They entered the night having lost the first two games of the series in their own rink, and now found themselves entering enemy territory for Game 3 on Wednesday at TD Garden.
The Bruins expected Philadelphia to come out flying at the start, looking for a quick strike or two to take the crowd out of the game and perhaps even instill a little doubt in the minds of a Bruins' team that squandered a 3-0 series lead to the Flyers just last year.
Instead it was the Bruins who beat Philadelphia to the punch. Zdeno Chara scored his first goal of the playoffs just 30 seconds into the opening frame. The captain one-timed a blast off a feed from Brad Marchand just seconds after Marchand nearly scored himself with a shot at left post off a crossing pass by Patrice Bergeron.
Just 33 seconds after that, the Bruins held a 2-0 lead, as David Krejci scored in front for his fourth goal of the series and fifth of the postseason.
"We knew they were going to come out hard and we did a great job countering that, getting two goals the first two shifts, so that was huge for our team," Marchand said. "We were able to kind of hold them off for a while and I think that's what kind of took the game for us."
The Bruins went on to post a convincing 5-1 victory to take another 3-0 series lead on the Flyers. Philadelphia tried to mount a response to Boston's early strikes, but those two quick goals took a lot out of the Flyers.
"It's huge," Marchand said. "Any time you get scored against first shift, it really kills your confidence and momentum. On the other side, it really gives us a lot of jump. You saw Kreech's line go out there and get another one. That's very tough to come back from a deficit like that, that early in the game."
But it's not impossible. The Bruins gave up two early goals in Game 2 in Philadelphia, but battled back to pull even before the end of the first period and eventually pulled out a 3-2 win in overtime on Monday. That experience was fresh in the Bruins' minds as they tried to make sure Philadelphia didn't mount a similar comeback.
"We were aware of that," Marchand said of Boston's rally in Game 2. "We just wanted to make sure we kept pushing. If you sit back when you have a lead like that, that's when they can turn the tables. We just wanted to make sure we kept pushing forward and tried to limit their opportunities."
The Flyers did get chances, they just couldn't get anything past Tim Thomas. The Bruins netminder built off Monday's spectacular performance with another strong outing. After stopping the final 46 shots he saw — and 52 of the 54 shots he faced overall — on Monday, Thomas stretched his streak to 68 straight saves before finally allowing a goal late in the second. By that point the Bruins had already put four goals on the board and this one wasn't really in doubt.
"We realized that we were up 2-0 there and we didn't want to let them back in it," Marchand said. "I think Timmy did a great job of holding down the fort. They had a few opportunities they could have cashed in on, but it was good we were able to hold them off. It's tough when you go into an opposing team's rink and you get down 2-0 right away like that. It's tough to come back from that."
The Flyers agreed, and cited Thomas, who finished with another 37 saves on 38 shots, as a big reason why it was so tough to overcome that early deficit.
"It's more difficult than it should have been," Flyers defenseman Sean O'Donnell said. "Two goals isn't the end of the world with 59 minutes left in the game. You know, if I remember we got off to a pretty quick start in Game 2 and they turned the page quickly and battled back and it seemed to deflate us a little bit and took us a little while to get going. We just couldn't seem to get back into in when it did. Thomas made good saves."
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