Justin Florek's first career playoff goal got the Bruins on the board first as the Bruins evened up their series with the Red Wings thanks to a 4-1 victory on Sunday. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)
In just the second career playoff game for Justin Florek, the 23-year old Michigan native made a huge impact as the Bruins knocked off the Detroit Red Wings 4-1, tying up their best-of-seven series with the Wings at one.
Florek got the Bruins on the board first thanks to a pretty ugly turnover from Jimmy Howard. The goal was Florek’s first career National Hockey League goal.
“Yeah it was back and forth, couple of penalties to start the game,” said Florek. “Trying to get the flow back into the game. So yeah it was good to get that goal there and get everyone going.”
With the puck trickling down the ice into the Red Wings zone, Howard got rather aggressive, coming out of his net to play the puck. Howard tried to clear the puck out of the zone, via the boards, but instead the puck took a favorable bounce for the Bruins and Florek was left with an open net and the puck on his stick.
“Ah you know, to play it, yeah I thought he was and I just tried to read him,” said Florek in regards to Howard coming out to play the puck. “It was a lucky bounce, think it hit the defenseman and right to my stick. So it was the right spot at the right time I guess.”
Just over three minutes later, Reilly Smith decided to join in on the fun,--also notching his first career playoff goal--extending the Bruins lead to two. The pair of first career NHL playoff goals was all the Bruins needed on Easter Sunday.
“It’s huge, especially in playoff games. First goal usually dictates the game and usually ends up winning. So it was good to get those first two early, and I think it just gave us a little more energy and added a little extra intensity to the game,” Smith said about jumping out to a 2-0 lead.
Sunday’s tilt was a much better overall game for the Bruins. Despite being out-shot 35-29, the Bruins were the better team. Because of it, the Bruins are heading to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 with confidence.
Despite the impressive win in Game 2, the Bruins are not too comfortable just yet and they know they need to be just as sharp in Game 3.
“When you play one game, I don’t think it speaks much about the series. We have to go in there and make sure we continue to do those things well,” said defenseman Torey Krug who chipped in with two assists.
“I don’t think we can say we are comfortable. I think we understand on what it takes to beat these guys and I think if we play like that we will have success this series.”
With Chris Kelly (back) and Daniel Paille (concussion) unable to suit up for the second straight game, head coach Claude Julien called upon Florek yet again, and for the second straight contest, Florek didn’t disappoint.
The first-year forward was a big part of a perfect Bruins’ penalty kill as the Bruins held the Red Wings scoreless in four power play chances, Florek saw 2:12 of penalty kill time, fourth among Bruins forwards.
Playing most of the season with the Bruins’ minor league affiliate in Providence, Florek could be often found logging minutes on the “Baby B’s” penalty kill. Thanks to a similar system in Providence the transition to the NHL was an easy one for Florek.
“Yeah, I kill a lot [power plays] in Providence and you know it’s a big part of my game I think and something I contribute to the team,” Florek stated. “So it’s great to be able to come up here and do that and even be confident with it.”
Florek—who was the Bruins fifth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft—made his NHL debut on January 4, 2014 when the B’s hosted the Winnipeg Jets. In his third career NHL game, five days later, he registered his first career NHL regular season goal.
Although it wasn’t exactly how he envisioned scoring his first postseason goal, Florek’s tally will certainly help his confidence should he be in the lineup Tuesday night for Game 3.
“Yeah it’s great to get confidence and everything. To get that goal, it’s pretty cool, but it was just great to get the team going,” added Florek. “To put up a couple of goals like that, it was a good win for our team.”
See what Florek, Howard, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask, Shawn Thornton, Claude Julien had to say about Game 2.
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