While the Boston sports nation marvels at the pretty new statue and guffaws at the mayor who doesn't know his uprights from his foul poles, there's still a hockey game to be played tonight, as the Boston Bruins try to eliminate a defiant Philadelphia Flyers team.
The Bruins are up 3 games to 1 in what's been, outside of Game 3, a tightly-played series. As Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly wrote, the difference between Game 6 and the Flyers packing up for the summer could come down to special teams:
The Flyers are 0-for-10 in their last three games on the power play, while the Bruins have scored at least one power-play goal in three of those games. Boston has not allowed a power-play goal on the road in these playoffs, going 17-for-17 on the kill.
Given three of the four games in the series have been decided by a single goal, special teams can obviously make a critical difference.
The Bruins have the best kill in the playoffs, clicking at a 94.1 percent success rate and having allowed 2 goals in 34 times shorthanded. The Flyers are 2-for-15 in the series, missing Jeff Carter(notes) (2 PPG in the postseason before his injury; 22 power-play points in the regular season) something wicked.
The shorthanded leaders for the Bruins are Zdeno Chara(notes) (3:08 TOI shorthanded per game) and Johnny Boychuk(notes) (3:03) on defense; Daniel Paille(notes) (2:24) and Steve Begin(notes) (2:13) at forward. Patrice Bergeron(notes) (1:51) is third among forwards in shorthanded ice time, which isn't bad for a dude who's basically powering the Bruins' offense. From WEEI and the Big Bad Blog:
Bergeron has four goals and seven assists through the first 11 games of the playoffs and he has been a difference-maker on both sides of the blue line. One has to wonder, though, if a guy like Bergeron, known especially to be a great defensive forward who is strong on the faceoff, purposely started to ramp up his offensive production. It seems in the nature of a guy like Bergeron, quiet yet with a developed sense of responsibility, to take it upon himself to create more offense for a team that struggled to light the lamp throughout the year.
"If you play defensively sound and it starts for a good offense. You know, I have always done that and it has been going well," Bergeron said. "I think right now, I don't think I am doing anything different, it is just going in."
Well, that's always a good thing. So can the Flyers live on to play another game, or does Boston end this thing in Beantown?