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Game Day: Flyers vs. Bruins

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Philadelphia 1 2 0 1-4

Boston           3 0 0 0-3

First Period-1, Boston, Savard 21 (Lucic, Stuart), 3:52. 2, Philadelphia, S.Gagne 21 (Knuble, Giroux), 14:57 (pp). 3, Boston, Bitz 1 (Stuart), 18:59. 4, Boston, Kobasew 11 (Hnidy, Bergeron), 19:07.

Second Period-5, Philadelphia, Metropolit 2 (Asham), 2:08. 6, Philadelphia, Hartnell 20 (Carter, Lupul), 6:25 (pp).

Third Period-None.

Overtime-7, Philadelphia, Jones 3 (Carter, Hartnell), 3:00.

Shots on Goal-Philadelphia 9-12-7-2-30. Boston 15-10-8-4-37.

Goalies-Philadelphia, Biron, Niittymaki. Boston, Fernandez. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:36.
Overtime recap: It took just three minutes for the Flyers to win it with a lucky bounce.  Niittymaki kept the puck out of his net while the Bruins power play ran down, and at the two-minute mark, Randy Jones's shot bounced past Fernandez, giving the Flyers a 4-3 overtime win.

2:00 - Randy Jones scores. Boston falls 4-3, OT. Jones flip shot bounced off a Boston defenseman and into the goal.

2:33 - Boston hits the post.

2:49 - Icing Philadelphia.

4:11 - Another save by the Philadelphia goalie. He holds on.

4:33 - Big save by Niittymaki with Boston on the man advantage.

5:00 - Overtime. Boston starts with a short PP.
Third period recap: For a period with no scoring, and only a combined 15 shots on goal, the Bruins/Flyers matchup did not disappoint in terms of action.

The Flyers started the final period on a power play resulting from a hooking call on Bruins forward Blake Wheeler late in the second but were unable to capitalize early in the third.

About halfway through the period Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman took a puck up high, and linemate Zdeno Chara got into a tussle with two Philadelphia men deep in the Boston zone.

The B’s had perhaps their best scoring attempt with 5:41 left in regulation, but Niittymaki denied it quickly, making a sprawling save to keep the score tied at three.
The B’s started their period on a kill and the Flyers ended it on one. The B’s had a few scoring attempts, but two Philadelphia shorthanded attempts put the scare in the air.

0:00 - End of regulation.

4.5 - Fernandez with a gorgeous glove save on Gagne.

1:24 - Niittymaki hit the puck over the glass on purpose. Delay of game and Boston gets a PP.

1:47 - A Philly shot goes just wide. Phew. Manny might have gotten a piece.

3:12 - Two saves by Nittymaki. He holds on.

5:41 - Niittymaki jumps on the puck and we'll have a face off in the Philly zone.

8:46 - Giroux pulls down Kobasew and the B's will have a late PP.

9:14 - Offside Boston.

11:34 - Yelle just missed on his bid to untie things...

12:16 - Gagne shoots. Fernandez stops it and holds on.

13:09 - Wideman got hit high with a puck. Looks okay. But Zee got into it with two Flyers in the B's zone. Nothing came of it.

14:44 - Icing. Shots are 27 - 21, Boston.

15:47 - Some decent work by both teams...

17:49 - Manny pounced on another loose puck.

18:37 - Another pileup but no penalties and no fights.

19:22 - Flyers trying to take advantage of the man-advantage.

20:00 - Start of the Third. Today's game is a sell out, 17,565.
Second period recap: It ain’t over till it’s over. And this game ain’t over.

Flyers forward Glen Metropolit, a former Bruin, scored for the visiting team just 2:08 into the second period to put the Flyers within one. It wasn’t long before Flyers forward Scott Hartnell found the back of the net on a power play to even up the score with 13:35 left in the second.

Going into this period, Philadelphia yanked goaltender Martin Biron in favor of Antero Niittymaki. Niittymaki made 12 saves and shut the Bruins out for this 20-minute skate.

