(Philadelphia, PA) - The Boston Bruins capitalized on three deflected pucks to upend the Flyers 3-1 at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday night. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the third period before tallies by David Krejci and Dennis Wideman gave the Bruins a lead they would never relinquish. Two of Boston’s goals went off of Philadelphia players.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas made 25 saves in the victory, while Martin Biron turned back 30 shots in a losing effort. Michael Ryder got Boston on the board first with a goal early in the second period. Scott Hartnell had the lone Philadelphia goal.
The Flyers controlled the majority of the first period, but Boston took over the contest as the game progressed. The Bruins outshot the Flyers by a 26-12 margin after the first period and 33-26 for the game, as they got their forechecking game untracked.
“There’s a reason they’re the best team in the East,” Flyers coach John Stevens said after the game. “They have very committed players and they use their checking game to create offense.”
The Flyers, who were playing without flu-riddled captain Mike Richards, defenseman Braydon Coburn and winger Scottie Upshall, hurt their own momentum with three unnecessary penalties in the middle stanza.
“You can’t do that against a team like the Bruins,” said Hartnell. “Even though we killed off the penalties, that’s an area where I’d say we need to get better.”
The tilt started out well for the Flyers. The team came out ready to play from the drop of the opening puck, outshooting the Bruins 14-7 in the scoreless first period while winning many of the one-on-one battles.
In the early minutes of play, Thomas made a spectacular save to rob Jeff Carter of a power play goal. Carter had the whole short side open as the puck came to him on the rebound of a Joffrey Lupul shot, but Thomas found a way to make the stop.
On several occasions in the first period, the Flyers’ defensemen joined the attack, with both Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle getting scoring chances. At the other end of the ice, the Flyers demonstrated good puck support. Simon Gagne made the most impressive defensive play of the opening stanza, making a diving clear of the puck when the Flyers were shorthanded.
Martin Biron looked sharp in goal in the early going, coming out to challenge the shooters and handling all seven shots he saw, including hugging the post to deny a stuff-in try on Boston’s first power play of the game.
In the middle period, the Bruins came out with a pair of dominating shifts early, pinning the Flyers deep in their own zone. Finally, Michael Ryder gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 3:07 of the period. Ryder tallied his 19th goal of the season as he deflected a Dennis Wideman point shot past Biron from the right circle.
Scott Hartnell promptly tied the game at 1-1 at 5:24. Joffrey Lupul carried the puck up the right wing and put the puck across the goal mouth from a side angle near the goal line. Hartnell collected the puck on the other side and buried it in open short side for his 19th tally on the season.
“I just carried the puck up from our zone and put it across. I was lucky enough to get it to ‘Harts’ and he made a really nice shot,” said Lupul.
As the second period progressed, the clubs traded momentum with the Bruins carrying the majority of the play. Boston ended up outshooting Philly 12-6 in the middle stanza. With the clubs skating 4-on-4 late in the period, Mike Knuble moved in and fired a shot from the circle that squeezed through Thomas but went a little wide of the long side.
Coming into the game, the Flyers were 7-0-4 in games that were tied after two periods. The Bruins were 11-2-1. Boston got the all-important go-ahead goal at 5:48 of the third.
Off a faceoff in the Philadelphia zone, Krecji deflected Shane Hnidy's shot from the point into the net. Just 35 seconds later, offensive defenseman Dennis Wideman tallied his 12th of the season on a shot that appeared to deflect off the Flyers’ Matt Carle and knuckleball past Biron.
“We had a couple chances at the other end and then they come back and score,” said Biron.
Once the Bruins had the lead, they played suffocating defense for the rest of the tilt, limiting the Flyers to just six third-period shots. Few were of the difficult variety.
The Flyers will get another crack at the Bruins on Saturday afternoon, as the scene shifts to Boston. The Bruins have a game in Ottawa on Thursday before returning home to take on the Flyers.
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• The Flyers now own a 26-15-9 overall record, a 15-6-3 record at home and a 4-5-0 record against the Northeast Division.
• This marks only the second loss on home ice the Flyers have suffered in their last 11 games… They are 9-2-0 during that stretch and own a 13-2-2 in their last 17 contests at the Wachovia Center.
• The loss also marks the first time the Flyers have been tied going into the third period and lost in regulation time, they are now 7-1-4 when tied after two periods of play.
