After Thursday's embarrassing loss, the Boston Bruins sat down with each other to air their grievances. Bruins head coach Dave Lewis pointed to that meeting as a key to the turnaround.
"It's really important," said Lewis. "It has to do with accountability…and individual performance. It has to do with our mindset and it has to do with becoming a better hockey team.
"You have to face adversity eye-to-eye. You can't hide from it.
"(We) just tried to figure out the reason why (we had lost to the Maple Leafs) and try to make it better," he said.
But the first period started much like the end of the last game, with the opposition on the scoreboard.
And with the Bruins playing without captain Zdeno Chara
(they called up Providence defenseman Matt Lashoff and goalie Hannu Toivonen this morning), the home fans had a right to be nervous.
Former Hartford Whaler, and current Philadelphia Flyer sparkplug, Sami Kapanen, scored his sixth goal of the season (shorthanded, unassisted) after a defensive mistake sprung him from his defensive zone, whereby he beat Boston starter Tim Thomas
glove side at 4:11.
Following that miscue, however, the rest of the period was colored Black & Gold.
"Of course we want to see him in the lineup as soon as possible, but maybe (missing Z) helped increase the level of urgency for the whole team," said Thomas. "The forwards really had to help the D out and sometimes, when you have such an important guy (on your team), you rely on him too much."
Forwards can help their defensemen best by scoring lots of goals, and Boston's Marc Savard
(12:28), Glen Murray (13:02) and Patrice Bergeron
(19:23) each beat Philadelphia goalie Robert Esche to give Boston the lead, 3-1, going into the first intermission.
"It was big," said Savard of the offensive explosion. "Even though we went down one nothing, we needed the win going up to Ottawa.
"So we gave it all we had and got the two points."
The ghosts of "The Mall" (the nickname given the Hartford Civic Center, former home of the Whale) or at least Philadelphia's venerable Spectrum, must have infiltrated the Garden this afternoon, because the Flyers Kapanen scored again to start the second period (5:17) and momentarily quieted the boisterous matinee capacity crowd in the Bruins home arena.
The noise returned, particularly at the behest of Smokey the Bear, who cheered on the B's with his usual "Here we go Bruins!" chant on Garden HDX, the new high definition scoreboard above mid ice.
Despite Smokey's encouragement, the Bruins did not score, but kept the lead, 3-2, going into the intermission.
This set up some exciting play in the third, and the teams did not disappoint.
Trapping a missed Bergeron shot with his foot at the side of the Flyers goal, a la his favorite move in the Bruins pre-game soccer kick around, and kicking it to his stick, Savard scored his second goal of the game at 2:21 and put Philadelphia behind the eight ball down 4-2.
Thomas did not have to be spectacular in the first 40-minutes, but had to make some difficult saves in the third period as Philadelphia began to crash the Boston net.
His diving stop on Simon Gagne with 7:29 remaining and again on R.J. Umberger with 5:20 left sent a message to the Flyers that there would be no breakdowns in his crease despite a consistent number of Bruins heading to the box in the third.
Thomas did allow a late goal, however, as former Bruin Mike Knuble seemingly kicked the puck by the Bruins goalie after he made an initial save at 18:05. The play was reviewed for several minutes and allowed.
"I never thought we were going to lose that game in the third once we went up by two," admitted Thomas. "I thought we'd pull it out, one way or another."
And when the game was on the line, Boston bottled Philadelphia in their end and did not allow Philadelphia's Esche to leave his crease.
"That was great," said Thomas. "They score with two minutes left…and the guys really came through.
"They basically never let them over the red line for the last two minutes and that's showing that you want to win the game.
"I never ended up having to make another save," said Thomas.
"We did great at the end," said assistant captain Patrice Bergeron
, who was questionable for the game this morning. "Especially (during) the third period. We kind of kept going at them and put the puck deep.
"I thought we played a good sixty minutes tonight."
B's forward Shean Donovan felt as if the Bruins had put Thursday's game behind them.
"Philly's battling and they worked hard," said Donovan. "But I thought everybody (on our team) played well and Timmy made the saves.
"It was good game for us."