Bruins' start finishes Flyers


Bruins' start finishes Flyers

By DannyPicard

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.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.