• Scott Hartnell has recorded at least a point in 10 of his last 11 games at home, posting 16 points (10G,6A) in that span.
• Joffrey Lupul has recorded at least a point in eight of his last nine games at home, posting 12 points (5G,7A).
• Ryan Parent made his 2008-09 season debut for the Flyers tonight.
• With his assist on Scott Hartnell’s goal, Parent recorded his first regular season point in the National Hockey League… Parent recorded his first ever NHL point with an assist on May 15, 2008, in Game Four against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
• This is the first game in a home-and-home series against the Bruins… The Flyers will face off against the Bruins in Boston on Saturday, February 7 at 1:00 p.m.
Flyers Head Coach John Stevens
Q: In the Third Period do you say to yourself, if you take away a few deflections would this still be a good hockey game?
“I felt that way after the first period. I thought we did a lot of good things. They are a very patient checking team that has people that can really hurt you with turnovers. Second period, this whole penalty brigade has to go away and you know their penalties, Boston, did a good job on the cycle. We didn’t get pucks along the boards, its tough to get your defensemen off the ice in the second period if you don’t get the pucks out and the pucks in and I thought that really hurt us. I mean it’s too much time on the penalty kill but it’s a text book way to grind out a hockey game. They get pucks in deep and get pucks to the net and they weren’t pretty goals but they count.”
Q: Is it the fact that your missing three key guys alleviate what’s going on in the game?
“Not really, I mean that any time somebody goes down it’s an opportunity for somebody else. You don’t replace Richards or Coburn but at the same time you have other people that come in and have an opportunity. They’re a good team, Boston, and it shows they are sound in all areas there and I thought fundamentally they stayed with it there. We had good chances in the first period and they stayed with us and got the cycle on the fore-check going, and it end up being the difference in the hockey game.”
Q: You have been waiting all year to see them play how do you think you match up?
“Well we have some work to do, they are very patient and I feel like we drift off page a little bit and got a little frustrated with their checking game and the counts got away from us a little bit. I would like to see us get reeled in a little bit and stay on pace the distance here. We’ve got good enough people up front and we’ve got people that can score and if we put pucks in the right areas, I just didn’t think we got the opportunity to do that.”
Q: For a few weeks now about taking penalties what do think it might take for that to stop?
“Well we are looking at it. We looked at some video, we talked to our team, we spent significant time at practice the other day. To me most of the penalties we are getting are in our zone, I mean it’s the way we are defending and when you don’t get pucks out and you spend too much time in your end and you start reaching instead of just having position on people. That’s the thing we talked about and we actually thought it was better for a while but we started taking penalties. Especially when you take three in a period like that, guys are waiting to get on the ice and you have a lot of guys, especially when a guy like Richie’s [Mike Richards] out who kills penalties is not there and Cobie [Braydon Coburn] who kills penalties isn’t there now. [Jeff] Carter and these guys end up playing way to much short handed and don’t have energy enough to finish the game.”
Q: Did Biron meet your expectations this game?
“Well Marty, I don’t know I will have to go back and look at those goals I thought he was pretty solid early they had some chances I like the way he challenged in those goals. I’m not sure if he saw the one or not. I will have to have a look at it. The other one I think went in off Jeff [Carter]. I’ll have a better chance to look at, we are going to need Marty to be our best player coming up here.”
Q: First game against the Boston Bruins and it seemed pretty text-book in how they get up in the third period and just fall back.
“Yeah, they played well all the way through and we were a little bit sporadic. We really came out well I thought, but didn’t get rewarded with any goals there, but when they got the lead in the third they really clamped down. They were outnumbering us on the pucks, working hard, getting it deep in our zone. That was a tough shift for us. Two kind of seeing-eye point shots, and then they showed why they’re a first place team once they get the lead.”
Q: Is it harder to stay patient and discipline against a team like this?
“I thought we did alright with that. It wasn’t like we were turning pucks over. They just started to find their stride. They were getting a lot of pucks deep, they’ve got some big bodies, they get it up top, and they go to the net. I think their team is not a lot different than our team. They play a pretty simple game. Their goalie played a very solid game, especially in the first period, and once they took the lead they really clamped down.”
Q: How did that second goal go in?
