2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs – Semifinals Game 4 Recap
Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 4 - Boston 5, Philadelphia 1 – Bruins win series, 4-0
The demons are gone. The shadows have been cast away. The darkness has been dispelled. The Boston Bruins don’t have to hear about 2010 anymore. They don’t have to look over their shoulders at the Philadelphia Flyers.
Last year’s epic collapse, the worst in franchise history, is now a more remote memory for the Bruins. They lost a 3-0 series lead to the Broad Street Bullies 12 months ago, but this time, they finished the job once they gained a commanding position in the second round of the playoffs. Boston unleashed a four-goal period on the Flyers, knocking out the reigning Eastern Conference champions at a raucous TD Garden in Beantown.
Through two periods, Boston had carried most of the play on home ice, but Philadelphia goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had held the fort quite nicely for the second-seeded Flyers. The score was tied at one-all, and there was a small sense in the building that the visitors had a chance to escape back to Pennsylvania with a chance to make this series interesting. If this series had been able to shift to Philadelphia for Game 5 on Sunday, all the demons of 2010 could have flooded back to the surface of memory, allowing the Bruins to doubt themselves while feeding the Flyers a strong dose of confidence. This wasn’t quite Game 7 for Boston, but it owned the urgency of Game 6 at the very least.
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Now, the Bruins won’t have to worry about the ghosts of playoffs past. Their third-period display revealed the tunnel-vision focus of a team that has so profoundly turned the corner after falling behind 2-0 in its first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens. Ever since that rock-bottom moment, the Bs and coach Claude Julien have answered the bell. This was never more apparent than in the final 20-minute assault on coach Peter Laviolette’s Flyers, who won’t be returning to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011.
Boston broke the 1-1 deadlock early in the third, as Johnny Boychuk drilled a 50-foot slap shot past Bobrovsky to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead and, significantly, drain the anxiety from the Boston bench. Right then, the fears of going back to Philadelphia and possibly repeating the four-game nightmare from the 2010 East semifinals were expunged. Boston clamped down on defense, and although the Flyers were right there with a chance to potentially tie the game, the Bruins kept pushing… long enough to then land the knockout punch in the latter stages of regulation time. Milan Lucic roared into the Flyers’ zone while Philadelphia got caught in the middle of a line change. A mini-breakaway led to a goal with 4:57 left on the clock, and that’s when the Bruins were able to breathe freely. The two-goal cushion represented the last surmounted obstacle for Boston and the last gasp of the dying Flyers. Two empty-net goals by Boston in the final minutes put the finishing touches on a series in which the Bruins outscored the Flyers by an aggregate 20-7 margin.
Yes, the ghosts of 2010 are gone. Now Boston can worry about the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals.
By: Matt Zemek
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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