By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Zdeno Chara wasnt himself against the Montreal Canadiens, but it really wasnt his fault. The Bruins' captain lost 10 pounds in a 24-hour span while battling a virus that caused severe dehydration. He spent most of the seven-game series against the Habs regaining his energy and simply catching his breath.
One thing that had been missing all that time against the Canadiens: his blistering slap shot (clocked at 105.9 mph) that sparks the Boston power play. Chara finished the season tied with Michael Ryder for the most power-play goals on the Bruins with eight, but it looked like the 6-foot-9 defenseman simply didnt have enough juice and energy to shoot.
Its no coincidence that the Boston power play went through an 0-for-30 stretch to start the postseason when Chara wasnt at his full power capacity.
But Charas lethal one-timer finally reappeared in Game 3, and he scored on a pair of bombs to help his team earn a 5-1 victory.
Those guys have been so strong for us, not only as a pair, but also as individuals. As you saw, Zdeno's shot is one that certainly goaltenders dont like to see, said coach Claude Julien. Hes got that ability and tonight I thought he used it well.
The Bruins went 0-for-2 on the power play until both Mike Richards and Braydon Coburn got sent to the penalty box in the closing moments of the game, and that allowed Boston to finally do some damage 5-on-3.
This was definitely an opportunity for us to at least get one power-play goal and our guys did that, said Julien. I thought that was important for our team at that time to get that confidence.
I thought our power play was actually very good tonight. We hit a post, we had some good scoring chances, and as far as I was concerned, if we work our power play the way we worked it tonight, were going to be okay.
During one of the previous power plays, both Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron hit posts.
The Bruins PP unit was far, far better than it had been through the entire postseason. And it makes sense, since Chara is back to being the defenseman the Bruins have always needed him to be.
It is great to see him get that offense going. He has that potential. Hes got an amazing shot, said David Krejci. Ask the opposing goalies that are facing it. It is no fun to see that guy winding up on you. He gets himself in the right spots and getting those goals. It makes it easier on the whole team.It was a big second period goal that extended Boston's lead , but it was also a significant postseason play for both Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell when the duo broke out with a nice first pass from Johnny Boychuk. Campbell managed to set a perfect pass for the speedy Paille rushing into the offensive zone, and Paille fired a bullet over the shoulder of Brian Boucher that the Philly goaltender didn't have a prayer of stopping. That it came with the Mike Richards' line on the ice for the Flyers and pushed Boston's lead to 3-0 was sweet enough, but it was also the first career playoff goal for Paille along with Campbell's first career playoff point on the assist.Bruins head coach Claude Julien is sometimes roundly criticized for going with the fourth line too often, but they came up large for him in Game Three after some really dicey moments in overtime during Game Two in Philadelphia. "Piesy Daniel Paille did a great job getting up the ice. Hes got pretty good speed and it was a good shot by him. But yeah Im just trying to get to the net, and hopefully thatll open up a play for Campbellto shoot or give it to me or do what he did," said fellow fourth-liner Shawn Thornton, who drove the net to clear out space for his linemates. "It worked out. So it was a great pass by Soupy but even a better shot by Piesy."The Bruins crushed the Flyers in just about every category imaginable, and that included the face-off circle throughout the night of Game Three. Between Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, Boston's top two centers won 25 out of 27 draws on the TD Garden ice, and fellow pivot Gregory Campbell also won 11 out of 12 face-offs in an embarassing performance for the men down Philly's middle. "No doubt faceoffs are important and we obviously had the advantage of putting our sticks down last, thats the home-ice advantage that becomes very important when it comes to that part of the game. Our guys did a great job. You start with the puck, its a lot easier than chasing it down," said ClaudeJulien. "Our guys did a great job of that tonight and I thought it was important, especially against that team. Theyve got some good faceoff plays in the offensive zone and they can become very dangerous. Our centermen did a great job and even the other guys, recovering those loose pucks in the battles."Tim Thomas had a string of 68 consecutive saves running between Games Two and Three snapped when he surrendered a goal to Andrej Meszaros in the third period. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced that Yury Alexandrov, Zach Hamill, Michael Hutchinson and Kirk MacDonald will no longer train in Providence and will return to their respective hometowns for the summer.
The Bruins signed defenseman Ryan Button, who played a handful of games for the Providence Bruins at the end of the AHL season, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday.
The Bruins scored the first two goals of Game 3 just 33 seconds apart in the first period. The club record for the fastest two goals in Bruins playoff franchise history is seven seconds (Cam Neely and Michael Thelven in the second period against Montreal on April 23, 1989).
The two goals allowed in the first 63 seconds of the game were the fastest two goals allowed at the start of a playoff game in Flyers history.