BOSTON (CBS)—Can they do it again? Can the Flyers do the impossible a second-straight year? It looks as if the Flyers are going to have to reach back and find some of that same magic they grabbed last year, against the same team, in the same dire situation.
The Boston Bruins took a commanding 3-0 series lead—just as they had done last year—against the Flyers after a rather empathic 5-1 victory Wednesday night at TD Garden. Game Four of the NHL quarterfinal series will be Friday at 8 p.m. in Boston.
The Bruins were all over the Flyers from the start. Prior to the game, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said the pressure was on Boston, and if it was, the Bruins certainly responded.
Boston scored within the first 63 seconds of the game, on goals from Zdeno Chara, a mere 30 seconds in, and David Krejci 33 seconds later. Philadelphia was never able to recover.
The Bruins attacked and Philadelphia was able to do little to combat it. Kris Versteeg, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Mike Richards were all minus-two on the night, and Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas was a stonewall, steering away 37 of 38 shots.
The Flyers’ feeble offense was able to scratch out one goal, by Andrej Meszaros with 3:34 left in the second period, but by that time, Philadelphia was already trailing 4-0.
The Flyers entered this season with Stanley Cup hopes, and anything less than at least getting back to the finals was going to be considered a failure. Despite a team that returns mostly intact, save for the gaping hole left by the absence of Chris Pronger throughout most of this postseason, now it appears highly unlikely that will happen.
When players like Dan Carcillo are a plus-one, while stalwarts like Richards, Giroux, van Riemsdyk and Versteeg are hauling minuses, it speaks volumes about the desperate straits this team is in.
Dan Paille and Nathan Horton added second-period goals to give the Bruins a commanding 4-0 lead, and Chara supplied the explanation point by getting his second of the game in the third period. The Bruins’ defenseman finished with a plus-4 night, scoring a pair of goals and dishing out an assist. During large segments of time, he was the best player on the ice, and someone who the Flyers apparently failed to watch.
Now it’s back again to staring up at a steep 3-0 climb. Can the Flyers do it again, can they somehow catch lightning in a bottle faced with elimination against the same team, under the same circumstances, in the same round of the playoffs in the same arena that they clawed back from 3-0 deficit in Game Seven last year?
With dubious goaltending, a shoddy defense, and going up against a quality netminder in Thomas that’s hot right now, asking the Flyers to repeat the magic of 2010 seems impossible to ask.
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito