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Philadelphia vs. Boston Game 4 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
20:00 What a wild series. I don't think anybody expected this. Boston just dominated and never let Philadelphia into the series afetr winning in OT of Game 2. It was a clkinical dispatch for sure. Now Boston faces tampa Bay, who swept top seed Washington and has won seven straight. Boston has won 8 of 9 since dropping first two games of playoffs. Only down note on this night for Bruins is potential injury to Patrice Bergeron, who was walloped earlier in period and never returned. Thanks for joining me. See you next round.

Another empty-net goal. This one by Daniel Paille afetr Shawn Thornton missed two attempts at the empty net. GOAL, BOS 5-1.

Brad Marchand just scored an empty-net goal, a nice bit of reward for a player that has been dominant throughout this series. His turnover gave Philadelphia brief life, but now he can breath easier. GOAL, BOS 4-1

Bruins fans are certainly happy to slay the Flyers. It will be interesting to see what Bruins have to say afetr it is over. They have been so focused throughout series that they haven't reveled at all in what they have done. They are playing Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkicks right now and this place is bizzonkers.

Boston got the margin it needs to survive as Milan Lucic just scored completely against the run of play. Nathan Horton should geta ton of credit as well, as he took a clear and shoveled a hopeful pass into space that Lucic chased down and then broke in alone to beat a valiant Sergei Bobrovsky. It will be a lot easier to defend a two-goal lead for last five minutes. GOAL, BOS 3-1

Despite action at both ends, there have been few shots. Boston has just 3 and Philadelphia has 5. Boston has blocked a ton of shots and put sticks in passing lanes regularly. It should be an intense final eight minutes here. Philadelphia is a proud team that will not go down without its best effort.

Boston isn't going to get beat without its best on the ice, it seems. Claude Julien is basically riding a four-man rotation on defense right now. Most often it appears to be Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara together, while Andrew Ference is with Dennis Seidenberg. But there has been other variations in the rotation.

After a somewhat plodding first two periods, things have certainly picked up as action has gone up and down the ice. Patrice Bergeron has not returned for Boston and fourth-line center Greg campbell has taken his spot as pivot on second line for now.

So much for that theory. Johnny Boychuk, who has been a beast for Boston all night, scores with a slapper high to the glove side. It appeared to hit off the shaft of a Flyer defender out high. Two notes on this play,. The first is that Boychuk's shot came off the faceoff and that has been a bugaboo for Philadelphia here in Boston. It also came just seconds after Patrice Bergeron went to the dressing room after being absolutely flattened by Claude Giroux as play was leaving Boston zone. GOAL, BOS 2-1

Flyers killed the penalty, thanks to a pair of huge saves by Sergei Bobrovsky. Flyers seem to have momentum now

Third Period under way

End of second period, BOS 1, PHI 1; shots: BOS 20, PHI 13

20:00 Boston will have 97 seconds of power-play time to start the third period as Flyers kill off the first 23 seconds to get to intermission tied. Considering what has happened, Flyers have to feel good about being tied heading into final 20 minutes of regulation.

Flyers are playing with fire now. Team kills off Carcillo penalty, but takes another one in period's last minute. This time, Danny Briere holds Chris Kelly as he tries to take puck to the net.

16:55 Boston dominated play after Philadelphia PP ended and just drew a penalty on Danny Carcillo behind the play. Boston is 1-for-3 on PP, but has been dangerous. Penalty was caused in part because Carcillo, injured blocking a shot, could not get off ice and Flyers down-low coverage was put under additional duress. SZecond unwise penalty by carcillo, who has left the game. Ville Leino is serving penalty.

Tim Thomas has been huge at huge times for Boston. He just did it again with big save on James van Riemsdyk by holding the post. Penalty is expired and Boston can try to reset its game now.

More momentum for Flyers. Nathan Horton took a holding penalty in the defensive zone on first shift after goal. Philadelphia is o-for-2 tonight but can be dangerous on man advantage. Would be a good time to figure things out for orange-and-black.

Is this the moment that wakes up the Flyers? Kris versteeg just scored a sweet goal on a 2-on-1 play with Mike Richards that was caused by a turnover by Brad Marchand at the offensive blue lIne during 4-on-4 play. It's Versteeg's first goal of playoffs. GOAL PHI, 1-1

Boston said it would need its best game to eliminate Flyers and they are getting it so far. Bruins are winning every battle for the puck -- be it faceoffs, board battles, blue-line keep-ins or defensive-zone clears. Boston's third line of Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Chris Kelly just pulled off like a 90-second cycle that left Philadelphia's defense scrambling throughout. Shots are 5-2 this period. Boston will play at this pace all night.

The offense is just not coming for Philadelphia. They have just two shots this period. The last one, by Danny Briere, was a quality chance, but Thomas turned it away by throwing himself forward and blocking it with his face. Thomas has now stopped 130 of 138 shots in this series.

