BOSTON – Bring on the Lighting.
|Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, right, celebrates with goalie Tim Thomas as Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle (12), of the Czech Republic, and Andrew Ference, second from left, come into the celebration after the Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 in Game 4 in a second-round NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston Friday, May 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
With their 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in TD Garden, the Boston Bruins completed the sweep, rewrote history, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years.
“All year long you are building for these moments,” said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
The first period was filled with penalties and Boston scoring opportunities. Five Flyers were whistled for minors, and Boston sent three players to the box while out-shooting Philadelphia 13-6 in the period.
The Flyers placed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in between the pipes to start the game. The change from Brian Boucher, who started the first three games of the series, didn’t give the Flyers the spark they were looking for, as Boston dominated much of the opening frame.
Milan Lucic got on the board for the first time this postseason with a power play tally 12:02 into the game. Center David Krejci took the puck off the half-boards and slid it along to Nathan Horton who was waiting at the left post. Horton then slung the pass to Lucic who was camped in front of the net. Lucic buried the Bruins second power play goal of the postseason.
“it was obviously exciting,” Lucic said. ”It was the second round of the playoffs with a chance to close them out. Obviously, like I said, it’s a monkey off my back for me. And also, it’s a goal to come one step closer to moving to that next round.”
Boston took the 1-0 lead into intermission.
With their season on the line, Philadelphia wasn’t going to go down easy. Forward Kris Versteeg tied the game up with his first postseason tally at 13:22 in the second. Versteeg controlled a Brad Marchand turnover in the neutral zone and went on e-on-one with Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, slipping the puck past him.
“We really didn’t want to go back to Philly,” Marchand admitted after the game. “If they were to steal tonight, we got back to Philly and anything can happen. It is not a place we want to go. It was nice in front of our home crowd and they were right with us.”
Philadelphia continued to pressure allowing Boston only seven shots in the second period while laying seven of their own on Thomas.
“We had to weather that storm,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
“I thought we did a pretty good job, guys blocking shots and then staying in the battles and then we did a great job until…we got that third goal, which was a big goal and certainly. It relieved a lot of pressure.”
Although they took the 2-2 tie into the second intermission, it wasn’t long before Boston was back on top.
Just 2:42 into the final stanza, defenseman Johnny Boychuk blasted a rocket past Bobrovsky for the game-winning goal. The shot came from the right point off the faceoff and was Boychuk’s second tally of the postseason.
“I was very happy and especially happy that Johnny Boychuk scored. He has been great for me all year, I love playing with him,” Thomas said. “And at the time I was just trying to get refocused because I knew there was a lot of hockey left.”
Just for good measure, Lucic knocked in his second of the night on a Krejci-created rush at the 15:03 mark. Horton picked up his second assist of the night on the goal.
Brad Marchand then added an empty-net goal and Daniel Paille capped the scoring with his own empty-netter with less than thirty seconds to go.
“We were up three-nothing and we want to make sure that when we have that chance to close it off, we wanted to close it off and we did,” Boychuk said.
“We had everybody going tonight.”