Flyers can’t contain David Pastrňák in gut-wrenching collapse vs Boston

The Philadelphia Flyers could not shake David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins, giving up a two-goal lead and losing in overtime.

Tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers debuted their new Reverse Retro jersey design. The mantra is “look good, feel good; feel good, play good; play good, pay good; pay good, live good; live good, die good.” A saying from Pat McAfee and AJ Hawk is accurate for many, but would that resonate for the Flyers and their new uniforms in a clash with the Boston Bruins? Philadelphia, on home ice, dressed to impress. Did they do that, or did the Bruins rain on their parade?

Flyers find a rhythm

Immediately, David Pastrnak made his presence known. Within twelve seconds, Pastrnak dangled Shayne Gostisbehere into oblivion, sweeping the puck past Carter Hart. For a frame of reference, that was faster than it takes to prepare a cup of coffee. Not only did that quick sequence put the Flyers down a goal, but it zapped any momentum they had. Philadelphia remained on the defensive through the first half of the opening period.

‘Frantic’ would describe the Flyers in a word. Through the first ten minutes of the game, Philadelphia managed to fire zero shots. Boston dictated the pace of play in every zone. Thirteen minutes would pass before the Flyers shift the balance. Nicolas Aube-Kubel blasted Jakub Zboril, getting the best of him three times in one physical sequence.

Gostisbehere and the Eastern division’s player of the month, James van Riemsdyk, had two scoring opportunities in the final five minutes of the period. Gaining control on a turnover, van Riemsdyk just missed wide of the net. Philadelphia sustained possession in the offensive zone for the first time in the period when Gostisbehere rang a one-timer from the right faceoff circle off the post. Towards the end of the first, the Flyers settled down after a nightmare beginning. It is worth pointing out that Philadelphia matched the Bruins in shots, 8-8, going into the first intermission.

It was all heart in the second

If you ever wondered how far one good hit goes in the NHL, consider the way the Flyers began the second period. Ever since Aube-Kubel lit up Zboril in the first period, Philadelphia found their skating legs.

Upping the ante, Aube-Kubel put Connor Clifton on his back in Boston’s defensive zone. Hockey is a game of momentum, and if the Flyers were going to find their way back into this game early on, they needed energy shifting plays. The rest of the forwards seemed to feed off of the hits made by Aube-Kubel.

Halfway through regulation, Anton Blidh served a minor for holding. He committed the first penalty of the game in his NHL debut. Converting powerplay opportunities were a must for Philadephia to find their way back into the game. The Bruins killed the Flyers powerplay opportunity, creating a short-handed breakaway chance in the process.

Late in the second period, Kevin Hayes put a beautiful one-timer past Tuukka Rask. Travis Sanheim had the vision to put the puck on Hayes’ stick, making for another high-percentage goal. Those scoring opportunities have been the identity of Alain Vigneault’s system. Credit where it is due, Philadelphia found their peace in the first intermission. Their second-period performance was a difference between night and day.

Another sloppy ending

Boston began the third period on the powerplay. A minor slashing penalty in the final moments of the second period sent van Riemsdyk to the box. Pastrnak nearly extended the lead on the powerplay, but Ivan Provorov bailed Hart out with a shot block. The Flyers killed the penalty and scored on the same shift. Jakub Voracek cleaned up a juicy rebound from Rask, putting Philadelphia ahead 2-1.

Sanheim notched his second assist of the game when Voracek scored. The Flyers were opportunistic, mirroring Boston’s quick start. It was not the time to relax. Now, Philadelphia had to remain defensive to secure their first victory against the Bruins this season.

Through the second and third period, the Flyers rallied, outplaying Boston. Allowing a goal in the first twelve seconds of the game did not sit right with the team’s character. Joel Farabee rifled a one-timer, set up by Scott Laughton for another score. For the first time in this game, Philadelphia had a little breathing room.

The Bruins were back on the powerplay after Aube-Kubel was guilty of closing his hand on the puck. This time, Pastrnak did score his second of the night in close on Hart. A bang-bang pass and shot resulted in Boston closing the deficit. Unfortunately, the Flyers would not be able to hang on to their lead in regulation. With fourteen seconds remaining, Pastrnak completed the hat-trick.

Flyers head to overtime…again

As the third-period unraveled for Philadephia, Laughton committed a minor for interference. Already riding high on momentum, the Bruins would begin the three-on-three sudden-death overtime period on the powerplay. For the second time this season, the Flyers went to overtime against Boston. It was the third overtime performance over three games for Philadephia. Unfortunately, the Bruins would steal the victory in thirty seconds after Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner.

Three Stars

Up Next for the Flyers

Next time out, the Philadelphia Flyers look to avenge three straight losses to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The puck drop will be at 7pm on the NHL Network.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

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