Bruins Chasing Their Own Lead After Flyers ‘Slapped Them in the Face’

Bruins Chasing Their Own Lead After Flyers 'Slapped Them in the Face' Reason to panic? Cause for alarm? A wake-up call desperately needed?

Yes, yes and yes.

Sadly, these questions weren't even close to being relevant just one week ago.

The Bruins held a 3-0 Eastern Conference semifinals lead when the series took a dramatic turn in Game 4 at the Wachovia Center. The Flyers crawled their way back in overtime to salvage their season and keep their Stanley Cup dreams alive. 

Then, in another crucial game for the Flyers on Monday night — when discussion was thwarted from one team to the next about who had more pressure resting on their shoulders — Philly shut out Boston 4-0 in front of the TD Garden faithful.

The Bruins, who once controlled their own destiny in the series, suddenly find themselves handing over the momentum to a Flyers team ready to answer the call.

Even captain Zdeno Chara had a difficult time explaining the dud.

"Hard to explain, or to find the words for it," Chara said. "We are not playing with the composure that we did in the first round. All of a sudden, it’s tough for us to make plays."
 
It appeared tough for the Bruins to do anything right in Game 5, even when a goaltender who hadn’t played since mid-March ended up between the pipes for the Flyers. Just five minutes into the second period, netminder Brian Boucher was on the receiving end of a pileup in his crease. With the weight of the series on him (and the weight of his teammate Ryan Parent on his left leg), Boucher had to be taken off the ice with the assistance of a team trainer and teammate Chris Pronger. In came Michael Leighton, who wasn’t even listed in the pregame media game notes that evening because Johan Backlund had been Philly’s No. 2 in goal.

Down only 1-0 at this point in the game, the Bruins had a shining chance to capitalize on a rusty netminder. Instead, the game continued to favor the Flyers' aggressive offensive game plan. Scott Hartnell, Simon Gagne on the power play, and then Gagne again for good measure, put the game away and far out of reach for the Bruins.

Marc Savard knew after the game that he and his teammates had missed a golden opportunity on Leighton.

"That was a huge disappointment, especially when he comes in with 12 minutes left? And we get one or two shots on him that period? That’s just terrible," he admitted.

Now, the Black and Gold find themselves chasing their own lead in the series as the Flyers are two wins away from advancing to the next round. Boston needs just one.

"When your feet aren’t moving, the rest of your game won’t come," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "Our energy level wasn’t there,  so nothing else was going to follow."

The Bruins are hoping the energy level, and compete level, are there on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, when the series resumes for Game 6. Because if Boston continues to allow the Flyers to control the tempo of this round, then a Game 7 at the TD Garden on Friday night is up for grabs for anyone’s taking.

"Good lesson for us," said Mark Recchi, who has seen his fair share of postseason games. "They came in, they slapped us in the face. Now we have to go there and realize this is a series now."

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