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Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Tim Thomas shows he's a changed man
There was absolutely no reason to think the Boston Bruins would win Game 2 last night against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center.
Down 1-0 in the series, Philly needed a big effort to even it up and they couldn't have gotten off to a better start as James van Riemsdyk scored 29 seconds into the first period and then at 9:31 on the power-play.
From that point on though, Boston goaltender Tim Thomas (career-high 52 saves) played the best game of his career as he stood on his head and his team rallied for a heart-stopping 3-2 overtime win.
Chris Kelly (4th of the playoffs) and Brad Marchand (4th of the playoffs) tied it up later in the first period and then the teams flew up and down the ice in a scoreless second and third period.
Krejci (4th of the playoffs) got it done at 14:00 of overtime as he one-timed a great feed from Nathan Horton past Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher (32 saves).
van Rimesdyk was a revelation for Philadelphia as he was the most dominant offensive player in the game. I lost count on how many times he had great scoring chances for himself or teammates. His first goal was the result of a 2 on 1 with Claude Giroux. It looked like Giroux whiffed on his shot attempt but it went right to the former UNH star who put it past Thomas. Nikolay Zherdev also assisted on the goal.
The second Philly goal was the fault of Boston's defense, not Thomas. He stopped two shots before van Riemsdyk banged home the rebound. Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen assisted on the power-play tally, van Rimesdyk's seventh of the postseason.
It makes sense that Boston's two most dependable forwards in the playoffs-not named Patrice Bergeron-combined to knot it at two before the first twenty minutes were up.
Tomas Kaberle's shot was blocked by Boucher, Michael Ryder drove to the net and was stuffed but Boucher couldn't stop Kelly as he swooped by and poked it in at 12:50.
Marchand's goal was a wrist shot from about 35-feet out which in most cases (especially when there's no traffic) should be stopped. Lucky for us, Marchand scored and it was thanks to a tasty pass from Bergeron with Mark Recchi picking up the second assist.
It's hard to imagine there's a hotter team in the NHL right now than the Bruins. They've won six of their last seven games, including a bananas four in overtime.
Game 3 is tomorrow night at TD Garden and needless to say, we don't need a refresher course on what happened last spring when these teams met. Boston dominated Game 1 and stole Game 2 thanks to Thomas' majestic play. Just like the Flyers came out on fire last night, I expect more of the same tomorrow. It's up to the Bruins to weather it all and come out on top, again.