BOSTON – The Bruins scored a power play goal, Nathan Horton picked up the "Gordie Howe hat trick" and Boston increased their series lead to 3-0 with a 5-1 victory in TD Garden tonight.
|Horton (18) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period of Game 3 in a second-round NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston, Wednesday, May 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
The power play goal came with under two minutes remaining in the game. With both Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn in the box for Philadelphia, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
blasted the shot past Flyers replacement goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the 5x3 tally.
It was the first power play goal of the postseason for Boston.
“It doesn’t mean that it’s all over now,” Chara said of the goal. “We know that we have things to improve on, there are areas we can probably do better at, but I thought tonight and even last game before tonight we created some good chances, really good scoring chances. We just needed that bounce. So it’s nice to score.”
It was the Bruins first power play goal of the postseason but it was the second goal of the evening for Chara.
Chara got things started for Boston just 30 seconds into the affair. The big defenseman blew a slap shot past Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher to give the B’s the 1-0 lead.
Boston knew that wouldn’t be enough and center David Krejci quickly followed up the Chara bomb with a wrister that found its way past Boucher at the 1:03 mark in the first. Krejci took advantage of a feed from linemate Milan Lucic who used his size to collect the puck behind the Flyers’ net.
“Well, they’re playing me hard, that’s for sure. They’re letting me know that it’s going to be a tough one, but the puck’s going in for me. That’s the biggest difference from the series [against Montreal],” Krejci said of his production.
Despite two power play opportunities -- one of which extended into the second period -- the Flyers weren’t able to get on the board.
Left wing Daniel Paille got Boston’s fourth line on the score sheet with his first career postseason goal at 13:49 in the second. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk broke up Philadelphia’s possession in Boston’s offensive zone, starting the three on two rush to the Flyers’ zone. A centering pass from Campbell set up Paille’s tally.
It wasn’t long after until Boston’s top line was back in the light with a goal from Nathan Horton. The tally gave the winger a Gordie Howe hat trick. Horton collected the assist on Krejci’s goal in the first period and then fought Sean O’Donnell early in the second.
“He plays with an edge. He’s a [heck] of a hockey player,” forward Shawn Thornton said of Horton. “I mean he’s a hell of a hockey player, I know he is, but even more effective when he plays with an edge and he’s had that all playoffs.”
Horton’s goal prompted a goalie change for Philadelphia, as Bobrovsky replaced Boucher in net. It’s the third time in as many games that the Flyers have made a goaltending change.
The shutout wasn’t an option for Thomas heading into the third, as Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen netted the Flyers first goal at 17:29 in the second, but Boston took the 4-1 lead into the second intermission then added Chara’s power play tally for the eventual 5-1 victory.
“Tonight we played a very good game I think. We got good offense. Good defense. We kept their great scoring chances to a minimum that’s for sure, especially compared to last game. It was a good win,” said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
“That motto I just said; one game at a time, one period at a time, and one shift at a time. We approach it like that.”
The Bruins and Flyers will square off in what could be the decisive Game 4 on Friday night in TD Garden with an 8 p.m. tilt.