In a rare day this playoff season that did not feature an overtime game, Detroit finally defeated San Jose and the crap hit the fan for the Philadelphia Flyers as they got swept by the Boston Bruins.
Detroit vs. San Jose- With the Sharks leading the series 3-0, the Red Wings had very little margin of error in this and any other game they play this series. They started the game controlling the puck and dominating play. The first three goals were scored by the Red Wings, all in a span of 12 minutes. The first goal was scored on a beautiful backhander by Todd Bertuzzi. His second goal of the playoffs was assisted by Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary.
Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was the star of the period for the Red Wings as he scored twice in the opening period. It was the fourth time he has scored multiple goals in a single period in his career, trailing only Paul Coffey who had five. His first goal was scored thanks to a shot from Cleary in which Sharks goalie Antti Niemi failed to control the rebound that went to the top of the right circle in which Lidstrom fired a point blank into the net.
The Red Wings earned the 3-0 lead courtesy of Lidstrom at 18:01. In one of the prettiest goals you will ever see, Zetterberg passed the puck to Lidstrom and Lidstrom skipped the puck off the ice and into the net. Pavel Datsyuk had the second assist on the goal. San Jose coach Todd McClellan called time out after the goal and it paid off as they got on the scoreboard 15 seconds later when rookie of the year candidate Logan Couture scored his third of the season.
The only goal of the second period was by the Sharks when Dan Byle streaked in from the point past a sleeping Jiri Hudler, took a pass from Kyle Wellwood and roofed a wrist shot past Jimmy Howard at 13:44. The Sharks were able to tie the game early in the third period when the Detroit defense abandoned the front of the net in which Dany Heatley took a wrist shot and put it past the stick side of Howard. On the goal at 1:14 into the third period, Couture got his second point of the night and Clowe earned his third assist. The rest of the game would swing in favor of the Sharks, and it looked like it was going to overtime for the third time of the series, but it would be Darren Helm scoring his second goal of the playoffs with 1:27 remaining in the game to give the Red Wings the 4-3 victory. Niemi made 36 saves, while Howard stopped 25 shots. Both teams combined for one goal on six power play opportunities, with Lidstrom’s second goal being the only one not scored at even strength. Game five is Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Philadelphia vs Boston- With the Bruins having a 3-0 lead like last year, the last thing the Bruins wanted to do was give the Flyers a sniff at winning and getting back in the series. They did not mess around as they were able to advance to the East finals for the first time since 1992 with a 5-1 victory. The goaltending roulette wheel for Philadelphia stopped on rookie Sergei Bobrovsky as he got the start from Peter Laviolette in game four.
The scoring got started midway through the first period when Milan Lucic took a feeder outside the goal crease from Nathan Horton and put the puck in the net for the first goal of the game. Bobrovsky would do his best to keep the Flyers competitive and in the contest as it was only a 1-1 tie after two periods. The Flyers got their only goal of the contest 13:22 into the second period when Kris Versteeg scored his only goal of the playoff run when Mike Richards stole the puck at their own blue line, sending the duo on a 2-0 towards Tim Thomas. Richards fed the puck to Versteeg, in which he sent a backhanded shot into the net to tie the game.
As probably expected by most fans of the Bruins, the 4-0 avalanche of goals started 2:42 into the third period when Johnny Boychuk stepped into and fired a long slap shot from the point past the glove side of Bobrovsky. Off the faceoff, Michael Ryder fed the loose puck towards Boychuk in which he fired it into the net. Boston would take a two-goal lead with five mintes left when Lucic and Horton hooked up for the second time of the night. Lucic scored on a breakaway as he was able to put the puck past Bobrovsky, who made 22 saves on 25 shots. The Bruins scored two additional empty net goals late in the contest as the Flyers had nothing to lose by sending an additional attacker on the ice. Tim Thomas made 22 saves on 23 shots in the victory.
The Bruins will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a schedule for the Eastern finals has not been announced.