The Philadelphia Flyers lost their second line center and their starting goaltender. They weren't about to lose the game as well.
Despite a two-goal third period deficit and possible concussions for Sean Couturier and Michal Neuvirth, the Flyers rode a dominant third period and overtime performance to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins. Claude Giroux's power play blast with 3:51 remaining in overtime clinched the win.
Not only did the captain end the game, he also sparked the third period comeback with the team's third goal of the game, via a slick pass from Jakub Voracek. Minutes later, Wayne Simmonds picked his spot in the top corner of the net and beat Tuukka Rask to tie the score and eventually force overtime, where Giroux would prove the hero.
Originally, it appeared that the antics of Zac Rinaldo would overshadow the score for Philadelphia. Time was running down in a 2-2 first period when Rinaldo decided to take a run at Sean Couturier, who was tied up in a puck battle along the boards. Rinaldo's hit knocked Couturier out for the remainder of the game, and earned the former Philadelphia agitator a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
It seemed like the perfect time to capitalize on an opponent's stupidity. However, their ensuing power play not only failed to dent Rask, it couldn't even keep the puck out of Philadelphia's net. Steve Mason, who was forced into action to replace an injured Michal Neuvirth, misplayed a Chris Kelly shorthanded shot to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
What followed was a listless second period filled with ineffective dump-and-chase hockey by Philadelphia. On the other hand, the Bruins kept up the pressure, eventually beating Mason for a second weak goal courtesy of Jimmy Hayes.
The ugliness of Rinaldo's antics and the second period struggles overshadowed a strong start by the Flyers. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare put the Flyers on the board first, and after Brett Connolly tied the score, Sam Gagner gave Philadelphia the lead right back with a wicked wrist shot that beat Rask high.
But a late first period power play would put an end to both the Flyers' lead and Neuvirth's night. Patrice Bergeron knocked a puck out of midair past Neuvirth and also clipped the goalie with his followthrough. Neuvirth played to the end of the period, but would miss the rest of the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury, forcing Mason into unexpected duty.
While Mason did allow two goals that he'd surely want back, it was his highlight reel save on David Pastrnak in the third period that kept the score at 4-2 and allowed for his teammates' heroics.
The Flyers move to 3-2-1 following tonight's victory, and will face the New York Rangers next on Saturday.
Morning observations and analysis from last night's game can be found here.
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