The Boston Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the third period to beat Philadelphia 5-1 and sweep their Eastern Conference semi-final as the Detroit Red Wings beat San Jose 4-3 to extend their series with the Sharks.
Detroit squandered a three-goal lead against San Jose on Friday before Darren Helm’s strike with less than 90 seconds left earned the Red Wings a 4-3 win in Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final series.
The Sharks, who now lead the series 3-1, will have another chance to advance to the conference final in Game 5 today in San Jose.
“We’re going back home still in command up 3-1,” said Sharks winger Ryan Clowe, who assisted on all three Sharks goals. “We won last game, we lost tonight in the last minute and we weren’t close to being on top of our game. We have to regroup. Give them credit.”
With the scores locked at 3-3, Detroit winger Patrick Eaves picked up a loose puck in the Sharks zone and faked a shot before sliding a pass across the slot to the wide open Helm.
“It was a great pass by Patty,” Helm said. “He gave a good pump and kind of put everyone down, and I think the goalie bit pretty good on it. Just laid it nicely there in front of me and I was able to see the open net.”
The Red Wings showed their desperation from the opening face-off and jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period, Todd Bertuzzi’s opener followed by two goals from Nicklas Lidstrom.
The Sharks got one back late in the period through Logan Couture and despite being outshot 10-6 in the second, San Jose cut the deficit to 3-2 on defenseman Dan Boyle’s goal.
San Jose leveled the score at 3-3 early in the third period through Dany Heatley and the writing looked on the wall as the Sharks went on a pair of power-plays.
However, Detroit regained the momentum by killing off both penalties and Helm struck late to earn the Wings the win.
“It’s about the logo on your chest. There’s a lot of pride in this dressing room and guys knew it was a desperate situation, and they didn’t want to be embarrassed by being swept,” Helm said. “Tonight, we just told ourselves we weren’t going to be denied.”
In Boston, the Bruins exacted revenge on the Flyers, who became the third team in NHL history to battle back from a 3-0 series deficit to eliminate Boston last season.
“It was really big for us,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand said. “There was so much talk and hype about what happened last year, so we just wanted to take control and not go through that same situation.”
Milan Lucic scored his first goal of the playoffs to give the Bruins a 1-0 first period lead, but Kris Versteeg scored the only goal in the second period to tie the game heading into the third period.
Johnny Boychuk scored the eventual game-winner early in the third period, slapping a rolling puck past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Lucic scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway with less than five minutes remaining.
“It was unbelievable, it was huge,” Boychuk said of his goal. “As soon as it happened I … was relieved I got a chance to make sure our team got up another goal and it’s just a great feeling and when Lucic scored, it was an even better feeling.”
Marchand and Daniel Paille scored into an empty net for further insurance.
“I really think they outworked us, they won more battles,” Flyers center Claude Giroux said. “Their team was better than our team.”