The Flyers came to get a game, to take one of the first two on the road in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins. Instead, they left empty-handed.
When Milan Lucic wheeled and fired the puck past Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher at 17:03 of the third period, the Bruins had Game 2 by a 3-2 score. It was tight. It was tense. It was well-played. But it was a loss for the Flyers, who now trail the series by two games to none.
Now comes the test -- of their nerve, and their gumption, and all of that. The series must be disheartening but the 0-2 deficit does not have to be fatal. As they say, it isn’t a series until someone loses a home game -- and no one has, not yet.
Really, this could not be much tighter. The first period ended at 1-1, the second period at 2-2. Both times, the Bruins made the initial statement and the Flyers provided the late-period answer.
Mike Richards scored the Flyers’ first goal, at 17:06 of the first period. It was the product of coach Peter Laviolette’s trying to find a way to scheme a way to get Richards more ice time away from Zdeno Chara, the Bruins’ top defenseman. Chara shadowed Richards relentlessly in Game 1. So, in this one, Laviolette clearly attempted to find chances for Richards to get away from big No. 33. On this one, the coach sent Richards over the boards in the middle of another line’s shift and, without Chara patrolling, Richards was able to maneuver in the offensive zone, wheel around and fire in the goal that made it 1-1.
A period later, Danny Briere scored the goal that made it 2-2. Jumping out of the penalty box after being called for hooking, Briere roared in on the right wing and scored a sniper’s goal, a laser just inside the far post with just 25 seconds remaining in the period. On the Bruins’ bench, coach Claude Julien could be seen turning and angrily punching the glass behind him.
The third period was close, too, exhaustingly so. And when Lucic took a pass from behind the net, turned and fired from between the circles, that was it.
Now, for the Flyers, the real test begins.