BOSTON MA - DECEMBER 11: Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers is congratulated by teammates Chris Pronger #20 Andreas Nodl #15 Kimmo Timonen #44 and Jeff Carter #17 after Richards scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Boston Bruins on December 11 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. The Flyers defeated the Bruins 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
It is said that the third time is the charm, and tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers are certainly happy that's the case. After having two apparent overtime-winning goals in previous games this season taken away, Mike Richards scored one in Boston that neither a ref nor a clock could disallow.
Richards, picking up an errant pass from Marc Savard, skated into the Boston zone against Dennis Seidenberg, and despite having two teammates joining him in creating a three-on-one rush, the captain let go of a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Tim Thomas glove side with just three seconds left in the overtime period to give the Flyers a victory in a tremendous game in Boston. With this being the Flyers' first visit to Boston since defeating them in that historic game 7 last May, there was an understandably high level of hype going into tonight's game, and the players did not disappoint.
After a scoreless first period that featured excellent goaltending from Thomas and Brian Boucher, it was the Flyers that got on the board first at 18:39 of the second period. Jeff Carter led the Flyers in on a three-on-two, and as Braydon Coburn drove toward the net, Carter found James van Riemsdyk in the slot whose one-timer beat Thomas, breaking his personal shutout streak of 135:44 against the Flyers.
Midway through the third period, the Bruins would equalize as a failed defensive zone clear from Dan Carcillo ended up in the slot, and when Chris Pronger had trouble corralling the bouncing puck, Nathan Horton jumped in and snapped a wrist shot top-shelf. Despite numerous other high-quality chances, though, the Bruins would not be able to again beat Boucher, who, like his counterpart, was outstanding.
Assorted notes, answers to tonight's pre-game questions and our Comment of the Night after the jump.
- It's probably worth repeating that both goaltenders were outstanding tonight. Both Boucher and Thomas made several high-quality saves, with Boucher stopping 35 of 36 and Thomas stopping 31 of 33. Say what you want about the "overtime point" (or "Bettman point," as some call it), but both teams and both goalies certainly deserved at least a point.
- An awfully scary moment occurred at 5:08 of the second period. Jody Shelley, trying to cancel out icing, pushed Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid head first into the boards behind the Boston net. Fortunately, after receiving a few minutes of medical attention, McQuaid was able to get up and skate off the ice with a little assistance from a couple of his teammates, and was back out on the ice just a few minutes later. Shelley received a five minute major for checking from behind and a game misconduct. I'm sure there will be further discussion across the league about whether or not Shelley deserves a suspension, and having only watched a couple of replays of it, I won't pass judgment. NESN reported that Shelley went out of his way to try and apologize to McQuaid from the tunnel.
- On a somewhat related note, the Flyers penalty kill was absolutely excellent tonight, not only killing off Shelley's major, but also Dan Carcillo's interference minor in the first period.
- Despite having some trouble leading up to Nathan Horton's goal, Chris Pronger had another tremendous game, single-handedly breaking up several Boston rushes and all-around asserting his presence. Heck, even one of his "I'm going to send the puck in on net from my own zone" almost resulted in something as Thomas had a bit of trouble controlling the shot with Scott Hartnell approaching.
- Per the Flyers, with 21 shot blocks tonight, they have blocked 20 or more shots in four consecutive games. The Flyers lead the NHL in blocked shots as a team with 522.
Questions with Answers
- How hostile is the TD Garden crowd tonight? Great atmosphere tonight in Boston. Many Flyers fans, too.
- Does Carcillo play, and if he does, what is his impact? Two penalty minutes, a shot and -1 in 11:28 played. Demolished Lucic late in the second period.
- How's Boucher look playing back-to-back games? He was absolutely outstanding. He's certainly making a strong case for staying with the Flyers once they have to move a goalie.
- For the love of everything Holy, can the Flyers beat Tim Thomas tonight? Like Boucher, Thomas made several phenomenal saves. But ultimately, yes -- they beat him twice.
- Does Ville Leino's offensive breakout continue? Leino wasn't terribly noticeable tonight. He did have a go at a power-move at one point tonight, but he didn't get a lot on the shot and Thomas easily stopped him.
I wanna pick the Captain himself to come up big.>> Iconious on whether the Flyers could beat Thomas a second time