Boston, MA - Antero Niittymaki made 27 saves to backstop the visiting Philadelphia Flyers to a 1-0 victory over the Bruins at the TD Banknorth Garden on Monday afternoon. Flyers forward Jeff Carter beat Hannu Toivonen in the second period with the eventual game-winner. Toivonen made 20 saves for the Bruins in the loss.
"Obviously it's tough to win games when you don't score," said Coach Mike Sullivan. "I don't think it was from a lack of chances. According to our statistics, we had 18 scoring chances. That's a decent amount of chances to score goals and we didn't finish. Some of our guys that we rely on to finish, had some opportunities, but didn't finish. We have to do a better job at getting the puck to the net. We move the puck on the perimeter, but when we have opportunities to get the puck to the net, we have to take advantage."
In a scoreless first period, Boston outshot Philadelphia 10-8. The Bruins had several scoring opportunities, but Alex Zhamnov hit the right post, and with 12 seconds left in the period, Brad Boyes rang the crossbar.
"I think I had ten chances myself," said Boyes. "You don't get a lot of games where you get as many chances as I did today. I need to put them in. There's no excuse for not scoring those goals. Our line worked well in their zone, we just need to score on those chances."
At 6:25 of the second period, Philly's Jeff Carter broke the tie with his 10th of the season. On the breakaway, Carter snuck through the Bruins defense and tucked R.J. Umberger's pass through Toivonen's legs for the score.
"I couldn't make that one important stop and it cost us the game," said Toivonen. "It was a broken play at the blue line and a three-on-two turned into a breakaway. He made a good move and I couldn't stop it. It's disappointing and unfortunately, that was the game-breaking goal."
With 12:40 remaining in the third period, Boyes had another opportunity to tie the game with a wrist shot from the slot, however, Niittymaki challenged and made the save.
At 16:51 of third, the Flyers' Chris Therien was penalized for high sticking Marco Sturm. Boston pressured the Flyers on the ensuing power play, but failed to get the puck past Niittymaki.
"I think we're playing a more attack mind set," added Sullivan. "Our team hasn't been getting on our heels and we're trying to play that style of play. The last few weeks we're getting better at it.
"The story of today's game is really about us putting the puck in the net. We limited scoring chances. We did everything that we tried to accomplish defensively. We need to do a better job on the offensive side of the puck. I thought from a checking standpoint, our team did a real good job."
The Bruins will play host to the Ottawa Senators on January 5th at 7:00 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Garden with their second game of a seven-game home stand.