Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eastern Conference Semifinals - Game Three

Bruins center David Krejci has shown thus far that he could be an all-star on the first line. In the first two games, Krejci had 3 goals, 2 assists, and a +4 rating. His soft hands are breaking through the Philadelphia Flyers defense. When Marc Savard was with the team for about 25 games this season, Krejci was centering the third line where he saw significantly less ice time. When he became the Bruins top center and started playing with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, he has proved that he does belong on that top line.

It was reported earlier today that Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid did not participate in the morning skate and sat out tonight's game. He will be listed as day-to-day after suffering a sprained neck in game two. Veteran Shane Hnidy replaced him in the lineup as he was paired up with Tomas Kaberle. While we are on the subject of defense, the Bruins signed Ryan Button to an entry-level contract. He was drafted by Boston in the third round of the 2009 NHL entry draft. We hope to see Button up with the Bruins in the next couple of seasons, but tonight the veteran defensemen had to step up.

The Bruins wasted little time getting things started. They immediately put pressure on the Flyers defense as soon as the puck was dropped. Brad Marchand passed the puck from behind the net up to Zdeno Chara and his shot went into the goal. 33 seconds later, David Krejci scored his fifth goal of the playoffs on assists from Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic. The Bruins got 14 hits on the Flyers and some of them were devastating, specifically from Johnny Boychuk and Daniel Paille. Patrice Bergeron got called for a hooking penalty near the end of the first period, so they began the second period on the penalty kill. However, Boston had a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

I really do not think I have much to say about the second period....yeah right! The second period started off slow but the action quickly picked up. Nathan Horton dropped the gloves with Sean O'Donnell of the Flyers after a scrum in front of Brian Boucher (PHI). Why would Horton be so stupid and fight in this situation? So what if he gave him a shove to the face. He should have been more disciplined and because he chose to be a tough guy, his team was without him for five minutes.

Luckily, nothing happened in that five minute span. However, much happened after that span. The Bruins fourth line (Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille) had a 3-on-2 breakaway. As Thornton went hard to the net, that opened up space for Campbell to make a nice pass over to Paille and he put the puck into the net. Later in the period, Nathan Horton took the puck to the net and scored his fifth goal of the playoffs to put the Bruins up 4-0. He finished the night with a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight). Andrej Meszaros of the Flyers scored to bring Philadelphia back within three. The Bruins led 4-1 after two periods....did I mention that the Bruins chased Boucher out of goal again?

The third period was a real test for the Bruins. They had to be able to close out this game in preparation for what they will have to do to close out the series. They played simple hockey and tight defense while Tim Thomas was a brick wall yet again in net. At the end of the period, the Bruins had a 5-on-3 man advantage. After some quick passes Zdeno Chara blasted in his second goal of the game, ending the power play drought. They were 0 for 30 before the Chara goal. The Bruins win game three by a score of 5-1. Game four will be Friday at the TD Garden.

Gold Star: Zdeno Chara (2 goals, 1 assist, +4 rating, 5 shots on goal)

Black Star: Shane Hnidy...he only had four shifts which is understandable. But he made some mistakes during his short duration on the ice.

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