Four straight wins against the Boston Bruins by the Philadelphia Flyers, but this latest entry had it all! This is the third straight game that went beyond regulation and the overtime period, as well as the shootout, did not disappoint. The Flyers get the win on a very rare technicality. Brad Marchand just barely touched the puck on a shootout opportunity, not bringing it with him. Carter Hart says it’s the second time it happened to him, citing John Tavares as the original.
Let’s take it back to the first period, where the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t as fortunate. In the first five minutes of the game, Anders Bjork struck first for the Boston Bruins. Late in the first period, David Krejci scored a powerplay goal with just about two minutes remaining. A two-goal lead is the worst lead to have in hockey. With less than a minute left to play in the first period, Kevin Hayes scored a powerplay goal while the Bruins served a double-minor to cut their lead, 2-1.
Immediately into the second period, David Pastrnak scored just over 30 seconds in to extend the Boston Bruins lead. The Philadelphia Flyers would answer back quickly off the stick of Travis Sanheim, closing the Bruins lead to 3-2. With 15:10 remaining in the second period, Charlie Coyle extended Boston’s lead back to two goals. This was followed by David Krejci’s second goal of the night with 12:39 to play in the second period. Down 5-2, the Flyers battled back with goals by Sean Couturier and Connor Bunnaman to end the second period, trailing 5-4.
Offensively, the Philadelphia Flyers made Jaroslav Halak work in the net, unlike Andrei Vasilevskiy on Saturday night. The Flyers led in shots on net and dictated the tempo of the game after the midway point of the second period. Travis Sanheim would score the equalizing goal, tying the game at 5-5. Overall, the third period was the strongest period of hockey by Philadelphia. They shut out the Boston Bruins for the first time in this game while continuing to score.
Overtime was action-packed with great scoring opportunities. This was a display of great goaltending between Carter Hart and Jaroslav Halak. In the final seconds, Ivan Provorov was denied by Halak on an incredible save. In the shootout, Halak would crumble first after Travis Konecny (1-10 in shootouts) banked the puck in off the post. Brad Marchand had the opportunity to force another shootout round, but the Philadelphia Flyers would win 6-5.
What seemed to be a lateral move, sending David Kase down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and recalling Connor Bunnaman to the Philadelphia Flyers, paid off big time tonight against the Boston Bruins. Bunnaman scored his first career NHL goal as Mark Friedman’s shot deflected into the net. That wasn’t the only time that Bunnaman opened eyes tonight. His constant hustle down ice was greatly appreciated and it paid off. Hats off to Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault for properly working Bunnaman into the lineup, allowing his efforts to pay off.
Second Half Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers had a rough first half of this game against the Boston Bruins. The lack of physicality on defense and turnovers in the defensive zone had Carter Hart against the ropes. After the ten minute mark in the second period, the Flyers found their skates and worked Jaroslav Halak. Travis Sanheim scored his second goal of the night, which provided the extra boost of energy for Philadelphia to finish off the Bruins. It’s just poetic that the villain, Brad Marchand, cost his team the game after Travis Konecny scored in the shootout.
Tonight’s win puts the Philadelphia Flyers in position for a playoff spot in the East. The home-ice performances are keeping the Flyers alive. To be close to this position before the All-Star break is outstanding. However, there is a lot of hockey left. The Flyers will need to keep up their tough performances at home and sprinkle in good road wins to make a post-season push.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are away at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri to visit the St. Louis Blues. This game takes place on Wednesday, January 15th at 8 pm. Be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN and PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre