For the first time this season, the Philadelphia Flyers defeat the Boston Bruins on a Travis Sanheim overtime game-winner.
There’s one for the Flyers!
Without Oskar Lindblom and Carter Hart in the lineup, the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins for the first time this season. If there is a silver lining for the Bruins in defeat, it’s that they receive a point, too. Instead of being within striking distance of a playoff spot, the Flyers are three points behind Boston in the Mass Mutual Eastern Division standings. In the second of a back-to-back, they have a chance to inch closer.
To echo the sentiments of Claude Giroux on Saturday, Philadelphia capitalized on their momentum. They’ve rallied two consecutive strong performances in a row. Tonight, the result was an overtime victory against a team they’ve yet to defeat this season.
Daniel Vladar, tonight’s starting goaltender for the Bruins, was electric. If at all, Boston discovered how deep they are at that position on the NHL level.
With Jaroslav Halak in COVID protocol and Tuukka Rask not yet ready to return, Vladar received the start. Vladar played a vital role as to why the Bruins earned a point by forcing overtime. Denying Travis Konecny on the goal line is the difference between being on the postseason cusp and still trailing Boston in the Eastern Division, even if winning in regulation on Tuesday. Despite that, the Flyers came from behind to steal a victory. Now, they’ll have to stay on schedule to heist a playoff spot.
Konecny surprised everyone tonight. He ended his scoring drought while getting Philadelphia on the scoreboard first.
His scoring play begins with Ivan Provorov keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Placing a puck on goal, especially against a rookie goaltender, could lead to a rebound. Jakub Voracek was ready for that, chipping away at the loose puck. Konecny cleaned up on the crease to score his eighth of the season.
Late in the first period, a non-call on Jakub Zboril set up the equalizer. Voracek was tripped along the boards, resulting in a failed clear. Travis Sanheim was between Brian Elliott and the puck, trying his best not to screen. Karson Kuhlman sniped the puck past Elliott. A penalty should have been called on Zboril, eliminating a scoring opportunity from Kuhlman.
Coincidentally, the officiating crew called Shayne Gostisbehere for tripping. Sometimes, if you don’t have bad luck, you would have no luck at all. The Bruins would begin the second period on the powerplay.
Bruins Take the Edge Over Flyers
The thing about that adage about having bad luck or none at all is, sometimes, you wish you didn’t have any at all. On the powerplay, David Pastrnak placed a beautiful pass into the low slot in front of Elliott. Throughout this game, the Flyers were well-crafted defensively. Here, if Patrice Bergeron didn’t touch the puck, Nick Ritchie would have. Pastrnak’s assist had a failsafe, which is why Boston has a top-ten NHL powerplay.
Earlier, I mentioned Vladar’s game-changing save in rapid sequence versus Giroux and Konecny. The officials reviewed the puck placement afterward. While the no-goal decision stands, the puck couldn’t have been closer to moving beyond the goal line. Heading into the third period, the Bruins led, 2-1.
As much as I’ve showered Vladar with compliments, Elliott was remarkable in the crease. Before the puck dropped, I questioned the decision to start Elliott. Following such a strong performance on Saturday, it made sense that Hart would start. Elliott was brilliant and earned this victory against Philadelphia’s kryptonite this season.
Success on the powerplay was the outlier between these two teams. It’s why Boston had the lead in the third period. To play spoiler, the Flyers needed to convert on the man-advantage.
Sean Couturier did, tying the game by picking the post on the powerplay. He found a lane, made his decision, and scored above the glove side.
Within the first minute of overtime, Travis Sanheim should have ended the game. He tried to get a little too cute with Vladar. His deke was a good one, but Vladar made an even better save.
Two minutes later, Sanheim blocked a shot from Bergeron and stormed up ice. After Bergeron caught the wrong edge of a skate, Sanheim was all alone with Vladar again. Sanheim made the simple play, potting the game-winner on the stick side. The Flyers win, 3-2.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers return home to host the Boston Bruins. Puck drop is 7pm, and coverage is available on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre