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High time for history

May 6, 2011

Chara pumping to celebrate one of is two goals in game three against Philadelphia. 

It’s not often that playoff games are won by a margin of five goals. But that’s precisely what happened two nights ago in Boston, when the Bruins trampled the Flyers. Two quick goals on the part of the Bs went a long when in deflating the Flyers’ spirits and shaking them to their core. The question is whether the Bruins are capable of winning the series tonight, and winning their fifth straight game.

Lightning never strikes twice. And to think the Flyers can rebound from a 3-0 series deficit is akin to thinking Osama bin Laden might not be dead at this point. It really, honestly, probably…can’t happen. But can the Bruins win tonight?

To answer that question, it’s not clear whether to assess the Bruins or the Flyers first in terms of who will have a larger impact on the outcome of the game. Will it be the Bruins’ drive to win, or the Flyers’ apathy? Or another combination thereof? Coming into this series, I honestly believed the Flyers would push the Bruins through a trial by fire. I felt the series was destined to go seven games, and that the mighty Flyers would come out firing on all cylinders. How wrong I was. Indeed, the Bruins have demonstrated an other worldly grit and perseverance that was previously unimaginable.

Their time is now. It’s do or die for the Flyers, so there’s no telling what they’ll be capable of tonight in an elimination situation. Still, if the shocking sweep of the Capitals by the Lightning is indicative of anything. it’s that no team is safe and 3-0 leads are difficult to topple.

The Bruins left the Flyers little room to breathe in game three. The Flyers were stuck on the losing side of a game of keep-away for the better part of a period. The Bruins crumbled them and in the final minutes, the Flyers took two silly penalties. While the Bruins may have be finally scored on the power-play (albeit, 5-on-3), the fact the Flyers are feeling emotionally vulnerable and will take needless penalties is something the Bruins can look to exploit.

Whether it’s Boucher or Bobrovsky in net, they’ll need to be lights-out. Moreover, the Flyers defense, who have been all but absent in front of their own net and incapable of defending their goalies throughout the series, will need to make an appearance for at least part of the evening. It’s unclear where they are or what they’re doing on the ice at any given moment. But they’re not even present when the Bruins score. Very odd. The fiery Briere and Giroux have been all but neutralized. Van Riemsdyk will likely be a thorn in the side of the Bruins again tonight, with his speed and “drive to the net at all costs” attitude. But aside from him, who the game-changer in this game could be for the Flyers is unknown. Ville Leino? Perhaps. Jeff Carter played surprisingly well in his return but he still seems to be a step or two behind his usual game. It will be interesting, then, to see who comes up big.

But if David Krejci continues to weave threads and make plays, and if Tim Thomas stands strong, tonight would seem to be the Bruins for the taking.

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