Conference Semifinals – Day 5

Boston vs. Philadelphia – We only had one game on tap last night, but it was a glorious one. After a sketchy first round series, which went seven games, Boston now has an early advantage over the Flyers. Philadelphia continues to struggle with their goaltending situation, but Boucher managed to put together a solid game last night with a few big saves.

It didn’t take long, only twenty-nine seconds, for the Flyers to get on the board early in the first. Skating in on a two-on-one, it was James van Riemsdyk finishing to get the goal after a pass from Claude Giroux. The young van Riemsdyk is on a tear in the playoffs, with this being his sixth goal. Nine minutes later, he was at it again, adding his seventh goal. This one came on a rebound, and gave the Flyers an early 2-0 lead that they would quickly struggle to hang on to.

At 12:50 of the first, Boston got on the board when Chris Kelly was found in front of the net banging home a rebound of his own. Less than two minutes later, the Bruins tied it up when Brad Marchand fired home a wrist shot from the top of the circles.

From here on out, it was the goalie show. Tim Thomas and Brian Boucher combined to make some incredible saves on great opportunities. Philadelphia looked confused, and out of place, at times in the second, but Boucher stood tall and made all the saves. In the third, it was Philadelphia piling it on Thomas with 22 shots, but couldn’t get one past the keeper. At the end of regulation, we were still knotted up 2-2 with overtime looming.

Quality chances went to both sides during overtime, with Philadelphia skating away with an edge. But at the 14:00 mark of OT, David Krejci buried a sweet feed from Nathan Horton. Krejci knew he buried it, but initially the ref behind the net waved no goal, and play continued. When play stopped, the “goal” quickly went to review. It didn’t take more than one look to see that the Krejci shot nailed the back bar and came right back out for a good goal. Boston wins in dramatic fashion, in a highly entertaining game for everyone, and now heads home with a 2-0 series lead.

This is looking to be a great series. With the way Philadelphia controlled play at times, I don’t think they’re done just yet. If they can figure out a way to beat Tim Thomas, they will charge back into this series and take control. The only thing that could hold them back will be goaltending, both their own and the oppositions.

James van Riemsdyk also needs to be commended on his outstanding post-season play thus far. Currently van Riemsdyk is on a five game goal streak, with seven post-season goals thus far in nine games played. He has yet to tally an assist, but his goal contributions are far more valuable at this point. To compare, during a 75 game regular season, van Riemsdyk only managed to score 21 goals. He has already picked up a third of that in the playoffs. He and Claude Giroux are becoming huge players for this team, and will be counted on more and more.

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