With 14.1 on the clock in regulation, an extra attacker on the ice for a 6-on-4 power play, and Tuukka Rask watching from the bench, Brad Marchand fought his way to the front and tipped in a Dougie Hamilton shot from the right point to force extra time.
Marchand has scored big-time goals before, and this celebration was no different. The arms went up, the piercing shout no doubt resounded on the ice, and the determined look meant the Bruins had life. The home crowd at TD Garden followed suit.
The goal tied the game at 2-2. Boston had fought for a point, and they had the momentum heading into OT.
"I thought that everybody had that killer instinct going into that 6-on-4," said captain Zdeno Chara, who acknowledged he wasn't surprised Rask was pulled right at the start of the power play, with 2:03 to go in the third. "I mean, it’s do or die."
That killer instinct hasn't necessarily been there for the Bruins all season. Marchand helped them regain that.
Then, in overtime, the Black and Gold rolled out their sets of three forwards and one defenseman, pushing the pace, and playing to win.
With 1:08 to go, Marchand got the Bruins their second point, backhanding in the overtime winner to lift them to the 3-2 win.
"You’re 15 seconds away from pulling it out," Flyers goalie Steve Mason lamented postgame. "They found a way to win it and we found a way to lose it."
For the 6-on-4 tally, Marchand was on the ice with Hamilton, Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner. He normally doesn't get power play time. The extra attacker situation presented the opportunity.
"I think everyone wants to be in that situation. It’s one I’ve always wanted to be in," said Marchand. "I’ve always enjoyed the emotion of being out there in the last minute of a game or the last couple minutes down by a goal. I think a lot of guys tend to thrive in that situation and I prefer to be out there."
"I like that challenge and I think any guy in the NHL enjoys that. I think that’s why we’re here, we’re all very competitive. So I’m definitely happy they have the confidence to put me out there."
The whole play started with a Bergeron faceoff win, and Eriksson helping push the puck back to Hamilton at the point. Bergeron quickly rotated to the shooting lane to provide a drive-by screen, with Marchand batting it in.
"You’re banking on him winning that faceoff or at least creating a battle and getting control of it," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "We wanted it, and we had to play like we wanted it, so that two-minute power play was fair enough for me to pull my goaltender and play 6-on-4."
The goal gave Boston a spark heading into the extra time.
"We definitely looked like we didn’t want a shootout the way we were playing in overtime, which I like," said Rask, who made 29 saves and has now appeared in 21 of the Bruins' last 22 games. "I’d rather go for it than wait for a shootout. Great comeback."
Boston outshot Philadelphia 6-2 in overtime, but Rask needed to come up with a huge stop on a Jakub Voracek breakaway with 1:45 left.
The B's pressed on from there. New Bruins Max Talbot was given a shift with Bergeron and Marchand. When Spooner hopped on for Bergeron after a line change, he created a turnover in the neutral zone, with Marchand sending a touch pass to Talbot.
The veteran forward skated up the left side, and sauced a pass in the air to Marchand, who dangled in on goal and backhanded a shot that went off Michael Del Zotto's skate and in behind Mason for the winner.
"Marchy showed a lot of character, and I think as a team we did also to get the tying goal," said Talbot, who picked up his first point as a Bruin with the assist. "In overtime Claude [Julien] sent me on the ice with Bergy and Marchy, and Marchy just supported me very well, and he made a great play on the goal."
"That’s an important two points for us at this point in the season."
If Marchand's reaction to the game-tying goal was emphatic, his response to the OT-winner was even more energized. Talbot and Spooner quickly skated over to give him a bear hug.
"He showed character, you know, he wanted the puck, he wanted to be the guy, and I think tonight he showed it," said Talbot. "After he scored, he even kissed me on the visor. So you know it’s nice to be by his side right now."
"I just said to him ‘I could kiss you right now,'" Marchand laughed.
"You saw on the winning goal there, the nice little sauce pass he made. He made a really nice play to Soupy [Gregory Campbell] in first period where Soupy drew a penalty. He brings a lot of great attributes that this team needs and he fits in well."
The goal marked Marchand's 20th of the season. Besides his 18-goal lockout season, Marchand has been a 20-goal scorer in his four other full-time seasons with Boston.
"He said at the end of the year and I think we’ve mentioned it, that he didn’t feel like he had trained properly, and he just felt like he was getting tired quickly, and then he trained a little differently this year and his stamina is a lot better than it was last year," said Julien. "It makes a big difference."
Marchand came into 2014-15 in much better shape, something he talked often about at the start of the season, having ramped up his endurance and sprint training.
"I saw a sports psychiatrist a lot this summer and I just trained different a little bit, more working on my recovery and my cardio - I continued to do that throughout the season and it’s definitely paid off," said Marchand.
Whether Saturday's two-goal game for Marchand was a byproduct of that or not, the Bruins will take it.
Much of the afternoon had looked like the previous game for Boston - not being able to finish around the net, especially with the Flyers fronting shots and making it difficult to get pucks through. It was like a playoff game, with both teams fighting for every inch.
And given the playoff implications, with Philadelphia just four points back of the Bruins, it wasn't surprising to see it play out that way.
Chara helped the Bruins strike first for the seventh straight game, wristing in a long-range point shot on the power play with Bergeron providing the screen.
The 1-0 first period lead turned into a 1-1 tie midway through the second period, when the Bruins allowed their ninth power play goal in the past nine games.
Philly took a 2-1 lead with 4:30 left in the third period, when a Nick Schultz floater from inside the blueline fought through traffic and squeezed through Rask off a deflection in front.
"I could say that it was tipped and it wasn’t my fault but I think it was totally my fault," said the netminder.
The Flyers thought they had gone up 3-1 late in the third, but the goal was immediately called off due to incidental contact with Rask.
"It was a bit of a quick letdown but with the leadership we have on our bench, a lot of guys stepped up and were very vocal," said Marchand. "I think it picked the guys emotions back up and we got guys fired up to go back and get it. It worked out."
The Bruins face a quick turnaround, next hosting the Detroit Red Wings in a Sunday matinee at TD Garden for NBC's "Game of the Week." Detroit hasn't played since Friday night.
"Just challenge after challenge and we’ve just got to face those things and get ourselves ready," said Julien.
The spark provided by Marchand should help the team carry over its intensity into Sunday's matchup.
"To win in the fashion that we did, it’s a big morale boost for the guys," said Marchand. "We want to feed off that."