The Bruins were back on the TD Garden ice tonight in the first of a pair against the Flyers. Boston was hoping to build off their most recent game that showed dramatic improvement and a full 60-minute effort. Philly was trying to close the gap on the team occupying the last playoff slot a slim (and getting slimmer) 4 points ahead of them in the standings. It took overtime to get it done, but Philly gets the W handing the Bruins their 4th OT loss of the season with a 3-2 final score.
The lineup remained relatively static: The top 2 lines were the same as last game, but Jake DeBrusk was back in fresh out of the NHL COVID manning the wing on the Coyle line with Zach Senshyn opposite. The 4th line was Sean Kuraly between Kuhlman and Trent Frederic and Jeremy Lauzon was back in for Jarred Tinordi on defense. Jaro Halak tested positive for COVID earlier this week so Dan Vladar got the start with Jeremy Swayman serving as backup.
The teams traded chances (and many many icing calls) to open the game, but it was Konecny who got the Flyers on the board first at the midway point of the first. A double deflection ended up getting Vladar in the chest and the puck dropped straight down where he quickly paddled it away to…. Konecny. Standing by himself at the right post, 1-0 Philly. What a gift, the force was definitely not with Vladar on that one.
Karson Kuhlman tied it up for the Bruins late in the 1st with his 2nd of the year from Coyle. Jakob Zboril (who had a noticeably better game tonight that was reflected in his TOI) pinched down the left wing wall and forced the Flyers defender to cough up the puck with a solid body check. Charlie Coyle gathered the puck inside the blue line and found Kuhlman at the top of the RW circle. DeBrusk drove the net and a quick snap shot upstairs over the glove ties the game back up heading into intermission.
In the opening moments of the 2nd the Bruins expanded their lead when Patrice Bergeron converted on the power play. Matt Grzelcyk at the top of the umbrella found David Pastrnak at the LW circle and he put it to Bergy for the tap in at the right post. I don’t think they even had parked the Zamboni before the B’s opened the lead back up. Vladar showed why he’s the dark horse favorite for both the Calder and the Vezina with some highlight reel saves in the 2nd to keep the Bruins ahead. None bigger than when he robbed first Giroux then Konecny in the blue paint late in the middle frame. Watch the clip, the first save is sick, the second is unreal.
Coutorier tied it up at the 7:00 minute mark of the 3rd with a wrister through a screen from the LW circle that beat Vladar over the glove. This goal came on the 2nd holding call that Lauzon got whistled for tonight, figure it out bud. With Kevan Miller ready to get back in the lineup any game now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lauzon with a health bomb in the next few days. The teams again traded chances to end regulation as both squads knew how much that extra point could be in the standings, but we head to OT for extra hockey.
In OT Philly had the edge in zone-time but the Bruins had their chances as both goalies looked good. The game winner came when Bergy on the backcheck lost an edge and went down giving Sanheim the lane where he beat Vladar to end the game. In all the years I’ve been watching Bergeron play, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him lose an edge. Bad luck I guess as we’ll chalk this up to the hockey gods are mad for DeBrusk getting back in the lineup.
Both teams are back at it again tomorrow night in Philly. I’m predicting a 3-point night for Bergy.
- Nick Ritchie playing big boy hockey and taking the body all over the ice.
- Frederic and Kuraly were electric as a PK duo generating 2 shorthanded chances on one shift.
- Loved Vladar’s response in the postgame: “We wanted the extra point, I should have played better” Give him the Vezina and Calder right now.
- The Bruins lost to Philly. I mean c’mon, the Flyers?? The team that lost to Buffalo??
- Senshyn with 1 shift in the 2nd period. Not a good look for a former first-rounder.
- Again, the Flyers came into tonight going 3-5-2 over their last 10 and they started Brian Elliot only because they forgot to bring a shooter-tutor on the road trip.
- I’m putting this here since it is kind of a plus and a minus. Lauzon looks like a different player on the 3rd pairing with Clifton. It shows that maybe he needs more game time experience before becoming a true top 4 defenseman (that part’s the minus). It also shows what type of stud Charlie McAvoy is already. Lauzon was playing top pair minutes with Chuckie Bright Lights and looked the part. That shows how sick McAvoy really is. He’s not only elevating his own game, he’s elevating his partner’s game too. That’s all world talent. What a legend (already).