“The last one actually I know it hit Ossi (Vaananen) right next to me and it hit my skate and went in, and I was talking to Reggie (Lemelin) and he said it hit Matt Carle in the slot too. A couple bad bounces, and that made the difference in the game.”
Q: We talk for a week that this was a measuring-stick game, what do you take from this?
“I think we played a pretty solid first period. The first period was really good for us…we were skating we got caught deep… we had some great scoring chances. In the third when it was 1-to-1 we had a couple of chances there, then they turn around and get a couple of bounces. I think with the effort and the way we skated I think we did a pretty good job, but pretty good is not good enough on most nights in this League, so we got to do even better.”
Q: Everybody has been talking about this being a measuring stick for the team facing Bruins, how do you think you guys stack up against them?
“Well, I think we 40 good minutes against them. They are a tight checking team kind of like the Devils they don’t give you much, they always have four guys back, they collapse hard in the slots and we really had some chances, early but as the game wore on we didn’t get pucks in the net. Six shots in each of the last two periods is not enough shots against a goalie like [Tim] Thomas. So, we are probably going to watch some film tomorrow \to see what we did wrong and build on that.”
Q” Scott, I want to talk about the penalties again. Was it frustrating in a sense that you played a pretty solid first period, and you kind of lose that momentum in the second Period.
“We were killing a lot in that second period, and when you got guys like Richie [Mike Richards] not feeling well, big minute guys, puts a lot of stress on everyone else. You can’t do that against the best team in the East like this, so we got to go in their building, and what they did to us tonight we got to do to them Saturday afternoon…go hard and play solid (D)efense.”
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien
Q: On getting the offense going in the first period.
“I don’t think we came out as well as we would have liked to. We did seem to get better as the game went on and the third period was obviously our better period. We had some guys that helped us along the way and I thought [Stephane] Yelle’s line again was by far the best line. They made things happen and kept them bottled in their own end, created some opportunities and also, I think they drew two penalties. When you get your fourth line working that way, it certainly helps you along the way when you have certain guys who aren’t playing their best right now.”
Q: How much does the fourth line’s success help you from an energy level standpoint?
“We keep talking about back-to-back games and the second half of the year. You want to keep your guys as fresh as possible. Those guys have done an unbelievable job of allowing us to continue to do that.”
When you say some guys aren’t playing their best, are you referring to the power play?
“The power play hasn’t been very good lately. We have some players that can go a lot better and haven’t found their groove. They need to get better and we just have to work our way through that.”
Q: On the success the team is having this season.
“That’s kind of our system, the system that coach [Claude] Julien put in place. There’s a lot of guys that are having good years this year, both defensively, Timmy [Thomas], and offensively, a lot of guys are having career years. It’s just guys being hungry defensively, being patient on the puck. That creates turnovers and then you get to go the other way a lot quicker.”
Q: On Boston’s third period strategy.
“We did want the coaches wanted us to do. We got the puck back to the point and they took the shots. We had guys in front of the net taking away the goalie’s eyes. Fluky goals go in that way, but at the same time, those are the goals that win these kinds of games. Philly is a really tough team.”
Q: On Boston’s ability to win games on the road.
“Our system takes the pressure off of any one player. I think it takes the pressure off of our goaltender a little bit. We have great goaltending from Timmy [Thomas] and Manny [Fernandez] and it allows us to create turnovers and go the other way. It allows us to take the crowd out of the game a little bit. It allows us to really play our style of game instead of coming into the building and have the crowd roaring and let them go off to the races.”
Q: On his save on Jeff Carter.
“That power play right at the beginning of the first period, I think it’s important for us to kill that off and get through it. Otherwise, it gives them momentum. There was a shot from the point with lots of traffic. I saw the shot release and then I lost it through the bodies. I didn’t put my stick in the right place, I was trying to put it in the corner. It happened to bounce right toward Carter.”
Q: On Boston’s success on the road.
“I think, if you go around the NHL, every team in the NHL talks about being a good road team. I think we play good road games. I think we play our best at home when we pretend to play it like a road game. I’m not talking about fan support, I’m talking about keeping it simple, getting it deep, not making turnovers. I think we do a pretty good job of that and that helps us on the road.”
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1 - 0 BOS
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BOS
3 - 1 BOS
Interference - Goalkeeper
Interference - Goalkeeper