Philadelphia, PA – The Boston Bruins scored three times in the second period and Tim Thomas had 35 saves as they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center on Thursday night, 5-2.
After the Flyers cut the Boston lead to 2-1 on a goal by Sami Kapanen, the Bruins responded with two more goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead at the second intermission.
On a two-on-one rush, Patrice Bergeron found Marco Sturm and Sturm easily lifted it into the open net at 8:35. Boston got a favorable bounce on its fourth goal, when Sergei Samsonov had the puck poke-checked away from him in the slot but it went right to Travis Green who backhanded it over the shoulder of Antero Niittymaki at 16:42 for his second goal of the game.
Niittymaki was making his 17th straight start in net, the most for a Flyers goaltender since Tommy Soderstrom started 18 in a row during the 1992-93 season.
"Physically and mentally I feel fine. I had no problems before the game or during the game," said Niittymaki. "I can't say I am tired. It's the little things. When you feel really good you make those saves. Sometimes in the year it happens, for some reason you let more goals in than you used to. I can always be better."
Simon Gagne scored a power play goal at 5:40 of the third period tipping in a point shot by Mike Rathje, but Wayne Primeau skated around Kim Johnsson and lifted in the puck over Niittymaki at 13:47 as Boston won its first game against the Flyers this season after dropping the first three games of the series.
The Flyers outshot the Bruins in the game, 37-18.
"We have to re-group and realize that we are working hard and getting chances," said Randy Jones. "We are making mistakes and it ends up in our net. They capitalized on our mistakes."
Jon Sim, who has been in and out of the Flyers' lineup of late, had several scoring chances in the game. His wrist shot bearing down on the net in the second period went high and wide, leading to the odd-man rush on the goal by Sturm. Later, with the Flyers down 3-1, Sim was stopped on a three-on-one rush by the left pad of Thomas.
Philadelphia will travel to Pittsburgh for the first game of a home-and-home with the last-place Penguins on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (NBC). The Penguins visit the Wachovia Center on Monday night (7:00 p.m., CSN).
Boston opened the scoring in the first period on a Flyers turnover. Rathje's errant pass was picked up by Green at the blue line, and the Boston winger skated in on net lifting a backhander that beat Niittymaki at 5:06 to make it 1-0.
After the Flyers failed on a couple of power play chances late in the first and early in the second, the Bruins made it 2-0 with Jeff Carter in the box for hooking. Samsonov passed the puck to Bergeron at the top, and Bergeron's wrist shot found the back of the net as Niittymaki was completely screened on the shot at 1:21.
Kapanen tipped in a slap shot by Rathje at 4:38 of the second period to make it 2-1.
"I'm sure [Friday] we're going to have a couple meetings and talk and bring everything on the table," said Gagne. "Maybe guys are tired mentally because of the long road trip we had, but we can't keep going like that."
FLYERS NOTES Joni Pitkanen, Robert Esche and Peter Forsberg all missed the game due to injury. … Chris Therien played in his 747th game as a Flyer, moving him into fourth place all-time including the most games ever by a defenseman.