Reuters - Tue, 04 May 07:15:00 2010
Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the playoffs to give the Boston Bruins another dramatic late win over the Philadelphia Flyers and take charge of their Eastern Conference playoff series.
On the heels of Saturday's overtime triumph in the series opener, Lucic scored the Bruins game-winning slap shot with 2:57 remaining as Boston claimed a 3-2 win on Monday to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
In the Western conference, the Chicago Blackhawks scored four unanswered goals to top the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 and tie their best-of-seven series at 1-1.
In the Eastern semi-final matchup between the sixth and seventh seeds, who both pulled off a first-round upsets to advance, it is Boston who have managed to continue the momentum.
The Bruins claimed a 5-4 overtime victory in Game One, where Marc Savard returned from a nearly two-month injury layoff to score the winner.
"We have a lot of character on this team and when we play our game and step up things like this happen," Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask said after finishing with 24 saves in Game Two.
"Our crowd is giving us great support and it's like an extra player (for us)."
The best-of-seven series will shift to Philadelphia for Game Three on Wednesday when the Flyers will try to produce a better ending.
"Now we have to go into Philly and not think about being up so we're not on our heels," Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk said.
Thus far the Bruins have started quickly and surged to the finish in both home wins, and they once again took the early lead as Boychuk made a slap shot at 5:12 in the first period to open the scoring.
After Mike Richards tied the game for the Flyers with under three minutes left in the first, Miroslav Satan put Boston back on top 2-1 before Danny Briere again evened the score with 25 seconds left in the second.
Then came the deciding score, Lucic's turnaround slap from the right circle that was assisted by Satan and David Krejci.
The manner of the defeat will hurt Philadelphia, who needed to win on the last day of the regular season just to reach the postseason, and are suffering with injuries.
Top scorer Jeff Carter is out after a first-round injury required foot surgery, and the team is also missing winger Simon Gagne (toe) and center Ian Laperriere (concussion).
In Western Conference action, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to be heading to a second consecutive loss to the Vancouver Canucks when they fell behind 2-0 in the first period.
Mason Raymond and Mikael Samuelsson had put the Canucks ahead but Brent Seabrook pulled one back for Chicago at 7:40 in the first.
Patrick Sharp tied the score at 2-2 in the third for Chicago, while Kris Versteeg notched the go-ahead goal with 90 seconds remaining in the game.
Patrick Kane put in the fourth in the final minute to ensure the Blackhawks were level in the series ahead of Game Three in Vancouver on Wednesday.