BOSTON – Michael Ryder scored to beat the Canadiens in the first two minutes of overtime of Game 4. Nathan Horton needed two OTs to end it three nights later, then he added another sudden-death goal in Game 7 to help the Bruins eliminate Montreal from the playoffs.
When David Krejci beat Philadelphia’s Brian Boucher 14 minutes into the extra period in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Boston improved to 4-0 in overtime so far this post-season.
The Bruins say the key is remaining aggressive.
But having Vezina Trophy finalist Tim Thomas behind them in net doesn’t hurt, either.
“In overtime, there’s no doubt, you’ve got to tell your players to play to win,” coach Claude Julien said Tuesday, a day after Krejci’s goal gave Boston a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia and a 2-0 lead in the series. “Don’t sit back. But the main thing is about trying to make sure you minimize those mistakes that can be costly, because it doesn’t take much.”
On Monday night, Philadelphia made the mistake, failing to clear the puck out of its own zone and allowing Horton to get to it on the boards. He passed it over to Krejci, who one-timed it past Boucher off the back of the net; the referee initially waved it off and it wasn’t until a whistle for icing about a minute later that a review showed the goal was good.
For the Bruins, it was well worth the wait.
“It’s a bit of a crapshoot when you go into overtime. At that point in the game, both teams are in the same boat,” defenceman Andrew Ference said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a bit of luck.”
But it’s more than luck that have the Bruins sitting on a two-game lead over the Flyers, with a chance to close out the series at home in Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday. Of course, it was only a year ago that Philadelphia lost the first three games of the conference semifinals before coming back to beat the Bruins in Game 7.
Flyers centre Claude Giroux said the team would like to avoid being in that position again.
“Coming back from 0-3—I think it’s pretty hard, even if we did it last year,” he said. “We don’t want to put ourselves in that situation. With the game we played last night, I think that we have to keep that same mindset and stay aggressive.”
The Flyers pelted Thomas with 54 shots in all, outshooting Boston 32-12 in the third period and overtime. But the 2009 Vezina winner stopped 46 consecutive shots and a career-high 52 in all.
“He kept us in it,” defenceman Tomas Kaberle said. “If it hadn’t been for him, I don’t know what would be the end.”
Neither team had a full practice on Tuesday. The Bruins gathered at the TD Garden for a team meeting and off-ice workouts, and the Flyers made did the same in Philadelphia.
Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger, who missed Game 2 with an undisclosed injury, was not on the ice, but leading regular-season scorer Jeff Carter skated briefly on his own. Boucher, who left Monday night’s game for 10 minutes in the second period but returned in the third, said his hand was not swollen where it was hit by a puck.
General manager Paul Holmgren said all of the players were day-to-day.
Julien said defenceman Adam McQuaid, who crashed head first into the boards in Game 2, had a sprained neck and was a day-to-day decision. Steven Kampfer, a potential fill-in, has been out three weeks with an injured knee; he resumed skating for the first time on Tuesday, but Julien said he would be out “a while.”