Game Recap: EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS GAME 1 – Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

Marc Savard capped off his return to the Boston Bruins by scoring the OT winner in Game One to give Boston a 1-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Chris Pronger and Mark Recchi jockey for positioning in the first period

It was a game that – for the most part – showcased the Bruins as the better team, yet still should give a lot of hope for Flyers fans as this series moves forward.  We’ll start from the beginning.  The first period was one of the worst periods of hockey the Flyers have played the entire season, let alone the playoffs.  With that being said, the Bruins certainly came out firing with a heavy forecheck and the mentality to get pucks to the net.  Their tactics worked, as Steve Begin and Patrice Bergeron got the B’s on the board for the first two scores of the game past Brian Boucher.  In Boosh’s defense, his play throughout was fairly solid: he made big saves when he needed to and kept the team in the game.  However, the Flyers were porous defensively in their own end and that lead to many breakdowns, which resulted in Bruins goals.

As bad as the Flyers played in the first frame, the good news was that they were only down two goals, and still very much within striking distance moving forward.  Luckily for them, the whole team was on board with the mentality to get back into the game, as the Flyers dominated the play for a large part of the second period in outshooting the Bruins 11-6.  Still, the Bruins got a goal from Miro Satan to give them back a two-goal cushion after Ryan Parent had cut the deficit to 2-1 with a goal a little less than 8 minutes into the period.  Satan’s goal appeared that it would be a backbreaker, until the Flyers powerplay got them back into the game courtesy of a Chris Pronger slap-shot that beat Tuukka Rask and made the game 3-2.

The third period featured the Bruins scoring first again, as David Krejci took advantage of yet another Flyers defensive collapse to make the score 4-2 in the Bruins’ favor.  However, the Flyers continued to battle back.  Mike Richards scored on the power play and Danny Briere buried a beautiful breakaway rush to tie the score with a little over three and a half minutes left in the third period.  The Flyers appeared to have all the momentum as the horn sounded on regulation and the game headed into overtime.

We all know what happened from that point forward: a Bruins onslaught resulted in the Boucher making some remarkable saves to keep the game scoreless, and the Flyers were really unable to get any quality chances on Tuukka Rask, save a Dan Carcillo breakaway in OT that Rask stopped seemingly with ease.  While the Bruins kept pressing, it seemed the Flyers sat back.  As a result, we all know what happened: Marc Savard scored the OT game winner then responded with a Carcillo-esque OT celebration and gave the Bruins the early upper hand in this series, by a count of one game to zero.

Savard celebrates his game-winner in OT

Obviously, the overtime frame except for the play by Brian Boucher was something the Flyers will probably want to forget.  However, there’s no reason to get down on themselves.  Yes, they were very inconsistent throughout this game, and yes they played a horrendous first period, but the fact of the matter here is that the Bruins were playing at the top of their game today, and the Flyers were not.  It’s easy to say “We could’ve played better” after a loss, and the Flyers, for once, can actually say that.  They showed signs of having the ability to dominate at times in this game – granted, the Bruins did too, but they also blew a two goal lead in the third on their home ice.  A win today by the Flyers would’ve been absolutely devastating for Boston, given how they played.  Of course, no one accepts the loss this afternoon, but there’s not much the Flyers did to deserve any other fate.  Yet still, the game went into overtime and the Flyers were able to put four goals behind Rask in the contest.

What I’m getting at is this: yes, the loss sucked.  Who ever wants to lose a playoff game?  But the good news is that it was merely the first game, and the Flyers can take back home ice with a victory on Monday night.  If they give their second and third period efforts for the full sixty minutes on Monday, they’ll have a good chance to be able to do just that.

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