2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Semifinals Game 3 Recap
Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 3 - Boston 5, Philadelphia 1 – Bruins lead series, 3-0
If the Philadelphia Flyers think that they’re about to duplicate their 2010 blueprint for postseason success, they’re alone in such thoughts. One year after falling behind three games to none in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Boston Bruins, the Broad Street Bullies have done the very same thing in 2011.
Yes, the Flyers won four straight games to stun the Beantowners 12 months ago, but it strains credulity to think that the defending East champions can turn the trick once again. It’s one thing to lose three tough games and always sit on the doorstep of doing something special. It’s quite another thing to do what the Flyers have done through three tilts against the determined and motivated Bs: Wilt into nothingness in a majority of situations.
In Game 2, Philly played Boston on even terms before succumbing in overtime, but in the other two editions of this best-of-seven showdown, Boston has rocked and roughed up the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Game 2 was decided on points in 15 rounds, but like Game 1 last Saturday, this Game 3 event on Wednesday night was a technical knockout… and an early one to boot.
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Boston scored two goals in the first 63 seconds of this tussle at TD Garden to rob the Flyers of whatever will they had left. Zdeno Chara and David Krejci lit the lamp before anyone’s seat was warm, and although the game settled down after that blindingly quick flurry from the home team, Boston eventually pushed its lead to 4-0 on a pair of second-period goals from first-round series hero Nathan Horton and Daniel Paille. The Flyers avoided a shutout at the hands of Boston goalie Tim Thomas when Andrej Meszaros scored at 16:26 of the second period, but the third period was an uneventful skating exhibition, with Boston just draining the clock and the Flyers managing a few strong shifts only when the clock ticked under five minutes left in regulation. It’s quite amazing to consider the extent to which life has turned around for the Bruins: Just over two weeks ago, they were down 0-2 to the Montreal Canadiens and facing two straight games in French Quebec. Coach Claude Julien was on the firing line and the natives in Boston were restless. Now, the Bruins are one game away from the NHL’s final four. True, the Bs do have one more game to take care of - they know what happened last year, after all – but they look like a sure-fire favorite to play deep into the month of May.
The outlook is different for Philadelphia. Comebacks from 3-0 series deficit happen once every 33 to 35 years, so the Flyers are mistaken in their belief that they can repeat history in consecutive seasons. Yet, that’s the only way Philadelphia can return to the Eastern Conference finals.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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