Players lost as games are won
PHILADELPHIA — Welcome to the Stanley Cup: the Black and Gold “Survivor’’ series.
The Bruins moved to a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers last night with their 4-1 win over the distant sons of the Broad Street Bullies, but the bold step toward their first trip to the Eastern Conference finals in 18 years came with troublesome bumps and bruises. Injuries sidelined center David Krejci and defenseman Adam McQuaid most of the game and most likely will keep both out a while longer.
Krejci, caught by Mike Richards with his head down as he moved the puck out of his zone in the first period, was being examined at a local hospital when the Bruins departed the Wachovia Center. A report by Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, unconfirmed by the Bruins, said Krejci suffered a fractured wrist and was headed to a Baltimore hospital for surgery. If so, the 24-year-old pivot likely would be out at least 3-4 weeks, or possibly the remainder of the postseason.
A source with direct knowledge of Krejci’s injury said he did not suffer a concussion, as was first suspected. When a Globe reporter presented the possibility of a wrist injury, the same source said, “You are resourceful.’’
McQuaid, smoked by a Flyer forechecker behind his net, walked with a slightly twisted upper body as he made his way to the team bus.
“I’m not sure if he is done for the next game,’’ said coach Claude Julien, speaking of the rookie blue liner, “or if he’ll be fine.’’ Based on McQuaid’s labored gait, it’s more likely the former.
Richards, who early in the season blasted David Booth with a menacing check that left the Florida forward with a severe concussion, moved in on the advancing Krejci and nailed him high with a heavy shoulder check just after Krejci received a pass from Zdeno Chara. The heavy belt dropped him to the ice, perhaps then causing him to wrench the wrist in the fall.
“Not at all,’’ said Julien, asked if he had any issue with the Richards hit, in light of the many controversial hits throughout the league this season. “It was a clean hit. No issue there.’’
With less than seven minutes gone in the first period then, the Bruins were all but posting “Help Wanted’’ adds on Craigslist. Both Krejci and McQuaid followed one another down the runway to the dressing room.
Krejci was easy prey for Richards at the 5:40 mark. Richards met him straight on, drilling his right shoulder up around Krejci’s chin. After groggily dusting himself off, but in obvious pain, Krejci made his way to the bench, where he sat with his head down, sometimes giving it a shake, before lumbering off to the dressing room.
McQuaid, seeming to limp as he made his way down the hall, was hurt on the shift immediately prior to his departure. According to a source who talked with McQuaid after the game, he did not suffer a shoulder injury. A twisted upper body, akin to how McQuaid walked to the bus, often indicates an injury to a spinal disk. Earlier in the period, paired with Andrew Ference, he failed to keep the puck in the offensive end, leading directly to the Flyers’ only goal.
“The first two games were really physical, too,’’ Julien said following the morning workout at Wachovia. “Every time we hook up, it’s a really physical game.’’
Last night was no different and the Bruins got the worst of the physical back and forth. With Krejci and McQuaid both gone, only 11 skaters occupied the bench during play. Lots of room. For the wrong reason.
“When your bench is already short,’’ said Julien, already without regulars Marco Sturm (knee), Dennis Seidenberg (wrist), and Mark Stuart (finger infection), “you don’t want it to be shorter. We didn’t panic. Our goalie came up big and everyone did their job — we did a good job of not panicking.’’
The fear entering the game was that the Flyers would try to bait the Bruins into dumb retaliation penalties, leaving the Bruins shorthanded. Turns out, they were shorthanded, and far worse than if they only had guys sent off to the penalty box. But they were on the right side of the scoreboard, thanks to goals by Blake Wheeler, Miro Satan, and Mark Recchi, then an empty-netter by Patrice Begeron.
Late in the second period, at the end of the Boston bench, rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk could be seen flexing a bothersome leg. By the end of 40 minutes, the Bruins remained in the lead, but they were threatening to bring down the Jacobs empire with their mounting co-pays at the doctor’s office.
A key to the Flyers not establishing the two-man forecheck: The constant presence of Chara, whose long stick and big hits have a way of defusing attacks of all kinds.
“Hit him where?’’ said Richards after the morning workout, when asked if perhaps a more direct approach could force Chara to turn pucks over. “It’s not the easiest thing to do.’’
Meanwhile, the rest of Boston’s lineup was fair game. The heaviest of the hits landed on Krejci, nailed by the oncoming Richards. It was Richards’s hit on Booth, who suffered a severe concussion, along with the hit Matt Cooke put on Marc Savard, that led the NHL to establish a new penalty for blindside hits.
The check on Krejci was not from the blindside, but those who go to the hospital aren’t worried about how they got there. All that matters is that they have a ticket out.