Two weeks ago, Bruins fans wouldn’t have known who Justin Florek was unless they followed the Providence Bruins intently. Florek was up for a brief stint with the Black and Gold this season, but not long enough to make an impression.
Well, in his second career playoff game, Florek scored his first career playoff goal giving the Bruins an early lead that they desperately needed after going scoreless in Game 1.
Florek scored his first goal by pressuring the Red Wings defense until Jimmy Howard tried to make a play on it, but instead he gift-wrapped a pass to Florek who buried it into the open net for the goal.
“Yeah, it was a good present there,” Florek said about his first career postseason goal. “It was good to get the team going, I think that was the biggest thing, get some momentum in the building. So that was a big start for us.”
Florek is filling in on the third line alongside Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg while Chris Kelly nurses a back injury. He’s a big body that “gets” what the Bruins are all about. He has filled in very nicely and even he knows that goal gave the Bruins the jump they needed in Game 2.
“Yeah, it was back and forth a couple of penalties to start the game there, trying to get the flow back into the game so it was good to get that goal and get everyone going,” Florek said.
Florek’s first career playoff goal ended up being the first goal scored by the Black and Gold in the 2014 playoffs and while it gave his team the lead, it also helped him gain more and more confidence playing with the big club.
“It felt great, you know, just to get the fans into it and get everyone going, especially the team,” Florek said. “So I think it was a good start for us and hopefully you know carry that out through the rest of the series.”
Milan Lucic applauded Florek’s efforts and admitted the team gained a lot of momentum when he lit the lamp early on.
“Yeah I think getting that first one was huge, especially after not being able to get one past them last game,” Lucic told reporters after the game. “Sometimes all it takes is a lucky bounce like that to kind of turn the tide and get some confidence and momentum in the goal-scoring department. So great job by him pouncing on the puck to get that first goal.”
Head coach Claude Julien pushed the right button with Florek giving him a chance through the team’s first two playoff games and he is excited about how the kid is playing.
It will be interesting to see what Julien will do if Paille and Kelly are both ready to give it a go on Tuesday night in Detroit. Florek has been solid for the two games he has played in during the post season, but we expect Julien to ride with what got him here in the first place. But, it seems Kelly’s injury is a nagging one so maybe Jordan Caron will take a seat and Florek will get the nod. Stay tuned.