David Krejci came into this 2011 series with unfinished business from 2010. As you may remember, Mike Richards caught Krejci with an open-ice hit that ended Krecji’s playoff run in Game 3 of that second round. That ended up being the last win Boston earned in the ’10 playoffs.
Call it revenge or just carryover momentum from Nathan Horton’s Game 7 OT winner, but the Horton-Krejci-Milan Lucic line created two goals and plenty of scoring chances in an exciting first period.
Boston 2, Philadelphia 1
Flyers fans had to cringe at just how quickly the Bruins went on top. Krejci scored about two minutes into the game by taking advantage of some lax defense by the Flyers. It seemed like the Bruins were showing some deft timing with their counter punches against Philly‘s aggressive play.
Speaking of aggressiveness, the tone of the game seemed to change thanks to Chris Pronger. Pronger went into his own end to try to touch the puck for an icing call and then took exception to Daniel Paille’s physical attempt to get the puck. Pronger clearly slashed Paille after that interchange, prompting the officials to give both players coincidental minor penalties. Pronger’s rage wasn’t contained just yet, though, as he also shoved Shawn Thornton on his way to the penalty box.
There was one tough moment for Horton, though, as Danny Briere sneaked away from the big forward during a 4-on-4 to bang home a loose puck for his playoff-leading seventh goal. Briere increased his post-lockout playoff point total to a stunning 92 points.
Horton (and his line) made amends for that one slip-up as he gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with about 30 seconds left in the first period. He managed to get the puck in net even as Boucher seemed to swat at the puck with his glove a couple times.
As usual, Tim Thomas produced an amazing save as he moved laterally to stop a James van Riemsdyk one-timer. He made 7 out of 8 saves while Boucher stopped 10 out of 12 shots.
It’s easy to blame Boucher for those two goals – and he wasn’t perfect – but the Flyers need to find a way to slow down that Lucic-Krejci-Horton line if they hope to beat Boston once again. If the first period is any indication, this should be an awfully fun series.