|ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2010||[Print without images]|
BOSTON -- Forget the fact that the Boston Bruins won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 5-4 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Forget the fact that the Bruins won Game 2 on Monday by a 3-2 count on a late third-period goal by Milan Lucic.
Forget that the Bruins have a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.
The team already has.
|Milan Lucic tosses his stick into the crowd after the Bruins won Game 2 on his goal with 2:57 to play.|
Sure, Boston is in control as the series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4, but the Bruins realize they have narrowly escaped complete and utter disappointment in the early going. Basically, these first two games could have gone either way.
More importantly, the Bruins know it.
"We're up 2-0 but we really can't look at it like that," said Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who scored Boston's first goal of the game. "We can't think we can go in there and close it out. We have to think it's 0-0 and at least get one win. If you think you're up 2-0, you might sit back on your heels, and that's probably what they want."
The Bruins' mindset entering Game 2 was to not let up at all. Unfortunately, there were spurts when Boston's play was sloppy and the Flyers took advantage.
Boston had a 1-0 advantage early in the first period before the Flyers knotted it late in the opening 20 minutes.
The second period was a similar situation as the Bruins gained a 2-1 lead and appeared set to take that advantage into the second intermission before the Flyers' Daniel Briere scored at 19:35 to tie it at 2-2.
It was clear both teams were tiring in the third when Lucic provided his heroics, beating Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher at 17:03.
"It wasn't the 60-minute effort we wanted," said the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron. "In the second period we let down a little bit, but still, our confidence of winning those games is getting better and it'll still improve. It's only two wins. We're going to need to be ready for that Game 3 because it's going to be a tough one. They're a great team, especially at home."
Boychuk admitted Monday's game easily could have swung Philadelphia's way.
"Their second goal kind of jolted us a little," he said. "We could have had a 2-1 lead going into the third, instead of it being 2-2. It's a lot easier playing with the lead. We found a way to end it and that's all that matters."
It was fitting for Lucic to be the hero. It's been a long time coming for the winger, who has been moved from line to line all season, battling injuries along the way.
As Marc Savard did for his winning goal in overtime in Game 1, Lucic put himself in perfect position when the puck landed on his stick and quickly got a shot off. Boucher had trouble picking it up at first and was caught deep in his own net. The shot went just above his pad and just below his blocker before the red light went on.
"He's obviously had a tough season with everything he's gone through with the ankle [injury] and everything else," said Savard. "He's battling, and that's a huge goal. It helps his confidence and he's only going to get better because of that."
Lucic didn't think his shot was going in.
"Not at all," he admitted. "My whole thought process was just get it on net. That was just a turn and shoot. Luckily it found a hole."
As the series moves to Philadelphia on Wednesday, those holes the Bruins have been finding the first two games might quickly close up.
If Boston wants to do this the easy way, it will have to win at least one game in Philadelphia. The Bruins accomplished that against Buffalo in the first round, and they're confident they can repeat that kind of success.
"You want to go into Philly knowing that it's going to be a battle every night, every game," said coach Claude Julien. "I know our team is certainly not overconfident. Both games, one is decided in overtime and the other by one goal, so they can go either way. Right now we've got a 2-0 lead, but that doesn't mean anything. I think it's important for us to really go in there and be ready to battle because they're going to be ready."
Just like the Bruins, the Flyers have been perfect at home in the playoffs this season, so Philadelphia has to have some confidence going back to its building.
"It is a tough building," said Lucic. "They are going to come out firing, that's no secret. Everyone knows right now that they're going to come out fighting for their lives and push as hard as they can. It's a great building, the fans there are great, they are loud, they are really intense -- so we expect nothing less than that."
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.