Bring out the brooms! Flames win 5-2.
By Aaron McCracken
The venue may have moved 800 kilometers south, but the outcome was basically the same. The Saint John Flames dominated game three of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals and skated away with a 5-2 victory and a 3-0 series lead.
Sergei Varlamov had a pair of goals, his 10th and 11th of the post season, while Daniel Tkaczuk and Steve Montador each added three assists. Martin Brochu made 25 saves for his 9th playoff win, and had yet another excellent outing.
Varlamov opened the scoring midway through the first when the he skated in two-on-one on a power play and blasted a shot over John Grahame's glove. However, the Bruins would tie the game early in the 2nd when Blair Betts coughed up the puck in front of the net. Lee Goren grabbed the puck and fired it past Brochu for a power play goal it was the Bruins' first in their last 41 power play chances (and that's not a typo!).
The 2nd period was déjà vu of Games 1 and 2 -- the Bruins then ran into penalty trouble and the Flames made them pay! Early in the period, Daniel Tkaczuk made a beautiful pass to Steve Begin, who scored his 9th of the post-season (and 5th on the power play). The Bruins took a penalty on the play, and Chris Clark scored less than two minutes later to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
If the game had a turning point, it came midway through the period. With the Bruins pressing on a rare power play of their own, Steve Begin had a breakaway, but was cross-checked from behind by Nick Boynton. The Bruins defenseman received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, giving the Flames an extended power play. Daniel Tkaczuk eventually made it 4-1 on a one-timer from Steve Begin through traffic, giving the Flames a commanding lead.
Lee Goren made it 4-2 on his second of the game midway through the 3rd period, but Sergei Varlamov responded with a bullet of his own past Grahame less than a minute later to send the Bruins fans to the exits. The Bruins made little effort down the stretch, and allowed the Flames to skate to yet another dominating victory. One has to wonder if the Bruins will have any confidence in game four (Friday night, 7:00 EST), or if they'll just be content to call it a season.
News and Notes
Aaron's Three Stars
1. Daniel Tkaczuk
Lines and Roster update
Murray Varlamov Botterill
Tkaczuk Begin -- Clark
Betts Roche Fata
Scratches: Chris St. Croix (healthy), Bobby Russell (healthy), Jeff Mitchell (healthy), Jamie Ling (healthy), Miika Elomo (out), Kenny Corupe (out), Jason Morgan (out), Dany Sabourin (healthy).