Bruins killed the power play without allowing a shot, despite having their best penalty killer -- Zdeno Chara -- in the penalty box. That has to be deflating for the visitors.

Second Period under way

End of first period, BOS 1, PHI 0; shots: BOS 13, PHI 6

What a crazy ending to the fisrt. Zdeno Chara momentarily lost his cool after Scott Hartnell bumped Tim Thomas in front of the crease, throwing gloved punches at the Flyer forward before others joined the scrum. Chara got 4 minutes and Hartnell got just 2, so Philadelphia will have 1:53 of power-play time to start the second period. It's a power play, though, that Thomas will be happy to try to kill. That is the second game in a row that Hartnell has bumped him and Bruins have answered both times.

It has been at least 12 minutes since Flyers had their last shot and they have just 5 in the game. The Flyers just have not had much zone time here in the first as Boston plays a disciplined game and clogs passing and shooting lanes. More quantity of shots is needed to soLve Tim Thomas.

Another penalty to the Flyers, this one a defensive-zone trip by the usually reliable Claude Giroux. Philadelphia has not shown great discipline so far. They need to channel their desperation in npositive ways.

There go two droughts at once. Milan Lucic scores his first goal in more than a month on a 5-on-4 power-play, Boston's first one-man advantage goal of these playoffs -- in 32 attempts. The goal came off a pretty Passing play by David Krejci and Nathan Horton. Krejci is just dismantling the Flyers this round. It has to be said that the penalty was an unwise one by Dan Carcillo, who crosschecked Gregory Campbell after a wraparound attempt. GOAL, BOS 1-0.

So far, the decision to go with Sergei Bobrovsky has paid off. He has looked good on the seven saves he has made so far as Boston has carried the play and had the bedtter opportunities in the first 10 minutes. Bobrovsky was especially sharp on a tip by Mark Recchi that went through two screens and was headed 5-hole before the Russian slammed his pads shut.

Wow, Boston's PP is looking a lot better. James van Riemsdyk took a hooking penalty two minutes ago and Boston spent whole power play in Flyer zone and had several good chances. The team is moving the puck with more authority and has a bit of confidence, which started showing in Game 3 even before Zdeno Chara's 5-on-3 goal late in the game.

Claude Julien spent the afternoon saying that a desperate team is a dangerous team because they bring desperation to their game. The Flyers might be more dangerous than most when they are desperate because they are big and physical. It'll be interesting to see how the Bruins handle their emotions if Philadelphia pushes the envelope physically.

One thing the Bruins don't want to do in this game is spend a lot of time in the penalty box. I can virtually guarantee that was on Claude Julien's whiteboard. Yet, there is Shane Hnidy, on his first shift, taking a slashing penalty on Jody Shelley of all people. Hnidy's already short leash may have just gotten shorter.

Game is under way. Bruins again had chance on first shift, but Patrice Bergeron could not get stick on Mark Recchi cross. On second shift, Sergei Bobrovsky made necessary glove save, which is good start for Flyers.

7:55 p.m.
Stan Jonathan is going to be the Bruins honorary captain tonight. There has never been a tougher 5-foot-8 man to play this game. My earliest hockey memories are of Stan just taking on all comers, no matter how big or how bad. He was a prototypical Bruin back in the day. He is certainly loved during his time here.

7:46 p.m.
It is now as official as it can be, Chris Pronger will not play in Game 4 -- at least until he comes limping out of the garden tunnel and onto the ice like a modern-day Willis Reed.

7:38 p.m.
All kinds of intrique here at the garden, as it should be. It appears Chris Pronger is on the roster sheet that was posted on a while ago, but he is not on the ice for warmups. I can't imagine he plays without taking warmups, but some writers up here believe it is all a smokescreen by the coach. One thing is certain, Jeff carter is on the ice for warmups for the Flyers and he is again in the lineup. Peter Laviolette said Carter was one of his best forwards in Game 3, but I didn't really see it. It'll be interesting to see how his knee responded to its first game action in two weeks and how much he can give tonuight.

6:58 p.m.
The worst-kept secret in sports has been confirmed. Peter Laviolette announced almost two hours ago that he was going with Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4. In my opinion, he really didn't have much of a choice. It's not even that Brian Boucher was all that bad, but he had lost the plot with Game 4's exit meltdown. Philadelphia needed new bloodif it tries to extend this series to Mother's Day. If Bobrovsky, who has been good in relief in all three games of this series, is your goalie of the future -- and all indications point to the fact that he is -- you have to show some faith in him in this spot. Here is Mike Morreale's news story on the switch and my reaction piece from the Bruins.

6:55 p.m.
Welcome to the Garden for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It's been a beautiful day here in The Hub, but now it is time to turn thoughts toward hockey. The game will be starting in a little more than an hour and I'll be your tour guide from now until the final whistle. So, sit back and enjoy. 
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