Marquette native Justin Florek grew up watching the Red Wings, but last night, he made a big statement for the name written on his jersey: the Boston Bruins.
Florek suited up for both games in the Eastern Conference playoffs between the Red Wings and Bruins. His first career playoff goal came at 7:28 of the first period. That goal sparked Boston??s 4-1 victory in Game 2 inside the Garden.
??It was great,?? Florek said. ??Great to get the fans into it?| I think it was a great start for us and hopefully [we] carry that [energy] out the rest of the series.??
In that first period, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard came out to clear the puck from the zone, and tried to feed it to defenseman Brendan Smith. The puck bounced right off Smith??s leg and right in front of Florek. He quickly collected the puck, took a shot, and scored.
??I just tried to read [Howard] so it was a lucky bounce,?? Florek said. ??I think it hit the defenseman and went right to my stick, so right spot at the right time I guess.??
Lucky bounce or not, his success was seen all across the Upper Peninsula. His former head coach at Northern Michigan, Walt Kyle, even noticed.
??We were really happy for him,?? Kyle said. ??I think he??s a guy, to me, that is going to have a long career in the NHL. I was exposed to a little bit as a coach and I can tell you there??s a process to becoming a player there.??
??He??s called up earlier in the year, did a great job, and called up in the playoffs, the most difficult time of the year,?? Kyle continued. ??He was very, very solid. He??s just an honest player.??
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference playoffs shifts to Detroit??s Joe Louis Arena tomorrow night. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.