Despite the Flyers coming into this afternoon’s contest with a losing record when trailing after the first, it is now anyone’s game as we go into the final third tied at three apiece

0.0 - End of the Second. Glad that's over. Yuck.

3.8 - Hooking Wheeler. Ugh.

1:10 - Three nice saves by Fernandez who goes into the snow angel to cover the puck for the faceoff.

2:15 - Chara and Harntnell have words after Big Zee staples the Flyer into the boards.

2:33 - Stephane Yelle with a key block...

3:19 - Boston bench minor for too many men. Thornton will serve.

4:31 - Icing Philly.

5:05 - CTL, ALT, Delete. The B's need a reset.

6:50 - A pile up to the left of Niittymaki will put a faceoff in the PHI zone.

7:47 - Some hard work by Kessel, Savard and Axelsson results in a scoring chance...

9:01 - Glass problem behind the B's goal. Perhaps in honor of the Beatles anniversary of being on Ed Sullivan for the first time, the control room played, "Twist and Shout."

9:04 - Bitz continues to play well. He took a beating during his last shift, particularly when he stationed himself right in front of the Flyers goal.

11:22 - Lucic pounds Carle into the boards.

13:35 - We're all tied up. Pass from the top of the circle (Lupul), the puck found its way to Hartnell (from Carter) who put it by Fernandez. A whole new game at 3-3.

13:49 - Nice sliding and diving block by Savard on the latest PHI bid.

14:20 - Kobasew is in the box for interference. But that was coming for a while as Giroux had obviously done something to get under Chuck's skin.

15:45 - Wheeler with a nifty shot on Niittymaki.

16:13 - Icing PHI.

17:52 - After the B's came out with some purpose, that is a tough goal. A giveaway behind the net led to an open Flyer (Glen Metropolit), who put it by Fernandez. It's 3-2, Boston.

20:00 - Start of the Second. Niittymaki is in goal for Philly.
First period recap: The Boston Bruins came out with guns a-blazin’ this afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers after one period –– securing a lead both on paper and in the minds of everyone watching.

Less than four minutes into the first period, Marc Savard stuffed his own rebound through Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron. Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who hurt his foot during Thursday night’s win over the Ottawa Senators (4-3 SO) and was not a lock to play on Saturday, tallied an assist along with defenseman Mark Stuart.

The B’s suffered three penalties during the first stanza, two less than a minute apart, allowing Philadelphia to score their first goal of the afternoon on a 5-on-3 advantage.

Not willing to let the power-play goal go by unchallenged, Bruins forward Byron Bitz scored his first NHL goal with just a minute remaining in the period. That wasn’t the end of the Black & Gold rush, however, as forward Chuck Kobasew secured the 3-1 lead eight seconds later.

0:00 - End of the First.

52.8 - Chuck Kobasew just made it 3-1. The BC product walked around two Flyers and beat Biron.

1:01 - That looked like Byron Bitz got his first goal of the season and of his career. We'll wait on the official word.

Bitz did get the goal. Good stuff.

3:33 - Biron pounced on a loose puck in his crease and held on for the faceoff.

4:12 - Hartnell evened things up early with a shove to a Bruin and an interference penalty. Boston will end up on the PP.

5:03 - Not much to be done there. Gagne scores of a rebound to tie the game at 1-1.

6:05 - Uh oh. Stuart is in the box for tripping and that gives the Flyers a five-on-three for 1:03.

7:02 - Wideman in the box for hooking.

7:50 - A heck of a sequence by Fernandez who lay down on the goal line and stopped several Philadelphia chances.

9:56 - Wheeler is in the box for holding.

11:04 - Axelsson puts a shot on goal that Biron smothers and keeps...

12:23 - Lucic with a big hit on Parent.

12:49 - Some good work by the Krejci line has the Flyers looking at a faceoff in their zone after one of their defenders knocked the puck off the glass and out of the rink.

16:08 - Off a give by Lucic, Savard goes to the net and gets a shot, then he gathered his own rebound off of Biron's blocker and brought the puck back in front and threw it on goal and through Biron. It's 1-0, Boston, and Biron probably wants that back.

That was Savvy's 21st of the season.

