PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Bruins' 4-1 victory Wednesday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Philadelphia Flyers didn't come without a price.
Second-line center David Krejci and third-pair defenseman Adam McQuaid both left the game with injuries early in the first period and didn't return. The Bruins said both players are being evaluated and their conditions and availability won't be known until Thursday morning.
"I know Krejci has gone to the hospital to be evaluated a little closer, and we'll have some news on him probably later on," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Adam McQuaid is being evaluated. I don't know at this moment whether he's done for next game or whether he'll be fine. We'll probably have a lot better indication of all that stuff by tomorrow."
Krejci was hurt when captain Zdeno Chara fed him an outlet pass at the Bruins' blue line and Flyers captain Mike Richards drove a shoulder into Krejci's chest. Krejci was able to head-man the puck to Milan Lucic; he passed to Miroslav Satan, who scored the go-ahead goal to extend his playoff scoring streak against the Flyers to 13 games. Satan now has 24 points, including 11 goals, in 24 playoff games against the Flyers.
Three Flyers, Richards, Dan Carcillo (who stumbled over a fallen Krejci) and Matt Carle, who stepped up on the play, were out of position, leaving Chris Pronger to defend the 2-on-1 break. Lucic drew Pronger to him before sending Satan in alone.
A few minutes earlier, McQuaid, whose puckhandling blunder led to the Flyers' goal, bumped someone on a line change and went to the dressing room, never to return.
McQuaid, a rookie, was benched in Game 1 after taking back-to-back penalties but, in general, had been playing well alongside Andrew Ference. The Bruins are hoping Mark Stuart, who has missed 13 games with an infected finger, will be able to return for Game 4 here Friday (7 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN, RDS).
Despite playing with 18 men to the Flyers' 20, the Bruins were able to maintain their lead into the third period and then extended it to 3-1 on Mark Recchi's pinball, power-play goal at 2:30 of the third period. Patrice Bergeron got an empty-netter at 18:08 to complete the win.
The injuries forced Julien to do some shuffling. Recchi, Marc Savard, Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk handled increased responsibility on the penalty kill. Blake Wheeler went back on the power-play second unit.
"We had a short bench and we had to really dig deep," Bergeron said. "It was pretty hot out there. We just need to keep our shifts short and also, I thought everyone stepped up and everyone did a great job. It was really a team effort tonight."
"It was certainly a big test for us," Julien said. "You understand the intensity of those playoff games. For us to keep as many guys as fresh as we could was a huge task. I thought our guys did a great job in the third period, probably the most important period of this series so far, as far as I was able to utilize the whole bench and it was everybody's responsibility to do the job.
"It made it harder to match, so we didn't pay as much attention to matching more than making sure we had some fresh guys out there. Guys did a good job of getting pucks out of our own end and making sure for the most part that we got them deep in the other end."
Open-ice hits were once a big, big part of the NHL but there's been an emphasis on prioritizing good positioning over hits in recent years. Richards was out of position after the hit and Carcillo fell over the carnage. Carle tried to step into the void and that left a 2-on-1 that produced a goal.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was asked if Richards should have tried for the puck rather than the hit.
"I didn't see an opportunity for Mike to take the puck, I saw an opportunity for him to take the body," Laviolette said. "He made a clean hit, it was a good hit, and you can't control the fact that Dan Carcillo on the backcheck got taken out of the play by bodies going to the ice. You know, I don't know what to say to that. I don't think there's a defense for that."
For their part, the Bruins had nothing negative to say about Richards' devastating hit.
"None at all," Julien said. "It was a clean hit. No issues there."
Clean but potentially costly for the Bruins.