Bruins' start finishes Flyers

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Bruins' start finishes Flyers

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Brian Boucher thought he set the tone for Game 3.

The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender made one of the best saves of the series just 25 seconds in, as the Bruins came buzzing into the offensive zone after the opening faceoff.

Patrice Bergeron sent a hard, cross-ice pass from the right point down to Brad Marchand at the left post for what should have been a tap-in type of goal. But Boucher extended his right leg in a flash, and robbed Marchand with a beautiful pad save.

But before anyone could get the idea that it was going to be that type of night for the Bruins, Marchand sent a backhand pass to the high slot, where Zdeno Chara let go a one-timer that sniped the top-right corner and gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds in.

Thirty-three seconds later, David Krejci added another when he finished a picture-perfect, give-and-go cycle that started from the right half-wall.

That's the kind of night it was going to be.

You always want to have a good start, especially at home, but to score in the first two or three shifts of the game, its always huge, said Chara after the Bruins 5-1 Game 3 win over the Flyers Wednesday night at the TD Garden. I thought that gave us really good momentum.

That was about as good a start as you can ask for, especially on home ice, said Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. You dont know that youre going to get that. It doesnt always work out that way. But it definitely helped. It certainly helped from my perspective in goal. Thats for sure.

From Philadelphias perspective, the first 1:03 was, well, as Flyers coach Peter Laviolette put it, unacceptable.

Obviously the start was not good for us, said Laviolette. Not the way we needed to start. You give up two goals in the first two minutes of the game . . . its frightening.

Coming into their building, we knew they would come out strong, said Flyers forward Danny Briere. That was the game right there. We didnt do a good job in the first minute of play to keep them to the outside. Too many breakdowns. We tried, after that, but it's a tough start to spot them two goals to start a game like that.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that his team was unusually quiet during Wednesdays morning skate, which made him question what kind of effort he was going to get from his time.

The coaches were basically trying to figure out whether it was guys just being really focused, or the other part of it, whether we werent as sharp as we had been," said Julien.

But I think they answered that question pretty quickly.

Charas statement couldnt have been louder with his first goal of the playoffs.

Its great to see him get that offense going, because he has that potential, hes got an amazing shot, said Thomas. Ask the opposing goalies that are facing it. Its no fun to see that guy winding up on you. He gets himself in the right spots, and starts getting those goals, it just makes it easier on the whole team.

Chara added his second goal of the game with 1:22 left in regulation. It was another blast of a slap shot, this time from the left point, that went top shelf. It gave the Bruins their first power-play goal of the postseason, and their fifth and final goal of Game 3.

For me, personally, I really try to focus on our defensive game, be strong throughout the games, said Chara. Im not really worried about the points. Im just counting wins, and thats the way were looking at it in the room.

Its nice to score. Theres no question about that. But I think we all know that its all about wins.

And as long as Charas setting the tone like he did on Wednesday night, theyll certainly be a few more of those.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While the sequence of events over the past couple of days could understandably lead one to wonder who will start between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night vs. Nashville, interim coach Bruce Cassidy tried to quell any hint of a goalie controversy.

The vote of confidence was certainly needed after Anton Khudobin’s fifth consecutive win halted the B's four-game losing streak with a huge 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday night in the wake of Rask’s absence while tending to a short-term lower body issue.  

“[Rask] had a good practice today. I spoke with him. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow and we’ll make our decision. He’s our No. 1 goalie, so there’s no way we can skirt our way around that issue. He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important. When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision,” said Cassidy. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year...and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.

“That’s why we have two goaltender, and [Anton Khudobin] has really stepped up in that last stretch and done what’s asked of him. He’s fixed that area of our game. It’s nice to have a guy that’s your No. 2 that can win you hockey games and play well. It’s a great problem to have, to be honest with you. But Tuukka is our No. 1. But Tuukka is our No. 1. He’s our guy.”

Rask declared himself fit to play after going through a full Monday practice with no issues, but said he’s still waiting to hear the final word on whether he’ll play on Tuesday night vs. the Predators. The Bruins franchise goalie also said he isn’t worried about any recurrence of the lower body injury that “popped up” in the Tampa Bay loss Thursday night, which really doesn’t bring any clarity to the entire situation.

“It was a good day back on the ice. I feel good. We’ll see what the decision is [for the Nashville game], but I feel good today,” said Rask, who is 8-8 with a .892 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average since the All-Star break, compared to Khudobin’s 2-0-0 with a .920 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average. “You need to put the best lineup out as possible, and I wasn’t in any shape to play. So, there are no easy decisions this time of year, but I’ve played a lot of hockey and injuries happen. We talked to the training staff and managers and came to a decision that [Khudobin] was going to play the game, and that’s it.

“It’s obviously tough from a personal standpoint, but it’s never about one guy or two guys. It’s a team game and I feel confident that we’re going to get the job done as long as we play the way we did. It was great to see.”

Clearly, it looks like Rask is going to play vs. Nashville and that’s the safe, easy decision when it comes to a No. 1 goalie getting paid $7 million a season and perhaps it all works out with a fired up Finnish netminder after sitting out Saturday night. But nobody is going to be faulted if they wonder what’s going to wrong with Rask ahead of the next gigantic game Boston will have to play with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the line. 

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins returned to work on Monday after a big win over the weekend, but were one man down by the end of practice at Warrior Ice Arena. David Krejci exited the ice early on Monday and coach Bruce Cassidy said that the playmaking center is battling a bit of an upper body issue.

That was the reason for his abbreviated practice appearance ahead of the game Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

“He’s got a bit of an upper body issue, he’s got a little discomfort,” said Cassidy of Krejci, who has one point and a minus-4 rating over his past four games. “He got treated and I believe he’ll be fine tomorrow. I don’t think it’s anything major, but I can’t speculate [on it]. But that’s the issue.”

There was no play that sticks out from the Saturday night win over the Islanders were Krejci might have hurt himself, but the team’s hope is obviously that it’s something the 30-year-old can keep playing through.

With Krejci having left the ice, Ryan Spooner bumped up to the second line with the following line combos and D-pairings finishing out an hour-long practice:

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Stafford-Spooner-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Nash-Hayes

Beleskey-Moore-Acciari

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

 
Rask