Sunday, March 27, 2011

Game 75: Black and Gold vs. Black and Orange

The Bruins were in action on back-to-back nights, yet it was rare to see them in action on a Sunday night. They faced the first place Philadelphia Flyers in one of their final road games this season. In fact, after tonight they only have two remaining road games left on their schedule.

Tim Thomas took the start in goal. Steve Kampfer and Michael Ryder were the healthy scratches for the Bruins (not really a surprise there). The first period was rather even as both teams each had 10 shots on goal. Boston fell behind 1-0 when Kris Versteeg scored his 20th goal of the season. Thomas kept the Bruins in shouting distance with some nice stops. That would be the score after the first 20 minutes.

In the second period, Boston seemed to pick up some energy. After Chris Kelly (BOS) almost had his leg taken off by a Blair Betts (PHI) trip, Nathan Horton scored his 23th goal of the season. This goal came four seconds into the power play. The rest of the period was somewhat slow. The puck spent most of the time in the neutral zone and both teams were on the defensive. Zdeno Chara had a great opportunity, but he hit the cross bar. Needless to say, the Bruins and Flyers remained tied at one after two periods.

In the third period, Philadelphia picked up their game. They were pressuring Boston during the early going of the period. On the Bruins side, center David Krejci took several hits in order to make a pass into the open zone. That showed just the type of tough player Krejci is; he was willing to take some punishment in order to benefit the team.

There was a point in the third period where Flyers captain Mike Richards caught Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle in the neck with a high stick. Richards went right over and shoved Kaberle, accusing him of selling the call. Are you serious? Kaberle is one of the most honest players in the league and that stick was right in his face. The officials arm could not have gone up any faster. On the other hand, Richards is the same guy who almost crippled Florida Panthers forward David Booth with a similar hit that Matt Cooke delivered on Marc Savard. Sorry Richards, you are not going to get the benefit of the doubt in that situation.

The power play that ensued the Richards high stick led to Brad Marchand putting Boston on top 2-1 by scoring his 20th goal of the season. Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi had the assists. After holding off the Flyers in the final seconds, the Bruins held on to win the game by a score of 2-1, thus clinching a playoff spot.

Gold Star: David Krejci...he only had one assist in the game. However, it was his play off the score sheet that stood out tonight. He had a physical presence, won key face offs, and he always makes beautiful passes to create scoring chances.

Black Star: Adam McQuaid...he has games of brilliance on certain nights and then he has games of lack-luster play on other nights. All he has to do is keep playing on a consistent level and he will be a dominant player in the playoffs.

Their next game will be Tuesday night at the TD Garden against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. This will be a great test to see how Boston can play against a Western Conference power house. The last time they played an elite team from the Western Conference was when they traveled to Vancouver and they defeated the Canucks.

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