It was a game to change the momentum of the series. The Flyers had dropped the first two games of the series in Boston. They returned home in a hole that they were desperate to climb out of. The Flyers got into the playoffs on the last game of the season, a shootout win versus the hated New York Rangers. They then beat the New Jersey Devils in five games to advance to play the Bruins.
The Flyers’ goal was to hold, serve, and then steal an away game in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. To this point, both games one and two were decided by one goal with game one needing extra time to decide the outcome. It was a tough series as they headed back to Philadelphia.
The Flyers were desperate to get out to a quick start. In each of the first two games, the Bruins scored first. The Flyers wanted to take control and did. It took just 2:32 seconds into the first period. The Flyers won a defensive zone draw and transitioned it into a two on one. Claude Giroux took the puck on the left-wing and slid the puck over to Aaron Asham who buried it just under Tuuka Rask’s arm. Sadly that would be the only goal the Flyers could muster.
The Bruins didn’t take long to even it up. Less than two minutes later, Blake Wheeler found the back of the net after redirecting Matt Hunwick’s shot from the point. This play was set up after the Flyers failed to win a defensive zone draw.
Less than two minutes later, the Bruins were clearing the zone, Mike Richards went for a leveling check on David Krejci at the Bruin’s blue line. It was the type of check Richie was known for, a momentum-changing type hit. Only this time it changed the momentum against the Flyers.
This play started in the Bruin defensive zone. Flyers Defenseman Matt Carle was caught deep in the zone. Instead of covering the blue line, Richards delivers the hit. Milan Lucic picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone, then skated the puck into the zone. Chris Pronger was defending. Carle was caught and Richards was out of the play due to the hit. Dan Carcillo was the next man back, but he got tangled up with the laid out Krejci. Miroslav Satan took advantage of this. He skated into the zone all alone and buried the Lucic pass. The period ended with the Bruins leading 2-1.
The Flyers were unable to capitalize on two Bruins penalties and the Bruins failed to convert on their lone powerplay of the frame. The second period went scoreless.
The Flyers started off the period on the wrong foot. Aaron Asham took a tripping penalty when trying to beat out an icing. This resulted in the lone powerplay goal as Mark Recchi scored on a rebound just 2:30 into the period. The Flyers then pressed to get back into the game. Standing in their way, however, was Rask. Tukka was magnificent, stopping 34 of 35 Flyers shots. The Flyers failed to convert two more powerplays and Patrice Bergeron added the empty-net goal to clinch it 4-1.
The takeaway of the game:
Giroux and JVR were really good and all over the ice. JVR led the team with seven shots and Giroux and Danny Briere were second with four shots each. I remember clearly after this game that familiar feeling of defeat. I vividly remember saying the old Philly fan slogan of “There’s always next year!” My feeling of defeat was short-lived as two days later the Flyers started the historic series turn around.
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