BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins have made a living the past few seasons by grabbing a lead and curtailing any attempted comeback by the opposition. The Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, entered Saturday’s matinee contest in Boston having just lost consecutive games in which they held a lead.
But in Saturday’s game, the Flyers never had a chance to defend an advantage on the scoreboard, as it all unraveled in a matter of 138 seconds, and the Bruins took the tilt by a score of 3-0.
“We started the game well, and they’re a good team,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “They move the puck well. There’s a reason why they’re one of the top teams in the league. They’re a very good team.”
The Flyers hit the ice strong at the opening whistle, outhitting the Bruins and taking a physical advantage in the early goings.
Philadelphia even held the Bruins without a shot through the first half of the opening period. But the Bruins second shot—a power play strike by Tyler Seguin—found the back of the net. And then, Boston’s third shot on goal off the stick of Chris Keely found the twine to make it 2-0.
Finally, Daniel Paille capped the afternoon’s scoring with the Bruins fourth shot on goal, making it 3-0, and making it three consecutive shots for Boston that lit the lamp. In a matter of minutes, the Bruins converted three straight shots into the day’s offense.
“When they got that three-nothing lead, we need a better response. I think we’ve got to put this behind us and get ready,” said Giroux.
It was only the second time all season an opponent was able to shut out Philadelphia. Boston was able to limit the Flyers with strong play inside its own blue line, keeping its shape and keeping the puck on the outside and away from Tuukka Rask. The Bruins blocked 18 shots, and did their part to keep the crease in front of Rask unoccupied.
When Rask was called upon, he handled everything Philadelphia had to offer, including a number of good chances in the third period for Daniel Briere and Kimmo Timonen on the power play.
With just under seven minutes remaining, Rask reached out low with the glove to snag a Timonen one-timer and keep the Flyer’s off the board.
“Defensively, Tuukka Rask played a pretty good game,” said Giroux. The Bruins netminder had 23 saves and was never the game’s first star for his performance.
But for Philadelphia, the Bruins barrage in the first period was too much to overcome, as the Flyers were forced to play with a three goal deficit in the final two frames.
“It’s one goal, and shoulders start to sag, heads are down,” said Flyers’ forward Scott Hartnell of the Bruins first period outburst. “Instead of being positive—we’ve come back numerous times—it’s just the way the guys responded from that first goal was a little disheartening.”