The Boston Bruins hadn't lost a game all season after scoring the first goal, the best mark in the NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers had a 2-11 record when allowing the first goal of the hockey game, the worst mark in the NHL. So you can imagine how fans of the orange and black felt when Vladimir Sobotka scored a lucky, ugly goal in the latter stages of the second period to break a scoreless dead lock.
Same old story, right? It didn't matter that the Flyers had worked hard all game, or that the offensive pressure was there, or that the defense had been quite solid throughout, or that Brian Boucher continued to play like it was Game 7 of the Finals. Nope, bad luck would bite them this time, and a cheap goal would lead this ill-fated team toward yet another loss.
That's what overreacting sounds like when, in the end, the opposite actually happens.
The Flyers didn't give up. When the third period started, they continued to apply the pressure, not giving up. Hard work by Claude Giroux forced a power play, which they were unable to capitalize on, but you could feel it coming. Boston couldn't get out of their end except for a few futile little rushes the other way, which were quickly stomped out by the Flyers defense. With Philly again pressing in the Bruins end, Arron Asham was able to feed James van Riemsdyk in the slot, where he poked the tying goal through the pads of Tim Thomas.
The Flyers didn't stop there, though, continuing to control the pace for the next eight minutes, until a drive from Kimmo Timonen at the point deflected off a Bruin and found its way behind the net. And just like that, Philadelphia had a third period lead. Hard work rewarded.
Scott Hartnell would take a dumb penalty in the waning minutes, but on the ensuing kill, Kimmo Timonen lifted a shot from the far corner all the way down the ice into an empty net to seal the victory. It doesn't get any easier tomorrow in Pittsburgh, but this was an excellent victory tonight. Baby steps. Building blocks.
After the jump, a few more thoughts on this solid Flyers victory, questions with answers, highlights & pressers, and the comment of the night.
Some assorted thoughts...
Ole-Kristian Tollefsen left the game after the first period with a knee injury. He's reportedly going to be out two to three weeks, and Danny Syvret is on his way to Pittsburgh to meet the team. He'll play tomorrow night.
- Boston fans are livid about a few questionable calls in this one, proving that everybody -- not just a select few Flyers fans -- believes the NHL is out to get them. Here's a quote from the game thread at Stanley Cup of Chowder...
Stuff like that makes me wonder. With the Classic coming up and Philadelphia clearly not being up to snuff as a team, it’s a little convenient that a game would be called this bad, with much of it in their favor, in the last matchup before the big one.
- ...you can snuff out the absurdity there, I'm sure. The commenter is referring to a non-goal call in the first period. The Bruins crashed the net and the puck wound up in it. There was no review, justified by the officials because Boucher never had a chance to make a plau. Jack Edwards probably had a heart attack on NESN, and if we can get a clip of that, we'll pass it along.
- The Flyers peppered the Bruins with 38 shots, a nice little picture of how much offensive pressure they created. Not all of them were quality, but still.
- The power play still looks terrible, though. They're not generating any movement, not getting creative with passes, and opting to take only low-percentage shots through traffic. It has to change.
- There was a reported brawl during the Mites on Ice game in the first intermission at TD Garden. And they say we like fighting in Philly. If we get video, we'll be sure to pass it along as well. If you have video, please shoot us an email ASAP, because this has to be hilarious.
- JVR broke a 12-game goal-less drought.
- Giroux and Hartnell showed a ton of chemistry, and Carcillo looked really strong on the top line. In fact, the entire team put in an excellent effort tonight. They truly earned this one.
- Hartnell did take a ton of penalties, though, and you can be sure Peter Laviolette will make him pay in practice.
Questions With Answers
- Tim Thomas hasn't won a game since the 2nd and hasn't been great this season. Can the Flyers take advantage? Thomas didn't look particularly weak tonight.
Claude Giroux has scored the Flyers' last three goals. CAN SOMEONE ELSE SCORE, PLEASE? Giroux played fantastic hockey again, but yes! JVR and Timonen had Flyer goals.
- Can the Flyers get the first goal and gain some momentum early? No, but they certainly stole the momentum out of the gate in the third and rode it to victory.
- Power play. Goals? Nah, don't ask too much, now...
- How's Tollefsen look now that he's back in the lineup? Poor guy. Another injury. It's almost funny, in a sick sort of way.
- Does Carcillo noticeably hold back at all, fresh off his four game suspension? He didn't take any dumb penalties and even drew one or two, but from an aggressiveness standpoint, he didn't seem to hold back. He put together a nice little game.
Comment of the Night
Everyone remember what clothes they have on RIGHT NOW so you can wear them again tomorrow…
Laviolette Press Conference
Boucher, JVR, & Timonen Post Game