-- The goals just keep on coming. Welcome to Miroslav Satan
's ongoing sweet revival.
After scoring the go-ahead goal to give the Boston Bruins
a 2-1, second-period lead and assisting on Milan Lucic
's game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers
in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, Satan has 10 goals and 23 points against the Flyers in 23 career playoff games.
He also leads the Bruins in playoff scoring with four goals and five assists in eight games.
Satan started his own scoring play with hard work behind the Flyers' goal line, moving the puck up the left boards to center David Krejci
, who passed to Matt Hunwick
at the left point. Hunwick passed to defensive partner Dennis Sideman on the right and he sent it down the right boards to Blake Wheeler
, who found Satan waiting in the faceoff circle. The one-timer was past Flyers goalie Brian Boucher
before he knew it.
"It was a nice, patient play down the boards, and Blake Wheeler
found me on the circle and I was able to beat him five-hole," Satan said.
Linemate Milan Lucic
's game-winner was a similar play in that Lucic started the play with a big hit on Ryan Parent
, and it was Satan who sent the puck back behind the goal line for Krejci's pass to Lucic with 2:57 remaining in regulation.
"That was one of the good fortunes we had today and we were able to get the puck and score one goal finally," Satan said. "For most of the night, we made good plays in the zone and were able to see each other and exchange pucks and switch spots quickly, so this created problems for them and this was one of the situations where we were able to score."
Once a great scoring star with the Buffalo Sabres
and more recently a role player in the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins
' Stanley Cup victory, Satan sat out the first half of this season -- but don't use the word "unemployed" to describe his situation.
Satan corrected a reporter last week by explaining he "wasn't unemployed. I wasn't working and didn't know if I wanted to."
Satan eventually signed with the Bruins on Jan. 2, in part to get in shape to play with the Slovakian Olympic team, which he helped to a best-ever fourth-place finish with a goal and an assist in six games.
"From day one, he's been getting better and better," Bruins coach Claude Julien
said. "Obviously, a guy who comes in halfway through the season has got a lot of catching up to do. At first, it was letting him find his game a little bit and we were managing his ice time.
"You could see that this guy has experience and he has experience in big games as well. He was part of a Stanley Cup team last year. He's been through those situations. When we talk about guys who have experience, he's one of those guys. He's showing it. He's calm and very poised, very good with the puck, and seems to have good chemistry with Krejci.
"He's been a real good addition and you have to give management credit for that one, to bring him in. Right now, he's so useful with the injury to Marco Sturm
and other things that have happened to us, he's just stepped in and done a tremendous job."
Satan can look back on a career in which he's scored 363 goals and 725 points in 1,050 games going back to 1995. He started with Edmonton and has also played for the Islanders.
But it's in the playoffs, particularly against the Philadelphia Flyers
, that Satan has been at his best. He has 20 goals and 53 points in 81 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"I didn’t know about it until they told me this morning," Satan said of his dominance of the Flyers. "We’re just trying to win the series and I’m trying to help the team, so it’s my focus."
There's no question Satan is a little different. He's very proud and if he doesn't like a question, he'll take a reporter to task in his soft-spoken way. Asked to describe his strong play in the playoffs, he responded, "Why should I explain it? It's your job. I don't have to explain it."
"You could see that this guy has experience and he has experience in big games as well. He was part of a Stanley Cup team last year. He's been through those situations. When we talk about guys who have experience, he's one of those guys. He's showing it. He's calm and very poised, very good with the puck."
-- Claude Julien
That pride extends to national pride. A reporter, realizing that Krejci and Satan grew up in Czechoslovakia before the countries split in 1993, asked him if he and Krejci, a Czech, speak to each other on the ice in a language other than English.
"Well, I speak Slovak and he speaks Czech …" Satan started.
"Come on, you speak Czech," he was challenged.
"I understand. I could speak it if I tried, but it's no need. We both understand our language. Like I said, we don't speak on the ice. There's no need, we just play."
Krejci had a different story.
"We speak in our language on the ice so that helps, too," Krejci said. "But I know what he can do. He has great hands, so we try to help each other out there and that's what's happening right now. He's hot lately, so hopefully he'll stay hot and I'll try to help him as much as I can."
There's no question Satan marches to a different beat and right now, that beat is banging in the Flyers' heads like a big bass drum.