Games That Defined a Stanley Cup Champion: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers

Joe GillCorrespondent IIJuly 28, 2011

Tim Thomas was unconscious making 52 saves in Game Two
Tim Thomas was unconscious making 52 saves in Game TwoPaul Bereswill/Getty Images

There are certain moments in time that define a team. There are games that truly illustrate the genetic makeup of a champion.

In this series, one game will be analyzed from each series of the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run. Each contest showcased the Bruins’ resolve and resiliency. This edition of the Boston Bruins was much different than their predecessors.

They learned how to overcome…..

May 2, 2011

Fresh off a 7-3 Game 1 thrashing of the Flyers, the Bruins were looking to take a 2-0 series lead heading back to Boston. This would be a tall order for the Black and Gold as Philadelphia would be looking to avenge their embarrassing home loss. This would be heavy weight bout in the home of Rocky Balboa.

The Flyers didn’t waste any time in wrestling away the series momentum in the game’s first minute. Former UNH Wildcat, James Van Riemsdyk put Philadelphia on the board just 29 seconds into the game. The Flyers were flying and their raucous fans were in frenzy.

And the Bruins would hear from No. 21 in orange again. Van Riemsdyk scored his second tally at 9:29 of the first period. The Bruins found themselves in a 2-0 hole before the 10-minute mark. There was plenty of time left in the contest, but could Boston survive Philly’s tidal wave of momentum?

David Krejci was a Flyer killer in Game Two.
David Krejci was a Flyer killer in Game Two.Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

The million dollar question was how would they respond to adversity?

Answer......pretty darn well.

Bruins forward Chris Kelly beat Flyers goalie, Brian Boucher to cut the Flyers lead to 2-1.  And before the Philadelphia netminder could take a drink from his water bottle, Brad Marchand was tying up the game on a tape to tape pass from Patrice Bergeron.

In just an 85-second span, the Bruins sucked the life out of the Flyers and their once rowdy crowd.

The first period was a wild affair. Each team scored two goals and combined for 30 shots (16-Boston & 14-Philly). The remainder of Game 2 will be decided by the goaltenders. Who would prevail in this battle between the pipes? Vezina Trophy favorite, Tim Thomas or journeyman Brian Boucher?

Brian Boucher would miss some of this netminding showdown as he left the second period with a potential wrist injury (he had made 21 saves to this point). Insert rookie goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky onto the goaltending merry go round. He turned away all six shots he faced before Boucher returned to the game.

As questions about the Philly goaltending situation swirled, Tim Thomas was the Bruins answer to victory. He turned away 20 of the 22 shots over the first two periods. However, Thomas saved his best for last.

To say Tim Thomas was epic in the third period would be a vast understatement. He was unconscious. The Flyers were so sore from kicking themselves after each scoring opportunity was pushed aside by the man they called, “Tank”.

As Pac-man to a power pellet, Tim Thomas gobbled up all 22 Philadelphia shots in the final 20 minutes. He willed the Bruins to OT as his teammates could only muster seven shots.

On to overtime, when anything can happen and it usually does. The Flyers continued to buzz Thomas ‘cage, peppering him with another 10 shots. The shot count was mounting, but no one on Philadelphia could solve Tim Thomas. He faced a game’s worth of shots in just 34 minutes (32 shots).

He continued to give the Bruins life and the chance to win, but who would grasp the opportunity at hand?

His name was David Krejci, the Flyer killer. In the opening game of the series, Krejci scored two goals and added two assists in the Bruins rout. Krejci would show no brotherly love for Philadelphia during OT of Game 2.

The Bruins pivot took a feed from Nathan Horton and launched a missile past Flyers’ goalie, Brian Boucher at the 14:00 mark. However, the puck deflected right out of the net and play continued. After further review, the goal was allowed, and David Krejci drove a dagger in the heart of the team that ended his 2009-2010 season.

The Boston Bruins resiliency, refusal to lose and passionate play continued into their series with Philadelphia. Tim Thomas showed all of these characteristics in his epic 52-save performance. He gave David Krejci the opportunity to become the hero even though he had the true heroic night.

Games that past Bruins teams would lose, this edition found a way to win or in this case, steal.


Check out the other installments in the series:

Games That Defined A Stanley Cup Champion: Bruins at Canadiens