The Boston Bruins continued their hot streak with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers to start their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Boston is coming off a Game Seven win vs Montreal and Philly a Game Seven win over the Buffalo Sabres. Boston still did not get a power play goal, but their offense took off five-on-five to help Boston win. What got the Bruins to this point?
Number Five- Tim Thomas
Thomas made 34 saves on the electric Flyers offense while allowing only three goals, one of which was a power play goal right after a five-on-three ended. Thomas was fantastic in the Canadiens series, helping the Bruins win three overtime games. He picked up right where he left off in this game and hopefully for Boston this is a sign of things to come.
Number Four- First Line
The Bruins first line performed very well on the tail end of the Montreal series and just like Thomas, they seem to be picking up where they left off. David Krejci scored early on in the game (our next key) and Nathan Horton also picked up a goal. Milan Lucic seemed to pick up the pace with the physical Flyers before being ejected for a sucker punch. All in all, if the first line continues to out produce the Flyers top line this can be a long series for the Flyers.
Number Three- Bruins Score First
This has been a major key for Boston all season. The Bruins lost only a handful times when scoring first, including three times when leading by two heading into the third. Of course, the Bruins won all three games to start the series with Philadelphia last season, but it is a new season and what happened last season is a non factor. If the Bruins can continue to take momentum, they should keep winning this series.
Number Two- Brian Boucher
In eight Philadelphia Flyers playoff games thus far the Flyers have pulled their goalie in half of them. They used three goalies in their series vs Buffalo and became the first team to ever win a playoff series while doing that. Boucher was just terrible before being pulled in favor of Sergei Bobrovsky and don’t be surprised if we see Michael Leighton at some point. Boucher came in last season and won four straight to top Boston, but like the Bruins losing last season that does not translate into this one. Philadelphia has some decisions to make on how to handle their goalies, and they have to do it fast.
Number One- Physical Play
Montreal matched up so well versus Boston. It is obvious now, Carey Price had their number and stunted the Bruins offense. Now that they see another goaltender (actually two) they seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. But why is it they had more opportunities? Boston is a physical team while the Canadiens were a finesse team. It didn’t match up, though Thomas was great in OT and really gave them that series. Philadelphia plays physical as does Boston, so they are going to be in more of a comfort zone.
Game Two is Monday night in Philadelphia.