Saturday, May 01, 2010

Savard nets OT winner as Bruins down Flyers

Special to The Phanatic

Marc Savard, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 7, scored the game-winner 13:52 into overtime, and the Boston Bruins came back after blowing a two-goal lead to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-4, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The entire overtime period was played at a frenetic pace, and the Bruins peppered Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher during an extended forecheck. Savard took a rolling puck in the right circle after Philadelphia was unable to clear and rocketed a slapshot above Boucher's glove into the top right corner.

Patrice Bergeron and Miroslav Satan each recorded a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who are 37-18 all-time in series when winning the opening game. Steve Begin and David Krejci also scored, while Dennis Wideman had three assists.

Tuukka Rask stopped 32 shots for his fifth career playoff victory.

Mike Richards tallied a goal and two assists for the Flyers, who have lost seven of their last eight Game 1s. Chris Pronger and Danny Briere added a goal and an assist apiece, while Ryan Parent also scored in defeat.

Brian Boucher, who kept his club in the extra session with 14 saves -- many of them spectacular -- stopped 41-of-46 shots in all for Philadelphia, which will try to even the series at TD Garden on Monday.

Boston dominated the overtime period, sending 15 shots on net compared to only four for the Flyers. The Bruins nearly ended it in the first minute, but Boucher made two point-blank saves on Mark Recchi to maintain the tie, then robbed Daniel Paille with a sliding glove stop. Satan also failed to score on a pair of shots from in close shortly thereafter.

The Flyers had their best chance about 4 1/2 minutes in, as Daniel Carcillo went in on a breakaway. His backhand-to-forehand move didn't work, and Rask was able to make a pad save.

Boucher also glided across to stop a bullet from Michael Ryder with almost 8 1/2 minutes played in OT, then was equal on chances from Bergeron and Lucic minutes before the winner.

Down 3-2 entering the third, the Flyers had several chances to tie the score early in the final period, but Rask
made a series of difficult saves during a solid forecheck from the visitors.

Boston went ahead by two with 12:35 remaining in the game, as Krejci found the puck all alone in front of the net, forced Boucher to fall to the ice and placed it into the net for a 4-2 game.

Philadelphia remained close, as Richards scored a power play goal with 7:23 left. Scott Hartnell screened Rask in front, and Richards grabbed the puck after it squirted out of the slot. He deposited into the wide-open portion of the net before Rask could get into position.

A spectacular play by Briere with time ticking down finally drew the Flyers even. Briere took the puck and went in alone against two Bruins defenders, maintaining possession as he skated by them in the Boston zone.
After Rask made an initial save, Briere tucked the rebound under the crossbar with 3:22 to play in regulation.

In the final seconds, the Flyers had a chance for the game-winner. A deep shot from Arron Asham knocked Rask to the ground. Rask, though, was able to tip the puck away from Darroll Powe before he could backhand it into the open net.

The Bruins dominated play early, outshooting Philadelphia by a 15-8 margin in the first period, and they recorded the game's first two goals.

Just 2:39 into the contest, Begin notched his first career playoff goal after the Bruins threw the puck toward the net, beating Boucher on the short side from the right circle.

With 7:06 left in the opening frame, Bergeron won a faceoff, moved to the front of the net and put a rebound into the net after a Wideman shot was stopped.

The Flyers finally solved Rask in the second. Asham sent a pass from behind the net, missing the intended target out in front. Fortunately for Philadelphia, the puck drifted into the back of the slot for Parent, who rocketed a slapshot past Rask at 7:38.

A scrum in the Flyers' end produced two penalties for Philadelphia and one for Boston, which scored on its ensuing power play. Boucher gave up another long rebound after a shot from the point, and Satan corralled the puck in the right circle and fired a shot into the top right corner for a 3-1 lead with 8:17 left in the second.

Pronger, though, brought Philadelphia to within one with a power play one- timer from the right point at the 15:48 mark.

NOTES: Richards has 11 points in the postseason, while Briere and Pronger each have seven...This is the first postseason meeting between the teams since 1978. THe clubs have split four series...The Bruins have won four straight overtime playoff games against the Flyers...Boston is the first six-seed to have home ice since Anaheim in 2006...Philadelphia went 2-for-5 on the power play, marking the first time this postseason that Boston has given up a goal while on the penalty kill...These teams split four regular season meetings, including the Winter Classic, which was played at Fenway Park on New Year's Day...Bruins forward Marco Sturm left the game in the opening minutes with an apparent right leg injury.

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