Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette claimed Monday night's game at Boston was a must-win for his players. They couldn't deliver.
But Bruins forward Milan Lucic did, blasting a shot through a screen past Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher with 2:57 left in regulation to give his team a 3-2 victory.
"I was trying to block the defence out and wheel and shoot," said Lucic, who hadn't scored in the playoffs and had just one goal since March 25. "Luckily, it found a hole. … It was more a relief than anything else, especially when it's a game-winner like that."
It was only Lucic's second goal at TD Garden this season, but it raised Boston's home record in these playoffs to 5-0 and, more importantly, gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven NHL Eastern Conference semifinal.
Lucic missed a month early in the season with a broken finger and a month in the second half with a high ankle sprain, injuries that limited him to career-lows of 50 games and 20 points. When he returned, he was a steady presence in the lineup but not on the scoresheet, getting just one goal in the last 10 games of the regular season and none in the first seven games of the playoffs.
"He obviously had a tough season, with everything he's gone through with the ankle and everything like that," said linemate Marc Savard, who returned for Game 1 after missing seven weeks with a concussion. "He's battling, and that's a huge goal. It helps his confidence and he is only going to get better because of that."
Johnny Boychuk and Miroslav Satan also scored for Boston, which has won seven straight on home ice after winning just three of its last 17 in the regular season after the New Year's Day Winter Classic against the Flyers at Fenway Park.
Savard 'pretty cowardly'
Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard took a bite out of Philadelphia's Stanley Cup hopes in Game 1 when he scored the winning goal in overtime.
And in Game 2, he actually bit Daniel Carcillo's finger, the Flyers forward said.
Carcillo complained to Canadian cable sports network TSN during the game that Savard bit him after a whistle at the 5:55 mark of the second period. Savard slashed at goalie Brian Boucher's glove, drawing a penalty and the anger of several Flyers who descended on him.
Carcillo said after the game that he hasn't been bitten since grade school. He called Savard "pretty cowardly."
But Savard asked what Carcillo's finger was doing in his mouth anyway.
"I think he tried to pull my teeth out," Savard said. "If that's biting, I don't know what to say."
— The As sociated Press
Satan, who assisted on Lucic's winner, extended his points streak to five games (four goals, eight points) and has 23 points in 23 playoff games against the Flyers.
Mike Richards and Daniel Briere found the net for Philadelphia, which trailed 1-0 and 2-1 Monday after erasing three two-goal deficits in the series opener.
The Flyers pulled Boucher in the final minutes for an extra skater, but the best scoring chance was a shot by Boston forward Dan Paille that veteran Philadelphia defenceman Chris Pronger got his stick on and watched hit the post to keep it a 3-2 game.
The Bruins seem to have found a way to get an edge against Boucher, who entered Monday's contest with a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, the second- and third-best totals in this year's Stanley Cup run.
Rolling pucks have been the netminder's nemesis and were huge for the Bruins in Game 2.
After a strong display of forechecking by his teammates, Lucic pounced on a loose puck, settled it down, spun around and beat Boucher with a low shot to the blocker side. It was the big left-winger's first goal in nine games and just his second in 18 starts.
Boychuk opened the scoring at 5:12 of the first period, beating Flyers defenceman Braydon Coburn to the puck off the faceoff and wristing a rolling puck over Boucher's blocker.
In between, Satan extended his consecutive games scoring streak to three, snapping a shot between Boucher's legs.
Boucher was otherwise solid and was a huge reason the score remained 1-0 Boston until Richards took advantage of a Vladimir Sobotka giveaway.
After taking a Briere pass behind the goalline, Richards went wide, skated across the ice and beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask at 17:06 of the period for his fourth goal of these playoffs and seventh in 10 outings dating back to the regular season.
Power play problems
Philadelphia, which scored twice on the power play in a 5-4 Game 1 loss, had two chances with the man-advantage to break a 2-2 tie in the third period Monday but couldn't beat Rask, who made 24 saves on the night.
"It's almost like back-to-back overtime losses, they scored so late," said Briere, who assisted on Richards's goal for his fourth straight multiple-point game. "The good thing, the positive, is we know we can play. We know we're right there. It could be a bounce going one way or the other that can change the outcome."
Tough guy Shawn Thornton, playing in place of injured Bruins forward Marco Sturm, made the most of his eight shifts and four minutes 22 seconds of ice time.
A healthy scratch in Game 1, he came out full of energy and posted Boston's first two shots of the game in the opening 35 seconds. He finished with three shots and won one of two faceoffs.
Sturm tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee in the series opener and will miss the rest of the playoffs.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET.