December 2 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The Boston Bruins didn’t exorcise the ghosts of the Playoff Meltdown Heard ‘Round the NHL on Wednesday night.
But they at least got some satisfaction.
For that, they can thank their veteran goalie, Tim Thomas.
Thomas made 41 saves as the Bruins blanked the Flyers, 3-0, before a sellout crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.
It was Thomas’ league-high fifth shutout in 16 games this season – and the 22d of his career – as Boston won the teams’ first meeting since the Bruins blew a three-games-to-none series lead in last season’s conference semifinals.
“It’s frustrating when you have so many chances and rebounds and two-on-ones, and he’s there to make the saves every time,” winger Scott Hartnell said.
Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky played well for the Flyers but was upstaged by Thomas, who began the year with a team-record eight-game winning streak – topping the mark of six consecutive wins to start a year, set in 1937.
Thomas’ night included a penalty-shot save on Hartnell late in the second period. He later added a sprawling how’d-he-do-that? stop on Claude Giroux’s ticketed slot drive early in the final period.
The Flyers, now 4-3-1 when they take at least 40 shots, had better scoring chances than the Bruins, but Thomas had all the answers. The Flyers have a total of three goals in their last three games.
“You have to have traffic,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “You’re not going to score in this league very often shooting from the outside. You have to get inside in the dirty areas and get a screen set up, especially against a goalie who is playing very well.”
Milan Lucic made it 3-0 with an empty-net goal with 1 minute, 48 seconds left.
It was the third straight defeat for the Flyers, who lost their previous two games in shoot-outs.
Boston has not lost a game in which it had a lead since it lost a 3-0 cushion to the Flyers in Game 7 last season.
“Well, that was a big one to blow,” center Danny Briere said with a smile.
About 61/2 months ago, these teams staged one of the wackiest playoff series the NHL has ever witnessed.
Boston became the third team in league history to blow a 3-0 series lead. The Bruins also became the first team to cough up a 3-0 series lead and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 as they fell to the visiting Flyers, 4-3, in the decisive contest of their Eastern Conference semifinals.”
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