Will the real Flyers please stand up?! A great start fizzled away in the 2nd period, and lead to loss against their old rival the Boston Bruins. The Flyers entered what appeared to be a must win game against the Bruins 22-16-6, as these two old rivals could wind up fighting for a wild card spot in the future. The Bruins had a 9-10 home record coming into this game, and the Flyers looked to take advantage of that.
The Flyers entered the tilt with 50 points to the Bruins 49 points. Michael Neuvirth was tabbed as the starter by head coach Dave Hakstol. He was 1-4 in his career against the Bruins, with a putrid 3.70 GAA, and a .868 save percentage.
The Flyers hoped to get a boost with reliable defenseman Mark Streit returning to the lineup, as he has been out with a shoulder injury since December 11. To make room on the roster for Streit, the Flyers placed center Boyd Gordon on waivers yesterday.
Before the game Dave Hakstol tried to instill confidence into his goaltender Neuvirth stating, “We thought it was a good time for a change for our team bringing him into the game the other night. Just coming out of the second period, it was a tough second period for us. It was time to make a change for our team and push for a change in direction and focus. Neuvy did a good job.”
The message must have registered with Neuvirth as he seemed dialed in from the start. He made 9 strong saves in the first period. However, a shaky second period sank Neuvirth and the Flyers, en route to a 6-3 loss to the Bruins.
From the drop of the puck the game had a playoff atmosphere. Both teams were trying to feel each other out early, with both teams taking minimal risks.
It took 2:05 for either team to register a shot on net, and it just so happens it found twine. Ivan Provorov shot the puck from the point, and Pierre Bellemare managed to redirect it past Tuuka Rask for 3rd goal of the year. This made the game 1-0 in favor of the Flyers.
At 13:27 the Bruins still did not have a shot on net, but took their first penalty of the game. David Pastrnak took a tripping penalty on Ivan Provorov, as Provorov was skating by him.
At 12:38 the Bruins finally managed their first shot on net, and Neuvirth made the easy save on Riley Nash. At 12:12 Brad Marchand gained entry into the Flyers zone, and backhanded a shot past Neuvirth for his 16th goal of the year. This tied the game up at 1.
The Bruins seemed to find their legs after that goal. They managed to pull even with the Flyers in shots at 8, with four minutes remaining in the first period.
With 3:31 remaining in the first, Michael Del Zotto took a hooking penalty on David Pastrnak. The power play was negated, as Pastrnak was called for embellishment.
The first period ended tied at 1, with the Flyers out shooting the Bruins 10-9. The Bruins did manage to win the face off margin 61%-39%.
Just 1:47 into the 2nd period, Claude Giroux took a slashing penalty on David Pastrnak. Just 13 seconds into the power play, David Krejci scored on a wrist shot from the top of the circle. This was his 10th goal of the year, and it gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
Just four minutes later, Brad Marchand gained entry into the Flyers zone. He threaded a pass over to Torey Krug, and he deposited the puck past Neuvirth for a 3-1 Bruins lead.
At 11:49 in the 2nd period, Brando Carlo took a holding penalty on Travis Konecny. On the ensuing penalty good puck movement lead to a Mark Streit blast from the point that was saved by Rask. Brayden Schenn corraled the rebound, and put the puck past Rask for his 15th of the year. This made the score 3-2 Bruins.
As the Flyers were getting their confidence back, Jake Voracek was called for a boarding penalty. He drove Kevan Miller into the boards head first, and Voracek was assessed a 5:00 minute major for this hit. This means the Bruins could score at will on the power play for 5:00.
With 6:56 remaining in the period, Patrice Bergeron scored his 9th goal of the year. The power play was about to end, and he scored on a wrist shot from the top of circle. This made the score 4-2 Bruins.
Just 5:00 remaining in the 2nd period, the Bruins had good puck movement in the Flyers zone. David Pastrnak threaded a pass over to Zdeno Chara. Chara blasted the puck past Neuvirth for a 5-2 Bruins lead.
David Pastrnak took a holding penalty with just 1:35 remaining in the 2nd period. Zdeno Chara also got called for a delay of game penalty with just 24 seconds left in the period. This gave the Flyers a two man advantage.
The Flyers power play had good puck movement, and that lead to a Wayne Simmonds tap in goal. It was Simmonds 18th of the year, and that made the score 5-3 in favor of the Bruins. The period ended that way, and the Bruins out shot the Flyers 26-19. The Bruins also won the face off margin 55%-45%.
The 3rd period began with even play at both ends of the ice. With 12:00 remaining in the period, the Bruins fired four shots to the Flyers three.
At 11:05 in the 3rd period, Radko Guess took a tripping penalty against David Pastrnak. Just 36 seconds later, Sean Couturier took a tripping penalty. This gave the Bruins a two man advantage, and the Flyers killed them both off keeping the score 5-3 in favor of the Bruins.
With 53 seconds left, Brad Marchand scored an empty net goal making it his 2nd goal of the game. That gave the Bruins a 6-3 lead, and that is how the game would end.
The game ended in a 6-3 loss to the Bruins, in what should of been a different outcome for the Flyers. The Flyers started off strong, but got badly outplayed in the 2nd period.
The Flyers do not have much time to rest, as they play the Washington Capitals tomorrow at 1 pm. The Capitals have won the past eight games, so the Flyers need a complete team effort to pull off a win. Follow me on Twitter @JameyBaskow for all Flyers updates.
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports