If you wanted to introduce someone to hockey, today's game would have been a good one. There was a little bit of everything: hard hits, pretty goals, fights, stupid penalties that make you angry. Like I said, everything!
Vinny Lecavalier scored his 400th career goal today to open up scoring, a shot that was redirected by a Bruins defenseman and went right in under Rask's glove hand. It was the beginning of a nice buzz for the Flyers, with plenty of offensive presence. Unfortunately, that was cancelled out by a defensive breakdown and lots of puck-watching. Andrej Meszaros took advantage, because clearly he's familiar with the Flyers style, and evened it up.
The rest of the first period looked like it would end tied, with big chances going both ways, but nothing sticking. The Bruins had the Flyers on their heels towards the end of the period, but that changed when Jake Voracek found Kimmo Timonen with an absolutely unreal pass that Timonen put past Rask stick side.
The Flyers entered the second period with a slim lead, knowing they'd have to keep pressuring the Bruins relentlessly in order to win. After a terrible effort on the power play, the Flyers were unable to kill an Adam Hall hooking penalty. Chara had his giant self on the doorstep and was able to get it past Mason to even it up yet again.
Bergeron had the go-ahead goal and gave the Bruins their first lead of the game halfway through the second. Mason was definitely out of position as Bergeron beat him with a turnaround shot. It was one he would like to have back, for sure.
Going into the third period playing with a deficit is certainly not unfamiliar territory for the Flyers, but despite all of the pressure in the world, they seemed unable to even it up thanks to Rask. The Flyers pulled Steve Mason in the final minute and a half of the game, and in the dying seconds of the game, Jake Voracek made another incredible pass and left Vinny Lecavalier with an empty net. He didn't miss this one.
A back and forth overtime ended scoreless and the shootout ended in the fourth round when Reilly Smith beat Mason. The Flyers emerged with one point and a tenuous second place in the Metropolitan.
Mostly good things:
- Lecavalier scored his 400th (and 401st!) career goals in this one and really, he's been playing incredibly well on the fourth line. Berube bumped him back up to the second line in the third period. I'm assuming it's because his skating has looked much better lately.
- Rinaldo absolutely rocked Jarome Iginla with a huge hit in the first period and when Iginla retaliated, Rinaldo took every opportunity to show him why he has no business fighting against Zac Rinaldo. It was such a smart trade off for the Flyers and a really good decision by Zac. In fact, while we're on the subject, Rinaldo looked great. His forechecking was awesome, his defensive play was solid. Good things!
- Jake Voracek has been on fire in the past couple of games. He's been seeing the ice incredibly well and making some excellent plays. Pity he hasn't gotten a goal for all of his opportunities, but those assists in today's game were as important as they get.
- Power play looked really bad. How is it possible that a team looks worse at 5 on 3 than 5 on 4? I don't understand and I don't want to understand.
- The third goal that Mason let in was a really bad one to give up, but he stood tall for the rest of the game. Some really timely saves.
- Patrice Bergeron has goals in seven straight and a goal in the shootout. I would say screw that guy, but I'm pretty sure he's up for sainthood.
- Claude Giroux's goal in the shootout was a beauty. That guy is pretty talented.
The Flyers really dominated in the third period, and even though they got 52 shots on goal (yes, you read that correctly, 52 shots on goal against the Boston Bruins), Tuukka Rask played phenomenally well. You have to be happy with the point, though, especially against a team as top-to-bottom awesome as Boston. A very good effort against excellent competition. Good omens.
The Flyers ended a difficult March schedule going 9-3-2, getting 20 points out of a possible 28. Pretty damn good.
They'll open up April with a game against the Blues. Eight games left. The countdown is on!