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Stafford's Late Goal Propels Bruins Over Flyers

Newcomer scores with 5.6 seconds left to clinch 2-1 win for Boston

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - There is a simple hockey adage that says there is no such thing as a bad shot.

Taking that approach was particularly important Saturday afternoon as the Bruins struggled to create much offensively and battled sloppiness throughout a tight battle with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Drew Stafford had that in mind as he raced down the right wing in the final seconds of the third period. Stafford collected a pass from Kevan Miller and burst through the neutral zone, before pulling up at the top of the right circle.

Stafford then tossed a simple shot toward the Flyers net. Good things followed.

The puck tipped off Brandon Manning in front and trickled through Steve Mason with 5.6 seconds remaining, lifting the Bruins to a 2-1 victory at TD Garden. It was Boston's 10th win in 13 games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy.

"The chances that you get, you just take it and ride with it, really," Stafford said of getting the puck on net. "The way this game was, we were pretty sloppy throughout. It was kind of a tough one for us. But, this team - I've only been here for a few games- but you can tell that they know how to win games.

"Even when you're not playing your best, you find a way to win and you find a way - whether it's by a lucky bounce like that -99 out of a 100 times, it's not going to go in. So, those kinds of breaks, you'll take those, especially when things might not be going your way a certain night."

Video: PHI@BOS: Stafford's shot deflects in for late lead

The goal was Stafford's second in four games with Boston. He's also notched two assists.

"I'm just grateful for an opportunity to at least play in a little bit more of an offensive role where I think that I'm definitely comfortable wherever," said Stafford, who has shown an ability to move up and down the lineup. "But, at the same time, I take a lot of pride in my offensive game and being able to contribute in any way I can.

"So yeah, it's definitely kind of a shot in the arm to get an opportunity, at least, to play with some pretty good players here. So, I'm very grateful."

Boston opened the scoring with a power-play goal with 1:22 to go in the first. Brad Marchand's heavy forecheck jarred the puck loose behind Philly's goal, where Patrice Bergeron picked it up and found David Pastrnak in the slot.

Pastrnak fired a one-timer past Mason for his 28th goal of the season and a 1-0 Boston lead.

"We don't need to score six goals each game," said Pastrnak. "We're going to be able to win those kinds of games, especially this time of year when every single point is important for us."

Video: PHI@BOS: Pastrnak buries one-timer to open scoring

Jordan Weal tied the game just 1:27 into the second period leading a strong Flyers push. But the Bruins - paced by Tuukka Rask - kept Philadelphia from delivering any further damage. Boston locked things down in the third, limiting the Flyers to just four shots on goal.

"We knew we didn't have a great second period, to a man, so we made a couple adjustments on our breakout," said Cassidy. "The message mostly was, 'Sometimes you've got to win 5-4, sometimes it's 2-1….so let's accept it, manage the puck, play tight, and if you get an opportunity, let's make sure we bear down.'

"It was just one of those games that, I don't think we were at our best, you could clearly see that, but we still hung in there and did enough to win."

Penalty Kill Comes Through

Boston's penalty-killing unit has been immense all season long. It ranks second in the NHL at 86 percent, just behind the Florida Panthers (86.6%), and was critical to the Bruins' victory on Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins went 2 for 2 against the Flyers, with both kills coming during a lengthy five-on-three late in the first period. After penalties to Brandon Carlo (hooking) and Marchand (high-sticking) just 17 seconds apart, Boston was down two men for 1:43.

Video: Cassidy discusses 2-1 win against Flyers

The Flyers landed seven shots on goal, but Rask stood tall - and Adam McQuaid made two gutsy blocks - to keep Philly off the board. McQuaid and Bergeron boasted 1:45 of shorthanded time on ice, while Zdeno Chara killed for 2:11.

"Well it's a pretty potent group that they have," said McQuaid, who said the blocked shots hit him in the right spots. "It was a long five-on-three but, I mean, I think Tuukks making the saves that he did - you got to give something up at times - and him being able to make the saves that he did allowed us to be in the lanes that we were to block shots and have our sticks in certain areas. So, I think it was a great job by him, making the saves when we needed them."

Rask Stands Tall

Rask made 26 saves to secure his 32nd victory of the season. The netminder, named the game's second star, was particularly strong over the first two periods when he stopped 22 of 23 shots, allowing the Bruins to find their game in the third period.

"I mean, especially on that five-on-three, he made some big saves," said Chara. "In the second, we were obviously not as good and he really held his ground and made some big saves for us, and that was a key."

Video: PHI@BOS: Rask gets across to stone Couturier

Beleskey Back In

With Tim Schaller (lower-body) sidelined, Matt Beleskey returned to the lineup after sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch. Beleskey began the game on the left wing alongside Dominic Moore and Riley Nash and finished with four hits and a shot on goal in 13 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time.

The forward delivered plenty of energy, dropping Shane Gotisbehere with a big hit seconds before shedding the gloves with Brandon Manning just 2:02 into the game, in a one-sided affair that saw Beleskey take Manning down with a hard right.

Video: PHI@BOS: Beleskey levels Gostisbehere along boards

Beleskey also had a golden chance to put Boston ahead in the closing minutes, but his shot went just wide.

"Yeah it's good to play, that's what I want to do and help the team," said Beleskey. "So to be able to come out, get a big hit and kind of get something going is what I was looking for.

"I haven't been resting. I have been working out twice a day with our strength coaches and doing the extra work, putting in the time with the skills coach, it's hard work.  

"An injury is something you come back from. It's been tough, obviously it hasn't been my year in that way, but the coaches put some faith in me, gave me some time, worked me over and I'm just trying to make it pay off.  

"Keep working hard and I think good things will happen."

Video: Beleskey discusses 2-1 win against Flyers

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