Down 2-1 entering the third period against a Eastern Conference playoff contender, the Philadelphia Flyers from back in November may have folded. But that team is long gone, replaced by a sharper, more efficient squad confident in their abilities and Dave Hakstol's aggressive system.
Sparked by a stellar effort from star forwards Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, the Flyers fought back and scored two goals in the third period to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and come away with a 3-2 victory. Voracek and Giroux both finished with three points on the night, while Wayne Simmonds and Mark Streit added goals of their own.
The first period was filled with tight checking and fruitless entries into the offensive zone from both teams. The only line from either team to really impose its will was the Flyers' top line of Voracek, Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Unsurprisingly, they were first to light the lamp, as Voracek gobbled up a loose puck in front of Rask and slipped it past the Boston goaltender, giving Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Despite the lead, the two teams were evenly matched through twenty minutes in terms of quality of play, leaving the game's outcome still very much up for grabs.
It was Boston who would take control in the second period. First, the Bruins used an efficient line change to catch the Flyers with only four players on the ice, which allowed Max Talbot to find an open Kevan Miller creeping into the high slot. Miller snapped a wrister past Mason, which tied the game at one-all.
Philadelphia fought back, and multiple strong shifts from the Sean Couturier line against Patrice Bergeron's unit had the Flyers pressing for the lead yet again. But Boston's top-ranked power play put an end to those hopes. Nick Schultz and Radko Gudas lost Loui Eriksson in front of Mason only 25 seconds into the Bruins' first power play of the night, and he promptly deposited the puck in the net to give Boston their first lead of the game.
A back-and-forth third period threatened to devolve into disaster for the Flyers when Brandon Manning took a delay of game penalty around the midpoint of the period. But this time, the Philadelphia penalty kill held strong, and barely allowed the Bruins' power play to even set up shop in the offensive zone. It proved to be the turning point of the game.
From the second that Manning's penalty expired, it became the Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek show. In their first shift following the penalty, Simmonds blasted down the right wing, ripped a shot on Rask, and then gathered his own rebound and beat the Bruins goaltender to the near point to tie the game, delighting the Wells Fargo faithful. Their decibel level would rise even louder just one minutes on the very next shift for the Giroux line. This time, it was Mark Streit, who gobbled up his own rebound after Giroux and Voracek played give-and-go down the ice to put the Flyers back in front.
They would hold the lead, but Steve Mason was forced to slam the door shut as Boston ramped up the pressure. He robbed Brad Marchand from the crease area with a big glove save, and then held off the Bruins for two minutes after they pulled Rask for the extra attacker. Mason made 30 saves in the big win.
Comment of the Night:
Nice of Milbury to say he hates the Flyers, hates the fans and hates Ed Snider. No bias reporting there.