17:17 - Good (two shot) pressure from the Yelle line.

19:10 - Old friend Metropolit has the Flyers first shot...

19:36 - Thornton with a nice early shot on Biron, who flags it down.

19:56 - Bruins control the draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period.

Philadelphia Starters:
Coburn, Lupul, Carter, Hartnetll, Carle, Biron
Boston Starters:
Ference, Wideman, Wheeler, Krejci, Thornton, Fernandez

Switching to time on the clock...

12:42 p.m.
Before the B's hit the ice Coach Julien spoke about Michael Ryder's injury.

"It’s a shame," he said. "You hope [his time away] is shorter than longer and we’ll find out more of that at the beginning of the week.

"Hopefully...we’ll have him back soon."

In the short term, playing with a shield is not an option and Ryder will not be on the ice.

"There’s a fracture there so – there’s a fresh fracture," said Julien. "You can’t really let him go now [before] going through all the medical stuff.

"They felt that he needed to stay away from playing today...and they’re going to look at it even closer at the beginning of the week with a specialist."

Julien said all avenues of treatment, including surgery, are open.

"There is a possibility of anything," said Julien. "Yeah, I’m not going to say no because they’re going to look at it Monday and there is a possibility of that."

But, thankfully there are no worries about his eyes.

"His eyes seem OK," said Julien.

12:38 p.m.
The lines...
Axelsson - Savard - Kessel
Wheeler - Bergeron - Kobasew
Thornton - Krejci - Ryder
Nokelainen - Yelle - Bitz
Chara - Hunwick
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hnidy

Ward, Ryder

12:29 p.m.
Martin Biron vs. Manny Fernandez between the pipes...

12:21 p.m.
Press Box Notes
Goaltender Manny Fernandez is expected to start in goal today for the Bruins. His last start came 12 games ago on January 8, 2009 when he earned a 6-4 win over the Senators. Fernandez has compiled a 14-3-1 record this season with a 2.07 Goals Against Average and .928 save percentage. His GAA leads the league while his save percentage ranks third, .04 percentage points behind teammate Tim Thomas (.932).

Other stories...
  • Michael Ryder will miss today’s game with a broken facial bone. He is out indefinitely. Ryder, who has 19 goals on the year including a team-high seven gamewinners, suffered the injury during the Bruins’ 4-3 shootout win at Ottawa on Thursday.
  • The Bruins have taken points out of their last eight games (6-0-2) and are 10-1-2 in their last 13.
  • The B’s are 7-0-3 against Atlantic Division opponents this year (New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh). They are the only team in the NHL not to have a regulation loss against a division opponent within their conference.
  • Phil Kessel is playing in his 200th career NHL and Bruins game today.
  • Bruins forward Shawn Thornton will participate in the ceremonial faceoff at the Boston Blazers/New York Titans Major League Lacrosse game tonight, February 7 at the TD Banknorth Garden. The game is set to start at 7:30 p.m. ET.
  • Today’s game features four of the top “special teams” units in the NHL- with Philadelphia owning the league’s second ranked power play (24.0%) and seventh ranked penalty kill (83.5%) and Boston ranking third overall on the power play (23.7%) and eighth overall on the penalty kill (82.9%).
  • The Flyers are the only team in the NHL not to concede a shorthanded goal this year. Meanwhile, they have scored the most shorthanded goals in the league with 13 tallies.  Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and Simon Gagne have all scored a league-high four shorthanded goals this season.
  • For the Flyers, forward Jeff Carter has scored the second most goals in the league with 32 (Ovechkin, 37).

12:11 p.m.
Okay. Here's what we learned from Coach Julien.
  1. Michael Ryder is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his face.
  2. Milan Lucic will play. Aaron Ward will not (flu-like symptoms). Matt Hunwick is in.
  3. Manny Fernandez is the starting goalie.

10:35 a.m.
Tim Thomas spoke in the B's room on Thursday as well. And, despite the kudos he has recieved for some of his more acrobatic stops, Thomas felt as if he has not been that gymnastic lately.

