In the front end of a home-and-home set and the first match of three this week between the teams, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins in overtime, 3-2, at TD Garden on Monday night. The Flyers led 1-0, trailed 2-1 and then came back to win it.
With the overtime victory, the Flyers inched one point closer to Boston in the standings. Philadelphia now trails the Bruins by three points. The teams will rematch at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday.
Travis Konecny (8th goal of the season) and Karson Kuhlman (2nd) traded off goals in a 1-1 first period. Patrice Bergeron (PPG, 12th) scored in the opening minute of the middle stanza; the only goal of the period. Sean Couturier (PPG, 11th) knotted the score with the lone goal of the third period. Travis Sanheim (2nd) won the game on an overtime breakaway.
Brian Elliott earned the victory in net, stopping 27 of 29 shots. He made some big stops to keep the game under control.
With Tuukka Rask on IR and Jaroslav Halak in COVID-19 protocol, Dan Vladar got the start in goal for the Bruins. Vladar was strong for two-plus periods. He ended with 29 saves on 32 shots.
The Flyers went 1-for-3 on the power play. Boston went 1-for-2.
Michael Raffl returned to the Flyers' lineup after a one-game absence. Oskar Lindblom, who head coach Alan Vigneault still needs to have his workload managed during a five-in-seven stretch of games, exited the lineup.
In overtime. Vladar made a full extension pad save on Travis Sanheim at the doorstep. Claude Giroux broke up a chance at the other. At 3:08, however, Sanheim notched his second career OT goal in Boston. It started with Sanheim blocking a Bergeron shot and skating the other way. Bergeron fell down, giving Sanheim a breakaway. Head up all the way, Sanheim beat Vladar over the glove to end the game.
1) The first period was a mixed bag for the Flyers. On the positive side, they had a 10-8 shot advantage and a couple of odd-man rushes, scored the first goal, got several big saves from Elliott including a point blank save on Patrice Bergeron, and had a little puck luck go their way (a couple of favorable bounces on the Konecny goal sequence, a hit goal post for Boston. There were also back-to-back sequences of strong puck support, including one that created a 3-on-2.
On the downside, the Flyers had several turnovers in dangerous areas, saw several Bruins get open in scoring areas and yielded eight scoring chances to Boston overall. The Flyers were also guilty of excessive icings in the first period. The final one, an unforced icing by Sean Couturier a stride from the red line, resulted immediately thereafter in a Shayne Gostisbehere tripping penalty. Boston took 1:13 of carryover power play time into the second period.
2) On the Konecny goal, Ivan Provorov nearly lost the puck up high in the offensive zone but the puck bounced back to him. Moments later, a Giroux shot favorably rebounded to Konecny, who got himself in good position in the slot. TK deposited it in the net to end a 12-game goalless drought. On the Kuhlman goal, Jakub Voracek had a clearing opportunity coming off the right side-boards but he got tripped by Jakub Zboril, without a penalty being called. Charlie Coyle passed to Kuhlman. From the right circle, he wired a rising shot that went over Elliott's glove.
3) The penalty kill in general has been a sore spot for the Flyers this season but especially during their season series against the Bruins. Boston entered this game 8-for-16 on the power play against the Flyers. Boston then made it 9-for-17 on the carryover power play time. Bergeron was denied by Elliott on a one-timer from the top of the circle. However, Bergeron won the ensuing faceoff, got open in the center slot and buried a prime scoring chance off a pass from David Pastrnak at the 46-second mark.
The Flyers, who entered at 4-for-17 on the power play against Boston, drew power plays on a good power move by Nolan Patrick and a drive to the net by Nicolas Aube-Kubel. On the first power play, Vladar robbed Giroux and Konecny in quick succession and then Boston killed the rest of the penalty uneventfully. On the second, Philly generated a single scramble off a Gostisbehere center point shot. Late in the advantage, sloppy neutral zone play by the Flyers resulted in a shorthanded scoring chance for Trent Frederic.
4) Just 24:26 into the game, the Flyers were guilty of their 10th icing of the game, including several that were simply a matter of not taking an extra stride to gain the red line. The Flyers successfully killed off Boston's second power play with a couple of entry denials and broken up passes then got a breakaway from an unlikely source: Justin Braun, after exiting the penalty box. Vladar made the save. Late in the period, Travis Sanheim did a good job occupying the puck behind the Boston net in a 1-on-2 puck battle but the Bruins eventually came away with it. Second period shots were 13-11 in the Flyers' favor. Through two periods, the Bruins held an 18-17 scoring chance edge, however, and a 2-1 edge in the cash register.
5) In the opening minute of the third period, Marchand nearly combined with Bergeron for an insurance goal but Elliott had the answer. Then Boston had another chance but the Flyers were saved by the crossbar on a Craig Smith shot. With 14:38 on the clock, hard work by the Flyers' fourth line resulted in the Flyers' third power play of the game (2nd drawn by that line). The Flyers cashed in on this one. At 6:56, a seeing-eye shot by Couturier from the top of the left circle beat Vladar high to the far side. The goalie seemed to have a clear look at the shot but he may have been partially screened by Matt Grzelcyk. Either way, it found its way into the net. The assists went to Provorov and Kevin Hayes. The Flyers pressured for much of the latter part of the period, while Boston largely played to get the game to overtime, and get a point in the bank.