Flyers Rally But Fall In Shootout To Bruins, 4-3

Published on March 30th, 2014

By Anthony Mingioni

PHILADELPHIA-When the Flyers and Bruins play one another, they have a long history of bruising physical affairs. But their first contest with Boston this season produced a lopsided 6-1 loss.

On Saturday, the Flyers proved to the Bruins that they’re not the same team they were in January and in doing so they ensure Sunday afternoon’s matchup at the Wells Fargo Center certainly lived up to that history.

In the end, though the home club came up short in their rally attempt, losing to the Bruins 4-3 in a shootout.

“I thought our team competed real hard,” Flyers’ head coach Craig Berube said. “They had an attitude today that they were going to go and show themselves and I thought that they did. I know the outcome wasn’t what we wanted but we attacked and had a lot of pucks on net.”

Despite the loss, Philadelphia garnered an all important point to tie the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division standings, pending the Blueshirts’ results against the Edmonton Oilers Sunday night.

They have two games in hand on the Rangers (74 to New York’s 76 games by night’s end).

Flyers’ forward Vincent Lecavalier recently moved to the fourth line between wingers Adam Hall and Zac Rinaldo, scored twice in the game, the first marking his 400th goal of his NHL career and the second goal tying the game at three with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.

Lecavalier spoke after the game about the recent move.

“It felt great. It’s just more of a moving game. Obviously I played there my whole career. It just feels more natural. With Hall and Rinaldo, I think it went really good. We had great opportunities, great o-zone time, a lot of shots, and a lot of rebounds. We play very well together.”

One of the key components for the Flyers to be able to compete with the Eastern Conference leading Bruins was to get off to a fast start and keep the pressure on a team coming off a 4-2 win over Washington in a Saturday matinee.

“First and second period we played all right, we played good hockey,” captain Claude Giroux said. “But I think the third period is when we played our game. Guys were skating, winning battles. They played yesterday so it was pretty important for us to have a good third period.”

Initially Boston looked like a team who needed to get their legs under them, getting outshot 10-4 during the first period before camping out in the Flyers’ zone in the latter stages.

Philadelphia outshot 52-30 in the contest and both goaltenders played their best when the game was on the line, as Tuukka Rask and Steve Mason were called on for important saves in the third period.

Rask was forced to make a diving post to post save after a falling Giroux was able to fire an off balance bad angle shot, while Mason managed to sprawl and make a critical right arm save on Bruins’ forward Carl Sodenberg to keep the Bruins from putting the game out of reach.

“It was tough to get a lot of time and be patient,” Mason said of Soderberg’s chance. “ I think it was Schenn that went down in front of me, and kind of made him keep going across the net, and I was able to just reach back and get a glove on it. The guys rewarded the save with getting the big tying goal in the last couple of seconds.”

Lecavalier’s line put early pressure on Boston’s backline and was rewarded for their efforts when he and Hall led a counter rush into the Bruins’ zone. A quick pass from Hall saw Lecavalier fire a shot that seemed to tick off the bottom of Rask’s glove and into the net to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

Just over five minutes later, former Flyers’ defenseman Andrej Meszaros pinched in as the Bruins were applying their own forecheck in Philadelphia’s end. With players bunched up to Steve Mason’s left, a quick pass from Brad Marchand found the Slovak, who fired a quick one timer to beat the Flyers netminder and tie the game.

Philadelphia didn’t wilt and continued to apply offensive zone pressure and would regain the lead at 19:18 when Jakub Voracek led a strong rush into the offensive zone, beat two Bruins players, then threaded a pass through defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s leg to a net crashing Kimmo Timonen to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.

The Bruins began to cycle the puck in the Flyers’ zone with more intensity and enacted a physical toll on them in the second period, most notably on a pair of hits on checking forward Michael Raffl who was hammered near the Boston bench by Gregory Campbell.

After Adam Hall was called for a debatable hooking call, the Bruins tied the game quickly following the ensuing faceoff. Good movement along the points allowed Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara to move into the slot in front of Mason and once he got the puck, he used his superior reach to whip a backhander past Mason to tie the game at two.

Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead when he helped to set up an offensive counter rush then picked up the puck and blew past Timonen to come out on the far right of Mason. The Finnish defenseman recovered in time to leave Bergeron barely enough space for a bad angle shot or a pass.

As it turned out, the bad angle shot worked as Mason wasn’t set and the puck ended up behind him.

After a fairly equal effort in terms of offensive zone opportunities through the end of the second period, the Flyers came out hard in the third period, putting tons of pressure on Rask and the Bruins defense.

A big opportunity to tie the game passed through their fingers when they were able to garner a five on three power play opportunity with Hamilton off for hooking and Chara called for a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass.

But they were unable to generate any offense off of the 1:47 two man advantage.

“Yeah, when we get a five-on-three that actually starts in the third period we want to make sure we get a goal,” Giroux said. “We had our chances… we’ll have to work on it.”

Philadelphia was finally rewarded for their effort when Mason was pulled for an extra attacker and Lecavalier was able to get his second goal of the contest.

The play came as a result of another great passing play by Voracek who found Lecavalier open at the left post while most of the Bruins’ defenders were overloaded toward the right side of the net.

The Flyers continued to attack at four on four during the overtime period, amassing an 8-1 shot differential.

Goals by Bergeron on a sleek wrist shot, Giroux on a top shelf backhander, and a patient game winning wrist shot by Reilly Smith set the final score in favor of Boston.

“I think this is a good proving point,” Mason said. “I thought we carried the play for the majority of the game. It’s unfortunate not to get the extra point, but I thought we played a really good game.”

The Flyers will travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Tuesday before returning home for another key Metropolitan Division matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Flyers Vinny Lecavalier scored twice in this game

Flyers Vinny Lecavalier scored twice in this game | Source:  Andrew King

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