The Flyers and the Bruins battled it out for some crucial points today in what would be the final meeting of the regular season for these two teams. What were the key plays, who stood out, and where will the season go from here? All that and more below.
Things started poorly for the Orange & Black, with the Bruins racking up the first seven shots on goal and potting a goal thanks to Patrice Bergeron. The finish by the Boston captain is a beauty, but the real standout play came from Brad Marchand on the steal and pass to Smith.
Elliott leaves the puck for Gostisbehere, who turns it over, and Elliott doesn't really get set before an unmarked Bergeron beats him from the slot. pic.twitter.com/gttLwvnUrS— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 10, 2021
Philly was held to the perimeter and seemed wholly impotent on offense, falling victim to Boston’s defense-heavy style even when faced with a depleted Beantown blue line. Thankfully, hockey is a game where luck matters about as much as skill, and one good shift from the Flyers turned into a goal for Travis Konecny. Robert Hägg took the shot that created the rebound, and the often vilified winger buried the chance. Konecny has had a nice run of production lately, surging back up to production similar to what he posted in his breakout 2019-20 season. The signs recently have all been pointing to a similar conclusion; maybe this season is just going to be weird and shitty for the Flyers in particular.
After some more minutes of Boston and Philadelphia trading punches (or in this case, love taps), Konecny flashed his long-missed heel qualities and drew a roughing penalty from Curtis Lauzon. The ensuing penalty was a brief one for Boston, mostly because they allowed a goal on the first shift to Shayne Gostisbehere. The read to make this pinch and the ensuing tip were things of beauty. Ghost is never going to be a perfect player, but it’s important to recall that he’s capable of game-altering sequences like this one. The Marchand stick lift earlier in the game was mostly just a great play by the Bruin, and while No. 53 should catch heat for it nonetheless, I’m less worried about plays like that than the ones where he’s gotten beat wide with speed.
Konecny with the perfect pass and Gostisbehere tips it home! pic.twitter.com/fr03Wm8qX4— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 10, 2021
Oh, and Konecny got an assist on that play, bringing his stat line to the following through one period: one goal, one primary assist, one drawn penalty, none taken. Not a bad game for a guy that many people are blaming for the team’s problems.
Konecny again got things going for the Flyers, drawing a holding call on Clifton early on. Honestly, the Bruins got lucky here. Clifton punched TK in the face after the hold, so I wouldn’t have been shocked if there was something else called. Less lucky was the power play, which failed to find rhythm when faced with an aggressive Bruins unit that excels at stunting controlled entries. A Nolan Patrick tripping penalty erased the advantage, and just like that the Bruins were back in the driver’s seat.
Morin loses DeBrusk and it's another unmarked shot from the slot for a goal by the Bruins. pic.twitter.com/QqI6bnTF4m— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) April 10, 2021
The Flyers killed the penalty by tipping passes and blocking shots, but Boston ended up getting quite a bit of zone time and managed some quality chances, even when mostly held to the perimeter. Another power play opportunity provided the Bruins with the spark they needed; a give-and-go for Jake DeBrusk gave the winger a goal over the high blocker side of Brian Elliott. Boston seized control from there, riddling Elliott with shots until time expired. With the game tied, both teams headed to the locker room to prepare for one last push.
Philly put in some sparkling work with puck retrieval early, putting a Bruins team that looked in control prior to the intermission back on their heels. After a lot of end-to-end hockey that resulted in very little action for either team (aside from another chance for DeBrusk), that tenacity on the forecheck paid dividends. On a play where the Boston defense looked completely out of position, the Flyers patiently passed it around on the cycle before Sean Couturier buried the puck, making it 3-2.
After a few minutes of play, a laughably awful penalty call on Kevin Hayes for crosschecking sent the Bruins on the hunt for the equalizer. In a year that’s plumbed the depths of terrible officiating, this was a particularly awful decision by the refs. Unexpectedly, this did not result in a backbreaking goal that would ultimately lead the Bruins to victory; the Flyers nonchalantly killed the penalty and promptly managed a chance off the rush when it expired.
Boston came out of the power play hot, racking up dangerous chances and generally getting everyone’s heart rates up. An Ivan Provorov trip one a 1-on-1 play against David Pastrnak sent Boston to the man advantage for the fourth time, but again the penalty kill stood tall (oh, and Brian Elliott too). Afterwards, a few effort plays and a wonderful screen by Jake Voracek helped a Shayne Gostisbehere shot find its way past Jeremy Swayman. Unfortunately, the referees saw contact on the Boston netminder upon review and said “oh yeah, that’s interference.” The game went back to being a one-score affair, and much complaining was had.
The Flyers suffocated Boston for the remaining time anyways, creating some more offense off the rush along the way. This game was a pretty complete effort from Philly, all things considered, and this time it actually ended in a well-earned victory. The Flyers concluded the season series with two points, rainbows and sunshine abounded, etc etc.
Three Big Things
- What a game from Travis Konecny, my goodness. Teeks drawing penalties and scoring like a top line player is a startling, yet welcome development to add to a recent stretch of such occurrences. Carter Hart, Oskar Lindblom, and Shayne Gostisbehere all having pretty quality bounce back years bodes well for the future, even in the immediate haze of pain that this season is loafing around in. The Flyers still need to make some big moves, no doubt, but perhaps things are a bit less dire than previously thought.
- Brian Elliott quietly had a solid outing, despite a few rebound control issues that sprung up every now and then. The elder statesman between the pipes has enjoyed a nice little run of recent success since Carter Hart has stabilized, something that he’ll hopefully sustain.
- Nolan Patrick needs to be removed from the power play. I understand Vigneault’s rationale; if you have a player who is sputtering out of the gate, giving them advantageous deployment to jumpstart their scoring isn’t a bad strategy. The problem with that is NolPat has been stagnant in terms of production, despite remaining a fixture on the power play for almost the entire season. He’s not been worthy of those minutes, and every brutal turnover he makes at the blue line or via a lost puck battle actively hurts that unit. It’s time to try something else.
Post Game Tunes
I may or may not have used this tune before after a win (I can’t remember, sue me), but it’s a fitting one nonetheless. It’s a beautiful day outside, and Maynard Ferguson is the vibe.
Apologies for the lack of a preview, folks; I landed a production job and ended up staying up too late last night celebrating. I hope you enjoyed the game all things nonwithstanding. Good night, good hockey, and as always, go Flyers.