By: Mark Harriman, Editor
PHILADELPHIA (April 30) – The Bruins and Flyers met for a Game 1 of a playoff series for the sixth time in their history this afternoon and the result was the same as the previous five meetings: a Boston victory. Only this time it was a 7-3 drubbing of Philly to kick off the festivities.
David Krejci (two assists) and Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece in a lopsided game that saw Philly goaltender Brian Boucher pulled at 17:14 in the second period after giving up his fifth goal of the game. Helpers were aplenty, with blueliner Dennis Seidenberg (two) and Patrice Bergeron (three) also getting into the scoring act multiple times.
The Bruins’ Game 1 win streak dates back to the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals, though the Flyers took The Cup 4-2 and have won three of the previous five series, including last season’s disastrous four game collapse by Boston.
While Krejci wasn’t even born in 1974 , he vividly remembers last year’s conference semi-finals, when he went down in Game 3 with a season-ending wrist injury and had to watch as him teammates went down in ignominious defeat after jumping out to a 3-0 series lead.
Sitting at the press room podium after the game, Krejci admitted that while he tries to concentrate on the here and now, last season’s disappointment has its lingering effects.
“Yeah, kind of. I try not to think about what happened last year, but it’s in the back of my head,” he said while proudly wearing the team’s new 1980’s windbreaker, an award recently started by defenseman Andrew Ference for the player who has the best game.” So you don’t forget these things that often. But I try not to think about it almost at all. It’s hard but I just tried to stay focused for the game and my teammates helped me out today.”
The Bruins started this one fast and stay focused they did.
Krejci started off this puck-fest not even two minutes into the first period when he took a Nathan Horton pass and backhanded one past Boucher, much to the delight of Boston management, who let out a loud, but approving “Yes!” after their team took a 1-0 lead.
But Philly tied the game 1-1 at 11:02 on Danny Briere’s windmill shot past Tim Thomas with Horton vainly in tow.
Horton more than made up for that defensive lapse with 0:36 left on the clock in the first period when he grabbed his own rebound from a Dennis Seidenberg pass and flipped it around Boucher to grab some momentum heading into the first intermission.
But while Boston’s offense went on a roll in the second period and opened up a 5-1 lead, thanks to goals by Mark Recchi, Krejci and Marchand, the Bruins’ power play remained on life-support and the call has seemingly been made to administer Last Rites.
When they finished off Montreal earlier this week, the Bruins became the first team in NHL history to win a seven game series without scoring a power play goal, opening up an ungodly 0-21 streak. And after five more changes against the Flyers today down on Broad Street, the futility has stretched to 0-26.
In his pre-game press conference, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if he had found the answer to his powerplay over the past few days. “No comments,” he said with a wry smile and the slightest hint of a chuckle. “I said I wasn’t answering those questions anymore.”
And his team preferred to dwell on their positive performance on the afternoon, particularly that of Krejci.
“Yeah. Great game. Great way to start,” Nathan Horton said after the game. “(Krejci) definitely played amazing tonight and it showed on the score sheet, but off that he was pretty good for us……He is a special player. We want him to have the puck as much as possible and he creates so much off that. And he gives everyone else a chance to score and a chance to be in the play.”
“He was great all game tonight and it helped us a lot,” said assistant captain Patrice Bergeron (three assists), whose line was a positive factor on the ice after a somewhat lackluster Montreal series. “The whole line, I thought, was good.”
Over in the other locker room, Flyers goalie and Rhode Island native Brian Boucher was asked about the third and fourth goals he let up to Boston and he was candid in his response. “I let in so many, I can’t remember the third one. I can’t recall right now….So it’s not a good afternoon. But we move on and get ready for game two.”
In switching goalies from Boucher to Sergei Bobrovsky in the second period, it marked the fourth time in the past eight playoff games that Philly coach Peter Laviolette had his hand forced. “Certainly, you don’t want to do that, but tonight I think that just based on the way we played in front of our goaltender, we as a team deserve all of the responsibility as far as that goes. But it is certainly not where you want to be.”