PHILADELPHIA — They may not have had the regular-season results or the playoff seeding to support it, but the Boston Bruins are apparently a better team on ice than on paper.
Through injuries and slumps and the danger of missing the post-season altogether, the Bruins persevered. And now they find themselves a win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference final.
“We quietly believed in ourselves all year,” said forward Marc Savard after Wednesday’s 4-1 win. “We kept that to ourselves but we never stopped believing we were a good team.”
Savard, who was expected to be public enemy No. 1 after allegedly biting the Flyers Daniel Carcillo in Game 2, was anything but in Game 3. He weathered the odd boo from the Wachovia Center crowd and assisted on the game winner. But other than that, he went about his business, like the rest of his determined teammates.
From the first seed with 116 points in 2008-09 to the sixth with 91 this spring, the Bruins may have regressed by the numbers, but they aren’t showing it in the results that matter most.
Even with the Flyers seeming to control the flow on Wednesday, the Bruins never wavered.
“(The Flyers) kind of looked like us all year — chance after chance, controlling the play,” said forward Blake Wheeler, who scored his first of the s. “Maybe they controlled it in the offensive zone, but we made it difficult for them.”
The Bruins weren’t without a couple of losses, however. Forward David Krejci was taken to the hospital after being clocked by Flyers captain Mike Richards and defenceman Adam McQuaid is being evaluated for an undisclosed injury.
The Flyers, meanwhile, seem to be wearing down without the presence of three of their key players — Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Ian Laperriere. Gagne has been skating this week and eyeing a possible return for Game 5 next Monday.
It’s up to the rest of his teammates to make sure there is one.