"There might have been one or two in each game," he said."But that's overblown; watch the other goalie, see what they do."

But there are no doubts that Thomas was the difference-maker in the shootout.

"For whatever reason, that's how shootouts are," said Thomas of his being on in the shootout. "On any given night, you can be totally on the puck or totally off it.

"You can play a great game and have a bad shootout, or you can play a great game and have a good shootout, or play a bad game and have a great shootout."

Asked for an explanation for his bulletproof nature on Thursday, Thomas was at a loss.

"I can't figure it out," he said. "All I know is, one of the things I said to myself was, play like the All-Star game.  That worked out good.

"Sometimes you're moving too much and you can't keep your eye on the puck, and, I don't know, I was dead on.  But, the other guy looked like he was, too, so I was like, oh no."

But, thanks to P.J. Axelsson, Thomas was the last man standing.

"It felt [good], particularly because we had so much time to spend on the plane afterwards, you have time to think about it," he said. "It felt really good – you won.  But you rightfully feel better than you should have.

"It doesn't matter, you still have that great feeling.  But when you lose, you definitely carry home a worse feeling, so you have to battle to say, like, if I was in Ottawa's shoes, I'd be trying to remind myself that I played a great game."

Such is the life of a goalie.

9:49 a.m.
If Milan Lucic should make the roster today, you'll probably see at least one or two smiles as he skates around for warmup.

Mr. Lucic has a very difficult time watching his team playing.

"I was in the dressing room the whole game, watching it on TV," said Lucic of Thursday. "Obviously, you never like being out of the lineup – no matter what the circumstances. It was a nail biter of a game, that’s for sure.

"When you are out and you see that you can help your team with a few things, you are anxious to get [back] out there, but there’s really nothing you can do. So, that’s what you hate the most when you are watching the game.

"But also, it was nice to see the guys on your team do well and even when you’re out of the lineup it’s great to see them have success."

9:26 a.m.
“We’re going to come out with season ticket renewal pricing today," said Dan Zimmer, Bruins Vice President of Business Operations on Friday. "99% of the seats in this building, for people that renew by the season ticket renewal deadline will stay flat, or decrease from where they were last year.

"Of the 99%, 95% of those seats are staying flat, and the other four percent of the seats are going to see a modest decrease, and then one percent of the seats are going to increase, compared to the published prices that we had last year, and those are the glass seats.”

Clearly, the B's are buoyed by the the resurgence of the Hub of Hockey as a whole, but in these tough economic times the club chose to stand pat.

"It’s been really gratifying," said Zimmer of the increased attendance in the Garden. "It’s really driven by the performance of the team, and it’s been terrific this year.

"We always knew this was a great hockey market, and now we’re getting to see, again, how strong and loyal our fan base is, and we want to take proper care of those loyal fans.

"It’s exceeded expectations and it’s a great thing to see," he said.

9:15 a.m.

Paraphrasing Bruins head coach Claude Julien, if you are critiquing the quality of a win, chances are good that your team is pretty good.

So, despite the win over Ottawa on Thursday, there was some criticism thrown about when the press spoke with Julien about his club's play against the Senators.

"We didn’t have the legs that we would have liked to have had, so there’s always the reality that sets in," said Julien. "We’re a tired team. We’ve played some big games as of late, and guys have had to step up and play hard all the time.

"So, you’re going to get those games, and I think at the end of the night you look back, and you say, OK, maybe it wasn’t our best game, but the bottom line is we found a way to win," he said.

Resilience has been a watchword for the Bruins and even during games, Julien witnessed players, like P.J. Axelsson, turning their night around within the space of 60 minutes.

"The thing is, he found a way to score us a goal," said Julien. "Instead of getting frustrated, it’s about finding a way.

"And that’s what we were saying on the bench – don’t get frustrated, find a way, dig deep, and we did that.

"It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win, and you know you’re in good shape when we’re highly critical of ourselves...but the bottom line is you take those two points, and they become extremely important in the standings."

For more from yesterday's practice, click here.
Today's Bear Essentials was produced by John Bishop, Angela Stefano and Angela Latona.
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