such things, teams leading three games to none in a series complete the sweep about 65 percent of the time.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Tuukka Rask didn’t even make it onto the rookie of the year ballot (Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, Colorado’s Matt Duchene and Buffalo’s Tyler Myers are this year’s finalists), but the Bruins netminder has his eye on another piece of hardware, the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
more and other observations from last night…
from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe,
The Flyers tried a few motivational tricks to engage their crowd. They jazzed up Lauren Hart’s pregame “God Bless America’’ by interspersing clips from a long-ago Kate Smith performance. They introduced injured tough guy Ian Laperriere (who nearly lost an eye this season) on the big screen during the second period. Nothing helped.
It was a clinic in crowd control. The Bruins took the heart out of the patrons with those two quick first-period goals. From that point on, every errant Flyer pass, every giveaway, and every blown scoring chance was met with that combination of groan, moan, and disgust that only truly pained home crowds can make.
There were scattered boos as early as the first period and there were Serious boos in the third. The big exodus began with 3:20 left, which means several thousand people never saw Patrice Bergeron pick off a pass and deliver the empty-netter with 1:52 remaining.
All this made those six or eight brave Bruins fans seated in the upper reaches extraordinarily happy, no doubt. As any good sports fan knows, there is no better feeling on earth than being present when your team wins a big one on the road.
via James Murphy of NESN,
Reports coming out of Philadelphia claimed that Krejci had a broken wrist and was done for the season. Obviously, that’s hard news to take, but this Bruins team just seems to chew it up and spit it out.
Bruins with only 19 shots compared to 35 for the Flyers, win 4-1 to go up 3-0 in the series.
from Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe,
The irony didn’t occur to many of the 17,565 in attendance, as they joyously jumped up and down celebrating yet another one-goal playoff win by the Bruins Monday night at TD Garden by serenading their skating idols to the strains of the Standells’ “Dirty Water.’’ Yup, it’s still not safe to sip the H20 around town, but it is encouraged to drink in the playoff run of the team that plays on iced-over aqua.
The Bruins are now two wins from their first conference final since 1992, when Mario Lemieux was the star of the Penguins and not the team’s owner.
The Bruins have tapped into the passion for pucks in this town, which had been dormant this season, much like the beat-up and belittled Bruins, and it’s overflowing with goodwill with the Bruins up two games to none in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series with the Flyers.
from Jerry Spar of the Big Bad Blog at WEEI,
Asked about advice the 42-year-old veteran gave to the team’s younger players, Recchi said: “This is a great time of year right now. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Don’t let the pressure grab you. If you do that, you’re going to really have a good time with this and we’re going to be a better team for it.”
The Flyers have been trying to get under the Bruins’ skin in the first two games, but Recchi said all they’ve done is “wake the sleeping giant.” Said Recchi: “When we get involved in these games, we seem to really get the emotion and are able to play a better hockey game.”
Recchi said the key reason for the Bruins’ late-season turnaround was the team sticking together. “We believed in ourselves in the dressing room, and what we were trying to do,” he said. “We knew we weren’t consistent, so we really didn’t give [the fans] a lot of reasons to believe in us….”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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