PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Bruins will celebrate last season's success Monday with a trip to the White House.
They had a chance to prove they still belong among the NHL's elite this season, and capped a big weekend with a wild 6-5 shootout win against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.
On the heels of Saturday's overtime loss at the New York Rangers, the Bruins picked up three of four points to move into a tie with the Rangers atop the Eastern Conference with 64 points.
Scott Hartnell had a natural hat trick in the second period, Maxime Talbot scored twice and Claude Giroux had 3 assists as the single point moved the Flyers within three of the idle Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"It's good," Lucic said of the Bruins' successful weekend. "Two teams that are on top of the league and the Eastern Conference, two teams that have played well all season. It's great that we were able to get one yesterday and get that shootout win here today. We still want to end on a high note going into Washington on Tuesday."
It was wild, physical game that could have been part of some of the legendary battles between the Broad Street Bullies and the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s, the game featured 63 hits, 68 penalty minutes, three fights and numerous scoring chances each way.
The Bruins led 3-1 after one period, the Flyers took a 4-3 lead after two, the Bruins score twice in the first five minutes of the third to go back on top, and then the Flyers get a goal midway through the third to force extra time.
"I thought we had a real good first period, and of our own doing we let them back in the game in the second period," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We stopped playing and they kept coming at us. They just took control of the game then. Third became a dogfight. Obviously penalties ended up hurting us and giving them a chance to get back in the game. We had to rely on our shooters in the shootout to win us that game."
Hartnell completed the sixth hat trick of his career with 46.7 seconds left in the second period, giving the Flyers a 4-3 lead. That advantage, however, was lost in the first 4:59 of the third.
"You've got to be able to nail games down when you're up a goal," said Hartnell, "especially against an offensive team like the Bruins. We didn't do it tonight."
Krejci tipped Rich Peverley's shot from above the left circle past Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov just 1:19 into the period. And just 3:40 later, Gregory Campbell put the Bruins ahead 5-4 with his sixth goal of the season. Adam McQuaid and Daniel Paille worked the puck behind the Philadelphia net, with Paille trying to come in front for a wraparound. The puck appeared to bounce off Bryzgalov's pads and off Campbell's stick before landing in the back of the net at 4:59.
"He (Campbell) drove with his stick between my legs, and I couldn't go down to protect the low part of the ice," said Bryzgalov. "The puck hit him in the stick and it was just going in the net."
Talbot's second of the game tied it at 10:38. With the Flyers on the power play, Matt Carle's blast from the point went off Talbot's stick while the forward was stationed in front of Tim Thomas.
After a scoreless overtime, the Flyers opened the shootout with rookie Matt Read losing the puck on his way to the net. Krejci beat Bryzgalov, while Giroux answered by beating Thomas. Seguin then beat Bryzgalov, while Thomas stopped Wayne Simmonds for the victory.
The Flyers dropped to 0-3 in the shootout this season, with Bryzgalov allowing all five shooters he's faced to score. Their 19-37 all-time record is the worst in the history of the shootout.
"Goalies need to stop the puck more," Bryzgalov said when asked if the team needs to more practice on the shootout. "I was five and five this year -- five attempts and five goals."
Seguin said after he saw Krejci beat Bryzgalov to the glove side, he was hoping to find the same spot.
"I did want to go glove side," said Seguin. "I saw (Krejci) go down and shoot there, and I thought it was open, so I tried to make a couple more moves."
The win was the Bruins' sixth straight regular-season win in Philadelphia, but this one was one of their toughest. Coming on the heels of their last visit -- a 6-0 rout Dec. 17 -- the players knew they'd be in for a tougher battle.
"They're a team with a lot of pride," said Lucic. "Nobody likes to get shut out 6-0 in their own building. We expected it to be a tough game. It's always a tough game against the Flyers, they always bring their best. It was another hard-fought game. Fortunately we were able to end up on top."
The Bruins started out fast, as Bergeron tipped a Brad Marchand pass behind Bryzgalov just 50 seconds into the game en route putting the Bruins ahead early.
While the game featured goals, it also saw a ton of physicality, including a concussive hit by the Flyers' Brayden Schenn, who leveled Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer with a hard open-ice shoulder check at 9:37 of the period. Kampfer had to be helped from the ice but was able to return in the second period. Schenn also missed time with a cut on his face from a fight with Chris Kelly immediately following the big hit.
The second featured Hartnell scoring his three goals, all from the same spot -- the left faceoff circle on one-timers.
It's Hartnell's first hat trick since Dec. 20, 2008, and the sixth of his career. It's also the first natural hat trick by a Flyer since Jeff Carter did it Nov. 11, 2010 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hartnell now has 25 goals on the season, just five short of his career high of 30 with nearly half the season to go. He's tied for fifth in the League in goals, and his 13 goals on the power play are one more than Pittsburgh's James Neal for the top spot.
"He got the opportunity to play with Giroux and (Jaromir) Jagr, but at first everyone was using him to be a space-maker out there," said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. "I don't think that's the case anymore. I think he's a key contributor and a key factor as to why that line is successful. He's got a lot of confidence right now the way he's playing. Tonight his game was excellent; he was physical and obviously offensively he did what he needed to do. He was a competitive guy out there for us. His game has been really good for a long time."
Trailing after 40 minutes, Julien lit into his team during the intermission.
"I wasn't a very happy coach after the second period," he said. "This is where your team responds and they responded to what I had to say and they went out there and found a way to win."
When asked what he said, Julien replied, "You'd have to edit it. Not fit for family viewing."
They did respond, and will go into Washington for a day of celebration and then one final game before the All-Star break.
"We weren't too happy with the consistency of our game," said Seguin. "Right now, I think there is a bit of a bittersweet taste in our mouths. We want to go into Washington, with one game left until the All-Star break, and play a full sixty minutes."
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