It took almost all 60 minutes for the Boston Bruins, but they were able to get a much needed win on Thursday night.
In the wake of David Backes’ recent 3 game suspension, the Boston Bruins hosted the recently struggling Philadelphia Flyers, on the second night of a back to back for Philly. The Flyers had lost 4 straight coming into Boston, and the Bruins had won 4 straight. Even without Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie McAvoy, yhe two streaks would remain intake.
Very quickly, the Bruins found themselves on the penalty kill as Kevan Miller was whistled for a double-minor high sticking penalty. Miller’s stick hit Wayne Simmonds in the mouth and he immediately skated to the bench with blood gushing out of his mouth. It was an odd play because it took a long time for the officials to call the infraction, even though the Bruins had possession of the puck. Just the first in a long line of officiating issues in the game.
Directly off the faceoff, a quick shot forced a rebound by the returning Tuukka Rask. A nifty no-look backhand pass by Nolan Patrick found a wide open Jakub Voracek, who fired the puck into the open net, giving the Flyers had an early 1-0 lead. Normally we don’t include opposing team highlights, but credit where credit is due, this was a great pass.
The Flyers would remain on the power play due to the double minor. The Bruins would kill off the remainder of Miller’s penalty and started to chase Philly’s lead.
Boston would tie the game at 1 after some great offensive zone pressure lead by Brad Marchand and the tenacious 1st line. Marchand forced the puck around the crease and both Riley Nash and David Pastrnak chopped at the puck on a wraparound attempt. The goal was credited to Riley Nash, his 13th of the season and the Bruins tied the game midway through the period. One key play before the goal was a great full-stretch keep in by Matt Grzelcyk, keeping the puck in the zone resulting in a goal.
Before the period would end, the Bruins would find the back of the net once more. With under a minute to go in the first stanza, a superb backcheck by Tommy Wingels freed the puck for Zdeno Chara. Big Z wired the puck up to a springing Brian Gionta on a breakaway who then would beat the Flyers goalie with a slick backhand finish for his first goal in a Bruins sweater. The horn would sound soon after and the teams would head to their locker rooms, with Boston leading 2-1.
Truth be told, Wingels could have been called for a trip on Simmonds right before he got the puck to Chara. Just one more issue with the officiating, this time benefiting Boston.
Just like the beginning of the 1st period, the Bruins would take an early penalty. This time it was Torey Krug, who was whistled for holding 30 seconds into the period. Boston would kill it off and now look to expand their lead.
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They would get their chance as the Bruins would head on their second power play of the game 6 minutes into the period. Unfortunately, it would be the Flyers who would take advantage. A turnover in the offensive zone by the Bruins lead to a 2-on-1 rush by Philly. Jori Lehtera’s shot somehow squeaked through Rask’s 5-hole and the game was tied 2-2.
It was a terrible play overall, as the power play unit committed a bad turnover and Lehtera’s shot should have been stopped by Rask. But there was also a blatant hold on Brad Marchand by Lehtera that started the whole play. Officiating was rough tonight.
Late in the period, Cassidy made one line change as he swapped Danton Heinen for Jake DeBrusk on the 2nd line left wing spot, and that change lasted the remainder of the game. Lehtera’s goal would be the only goal scored in the middle frame and we would head to the final period tied at 2.
In the 3rd, another early penalty was called, this time it was Philly who was the guilty team. Boston couldn’t take advantage and the game remained tied. As the clock ticked down, both teams were desperately searching for that third goal, which based upon how tightly the game was being played, seemed like it would be the game winner.
It appeared that the Flyers would find the back of the net first, as Sean Couturier flew past the Bruins defense and Marchand was called for a hooking penalty late in the period. The home team would kill off the Flyers powerplay, and it seemed like we were destined for overtime for a third straight game, and 4 out of 5 overall. But Brad Marchand wasn’t feeling overtime tonight.
As the clock ticked below 1 minute to go, some late Bruins zone time lead to a quick Chara point shot, which slipped through Flyers’ goalie Alex Lyon. Marchand was there as the puck laid in the crease behind Lyon, and Marchand would do his thing and knock the puck into the goal with 22 seconds remaining. Philly failed to tie the game and the Bruins win 3-2, for their 5th win in a row.
- Marchand’s winner was his 3rd GWG in a row and his 7th on the season.
- The game of musical defenseman happened again as Nick Holden sat out tonight, but to me, he has impressed so far and come playoff time, he should be in the regular top 6.
- Tuukka Rask returned after missing 2 games and outside of Lehtera’s goal, played well and will be key to a deep playoff run.
- Zdeno Chara lead the team TOI at 23:55, while the rest of the D-corps hovered around the 19-minute mark.
- McAvoy’s presence is missed on the 2nd powerplay unit as with Krug and Grzelcyk or even Chara on the blue line, they are all left-handed shots and you miss the one-timer options from both ends of the ice.