NHL playoffs: Bruins clamp down on Red Wings, even series
BOSTON — Two power-play goals and stingy penalty killing ended the Boston Bruins’ offensive drought and tied their playoff series.
Reilly Smith and Zdeno Chara scored with a man advantage, the Detroit Red Wings got just one shot on goal on their four power plays and Boston won 4-1 in Game 2 on Sunday.
“We don’t get too many power plays so it was good to be able to get them and be able to capitalize early,” Smith said.
He scored his first career playoff goal 10:35 into the game, just over three minutes after Justin Florek’s fluke goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead on their first shot at 7:28.
They finished the first period with 18 shots on goalie Jimmy Howard after managing just 25 in losing Friday night’s opener 1-0.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series between the top-seeded Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Cup with an NHL-high 117 points, and eighth-seeded Red Wings is set for Detroit on Tuesday night.
“You never want to lose Game 1,” said Florek, a rookie who had just one goal in four regular-season games. “I think we played with a little chip on our shoulder.”
Luke Glendening cut the lead to 2-1 at 13:20 of the second period before Milan Lucic scored late in the second and Chara added his power-play goal early in the third.
Boston’s power play was much improved this season, finishing third in the NHL at 21.7 percent. And Smith scored just 20 seconds after Boston’s two-man advantage ended.
“Getting pucks to the net was obviously a big factor, especially (after) last game not scoring a goal,” he said. “We’re not getting too many pucks to the net at the start and you have a five-on-three and you’re able to fire as many as you want. So that definitely changed the pace of the game and we benefited off of it.”
When the Red Wings had the extra skater, they never threatened.
“It seems like we got hesitant and we weren’t as assertive as we normally are,” Detroit forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “That’s been one of our strong suits … setting up in the other team’s end.”
It wasn’t just Detroit’s special teams that struggled.
“I thought we were ineffective, period,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They were engaged. They won the battles. They were quick. We were slow.”
Florek, filling in for the injured Chris Kelly on the third line, scored after Howard and defenseman Brendan Smith, Reilly’s brother, missed connecting on a pass.
Howard came out of his crease to collect a loose puck and passed it toward Smith, who was skating back along the right boards. But the puck bounced off Smith’s right calf and into the circle where Florek shot quickly before Howard could get back.
“It’s a bad break,” Howard said. “It got them rolling a little bit.”
It was Florek’s first career playoff goal. He also did a good job killing penalties, one of Kelly’s strengths.
Smith made it 2-0 after Howard stopped Patrice Bergeron’s shot from the blue line with several Bruins in front of him. Loui Eriksson poked the puck between Howard’s legs. Smith then skated behind Howard and tapped it in.
Glendening positioned himself in the right spot, just in front of Boston goalie Tuukka Rask to score his first career playoff goal.
Darren Helm’s shot from the top of the right circle hit Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s stick just in front of the crease. The puck went up, hit Glendening in the chest and got past Rask.
The Bruins’ top line, which had struggled, restored the momentum about five minutes later on a well-coordinated play.
Lucic carried the puck into the middle of the offensive zone as Jarome Iginla cut behind him. Lucic dropped the puck for Iginla and continued toward the net where he received a return pass across the slot from Iginla. Lucic’s hard shot from five feet hit Howard’s stick and trickled over the goal line at 18:16.
Lucic was fined $5,000 but not suspended Saturday for spearing Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser during the opener.
Chara finished the scoring at 2:27 of the third period just 17 seconds after Kyle Quincey was penalized. Iginla passed the puck from low in the right circle and the 6-foot-9 Chara, standing to the left of Howard, knocked it in.
At the end of the first period, Chara and Brendan Smith, 7 inches shorter, stared each other down but didn’t fight.
Chara “wouldn’t be the first guy I’d choose to go against,” Reilly Smith said of his brother. “So maybe he’ll probably think twice next time”
FLYERS 4, RANGERS 2
NEW YORK — Luke Schenn scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and backup Ray Emery made 31 saves for Philadelphia, which rallied to beat New York to even the first-round playoff series.
Schenn put Philadelphia in front after Game 1 goat Jason Akeson tied it 2-2 earlier in the period. That was enough for the Flyers to snap a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden and send the series to Philadelphia tied at 1.
Game 3 is Tuesday night.
Jakub Voracek brought the Flyers within 2-1 in the first after Martin St. Louis and Benoit Pouliot staked New York to the early two-goal lead. Emery did the rest, looking especially sharp in the second and third periods while subbing for injured No. 1 goalie Steve Mason.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots after a 14-save winning effort in the opener. The Rangers had outscored the Flyers 35-10 during the winning streak and allowed two goals or fewer in each game.
CANADIENS 3, LIGHTNING 2
MONTREAL — Tomas Plekanec scored at 5:43 of the third period and Montreal moved one win away from advancing to the second round of the NHL playoffs with a victory over Tampa Bay.
Montreal leads the best-of-seven series 3-0 and can sweep the Lightning with a win Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Rene Bourque scored 11 seconds into the game after a rousing pregame show and Brendan Gallagher also scored for Montreal. Ondrej Palat and Matthew Carle scored for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay got a scare at 16:09 of the second period when scoring star Steven Stamkos fell and was struck in the head by Alexei Emelin’s knee, but he returned for the third period.
And the Lightning were outraged when the officials waived off an apparent goal by Ryan Callahan at the 15:38 mark of the second because of Alex Killorn’s incidental contact with goalie Carey Price.
SHARKS 7, KINGS 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Fourth-liners Mike Brown and Raffi Torres scored second-period goals to spark a San Jose comeback and lead the Sharks to a victory over Los Angeles and a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
Justin Braun, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who overcame a two-goal deficit after the first period of a playoff game for just the third time in 26 tries in franchise history. Antti Niemi made 24 saves.
Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis scored first-period goals before Jonathan Quick allowed seven goals in the final two periods. Los Angeles heads home for Game 3 on Tuesday looking to get back into this series.
The Kings can take comfort in the fact that the home team has won 18 of the previous 19 games between these teams, including nine in the playoffs.
By wire reports