Bruins get off to a flying start
Second round begins with a rout
PHILADELPHIA — By the end of Game 1, a 7-3 affair, the Bruins had exposed the Flyers yesterday as a club that barely had a pulse, let alone one that was ready for the second round of the playoffs.
“Everything’s got to change,’’ said Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette. “Everything’s got to improve.’’
Yet for a brief window in the second period, the Flyers could have jumped back in the game. With the Bruins holding a 3-1 lead, Brad Marchand was penalized for slashing Ville Leino.
The Bruins killed off the penalty, but 39 seconds later, they went a man down once more. This time, Johnny Boychuk was directed to the penalty box for high-sticking Nikolay Zherdev on a backhanded follow-through of a clearing pass.
Once more, the Bruins buckled down and killed the penalty.
“Overall, they did a great job,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose charges nullified four of five power plays. “At that time of the game, it’s so important that you kill those.
“You don’t want to let them back into it. Had they scored, it might have been a different game in the third period.
“I liked the job our penalty killers did. Not only did they do a good job in our own end, we controlled the puck pretty well when we had it. Whenever we had the opportunity, those guys made sure they made it all the way down the ice.’’
During the first kill, James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards had sniffs at the goal. But Tim Thomas kept his net clear, making 14 of his 31 saves in the second period.
Thomas also got help from Zdeno Chara. The captain chased down van Riemsdyk after a stretch pass and got his stick on the winger’s blade to bust up a scoring chance.
Then on the second kill, the Bruins continued to execute their game plan. When Kimmo Timonen wound up from the point and let a slapper rip, Gregory Campbell hit the deck and blocked the defenseman’s shot.
The hockey gods rewarded the Bruins for their consecutive kills. Less than a minute after Boychuk stepped out of the box, the Bruins scored the winning goal.
David Krejci won an offensive-zone faceoff against Blair Betts, pulling the puck back to Adam McQuaid at the right point. Krejci then plowed to the front of the net. As McQuaid floated a puck on goal, Krejci was in the perfect position to tip the wobbler past Brian Boucher at 15:26 of the second, making it 4-1.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on our PK,’’ Patrice Bergeron said. “They have a lot of firepower. We’ve got to find a way to kill it. I thought we were pretty aggressive, and it helped.’’
The Bruins’ penalty-killing efforts, like most components of their game, exhibited attention to detail. Preparation and execution. And a killer instinct.
“Great game,’’ said Nathan Horton. “Great way to start.’’
When the Flyers tried to rally, the Bruins kicked the door shut in their faces. When the Bruins scored one goal, that wasn’t enough. When Boucher was on the ropes and exhibiting mental weakness, the Bruins connected with a final haymaker to put the goalie on the mat.
At 17:14 of the second period, after Marchand tucked in a short-range rebound of Andrew Ference’s point shot, Laviolette had seen enough. As he has already in the playoffs and as so many other Flyers coaches before him, Laviolette turned to his second choice.
Sergei Bobrovsky came in to relieve Boucher, only to allow two more goals in the third period.
As inconsistent as Boucher and Bobrovsky turned out to be, both had little relief from their let-’em-in defense.
Marchand and Krejci potted two goals apiece. Horton, Mark Recchi, and Campbell added point-blank strikes.
“The way we played in front of our goaltender, we as a team deserve all the responsibility,’’ said Laviolette.
Perhaps the most satisfying part of the win was how the Bruins’ No. 1 line floored the Flyers. Krejci, Horton, and Milan Lucic were coming off a nearly flat-line performance against Montreal.
Yes, Horton scored a pair of overtime winners, but for the most part, Hal Gill and P.K. Subban, along with the Canadiens’ first line of Mike Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec, and Andrei Kostitsyn, aimed their crosshairs directly on Krejci & Co.
“I don’t want to talk about it,’’ Krejci said Friday when asked about the opening round, no doubt still haunted by the Canadiens’ smothering ways.
Yesterday, the first line exploded. Of the 11 shots they sent on goal, three went in.
“Montreal really paid a lot of attention to that line,’’ Julien said. “They really had some hard matchups against that line. They certainly did a great job.
“Montreal’s a great defensive team. That’s their strength. They put their best players against that line. They made it tough on them. But luckily we had some depth and other lines that came up big for us.’’
So far, the Flyers are paying for any remaining frustrations the first line might have had.