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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Bruins clinch first playoff series at home since '99
David Krejci had a career year last season for the Bruins and he was rewarded handsomely for it.
That player was nowhere near the TD Garden or on the road with the B's this season; he was near the top of the long list of underperforming Bruins all year. Finally in the Olympics he seemed to find his game with the Czech Republic.
Since then, he's been a changed player and he stepped up with his best game of the season last night (2 goals, 1 assist) as the Bruins held off the Sabres 4-3 to take Game 6 and their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
It's up in the air who they'll play next: if Montreal upsets Washington in Game 7, the Bruins get Philly, if the Caps win, Boston will play Pittsburgh.
Boston's co-mvp's of the series Mark Recchi (1 goal, 1 assist) and Tuukka Rask (27 saves) stepped up once again with primetime performances.
I was genuinely worried that if the Bruins lost last night, they wouldn't win in Buffalo for Game 7. However, Boston scored first (for the first time in the six games) and they made Buffalo chase them all night.
Krejci opened it up with a power-play goal at 13:39 of the first period. He redirected Recchi's perfect pass by Ryan Miller (28 saves). Matt Hunwick also assisted.
With a 4-on-3 power play early in the second period, Boston cashed in once again (6 for 22 in the series; Buffalo was 0 for 19) as Krejci found Recchi by the side of the net with a cross ice feed. Patrice Bergeron also assisted.
Just when it looked like Boston might win this one with some breathing room, Dennis Wideman remembered how much of a nightmare he was this season. His terrible giveaway in the B's zone led to Patrick Kaleta's goal at 6:34 to cut it to 2-1 Boston.
The third period was crazy as Boston looked to have it wrapped up again when Krejci one-timed a pass from behind the net by Milan Lucic (Miroslav Satan also assisted). Just 22 seconds later, Michael Ryder flubbed a pass in his own zone to former BC star Nathan Gerbe, who one-timed it home.
Wideman made up for his earlier gaffe when he threw a puck to the net that Lucic whiffed on but Satan was on the doorstep to shovel it in, another clutch goal from the mid-season pickup.
Thomas Vanek scored with 1:13 left but it was too late. Boston couldn't score when the Sabres pulled Ryan Miller but it didn't matter. The B's are moving on to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second season in a row.
After choking in seven games last season to the underdog Hurricanes, they'll either be huge underdogs against the Penguins or slight favorites against the Flyers. I'm just pumped that there's more playoff hockey to watch from this suddenly very likable team.