Philadelphia Flyers

Talking Points: Giroux rises to the occasion

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Talking Points: Giroux rises to the occasion

GOLD STAR: The Flyers had some standout players on Sunday afternoon, but Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux rose to the top with a pair of goals scored, including the overtime game-winner on a breakaway chance. Giroux finished with the two goals, a plus-3 rating and had five shot attempts in his 18:52 of ice time and bookended the Flyers scoring with the first and last goal of the game. Giroux was also all kinds of dynamite in the face-off circle winning 7-of-9 draws and otherwise played a strong game working the two-man game with Travis Konecny throughout the contest. The 95-point mark that Giroux has reached this season is a career-high for the Flyers center as he’s enjoying one of his best seasons in Philly.

BLACK EYE: It was a tough night for Adam McQuaid, who finished a minus-2 in just 13:04 of ice time and made some mistakes on the ice that led to high quality chances throughout the game. The Torey Krug/McQuaid pairing in general got into a lot of adventurous shifts on the ice where they were allowing Flyers players to get behind them, struggling to break the puck out of their own zone and at times giving up too much ground to the Flyers attacking the B’s zone with speed and aggressiveness. Certainly it felt like McQuaid and Krug were the pairing against Claude Giroux’s line on the ice every time something good was happening for Philly. It might have just been one of those days for a pair that hasn’t played much together lately after spending all of last season together, but they need to be a lot tighter defensively.

TURNING POINT: The turning point for the Bruins was simply getting the game to overtime and salvaging a point in a game where they clearly didn’t have much in the tank. With the goalie pulled, the Bruins simply wouldn’t relent while hunting the puck offensively and making a handful of plays to keep the puck in the zone while maintaining heavy pressure on Philly’s defense. It was David Krejci that made the final play to keep the puck inside the Bruins attack zone, and that set up the play where a loose puck bounced from the front of the net to Patrice Bergeron’s stick for the game-tying strike. It wasn’t enough to get the full two points, but for a gassed B’s bunch pushing things to overtime was an impressive feat in and of itself. In all the Bruins outshot Tampa Bay by a 10-8 margin while coming back again in the third period.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak was the best of the three forwards on Boston’s top line with a power play goal in the third period that deflected off Wayne Simmonds and a team-high seven shots on net in his 21:30 of ice time. Brad Marchand managed just a single shot on net and Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-2 despite his last second heroics in the third period, but it was Pastrnak that had the good skating legs to be a threat throughout the game. Pastrnak was robbed earlier in the game of a second goal when a backdoor feed left wide open, but somehow Petr Mrazek was able to extend fully across the crease and swallow up Pastrnak’s elevated shot with a big time glove save that ranks as one of the best all season. That’s what was needed to keep Pasta from cooking up a little more offense for the B’s.

BY THE NUMBERS: 30 – the number of goals for Patrice Bergeron after scoring his last-second, game-tying strike that now gives the Bruins 30-goal scorers at all three spots on their top line with Bergeron, Brad Marchand (34) and David Pastrnak (33).  

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Losing sucks. That's only what I can say." –Anton Khudobin, who clearly didn’t want to hear about moral victories after losing in overtime while giving up four goals on 24 shots in a so-so kind of effort.

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Flyers outlast Bruins in overtime

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Flyers outlast Bruins in overtime

PHILADELPHIA – The undermanned Bruins have won their share of games lately while missing players from their team, but they couldn’t muster that special stuff once again on Sunday in Philadelphia.

The Bruins never held a lead and made some uncharacteristic mistakes in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center where they still did enough to get a point making it to overtime.

Claude Giroux won it in the extra session with a breakaway score for his second goal of the game as he drives a pretty strong Hart Trophy candidacy to the finish line.  

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The Flyers jumped on the board first in the opening period when a quick, clean breakout through all three zones gave Philly plenty of speed and space for tic-tac-toe passing, and Travis Konecny fed a cross-ice pass to Claude Giroux for a one-timer that beat Anton Khudobin to the far post. The Flyers doubled their lead at the start of the second period on the very first shift when Travis Konecny dangled through Adam McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron off the half-wall before snapping a shot short-side on Khudobin.

The Bruins got one back in the second period on Noel Acciari’s ninth goal of the season while taking a shift with David Backes and Danton, and that closed it to a one-goal deficit headed into the final 20 minutes of action.

Once again in the third Nolan Patrick got behind the Bruins defense after getting away with a high stick to the face of Torey Krug, and Patrick buried his chance in all alone to restore the two-goal cushion. Boston’s top power play unit once again struck with David Pastrnak scoring his 33rd goal of the season to again make it a one-goal game, but that’s as close as the Black and Gold would get until the very end against a well-rested Philly team.

That’s when the Bruins pulled their goalie and Patrice Bergeron scored his 30th goal of the season with 3.8 seconds to go to tie things up and push it into overtime.  

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Chara returns for Bruins in Philly; B's waiting for Carlo diagnosis

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Chara returns for Bruins in Philly; B's waiting for Carlo diagnosis

PHILADELPHIA – The Black and Gold will get a very big piece back on Sunday afternoon as Zdeno Chara is slated to suit up and play for the Bruins after missing the previous nine games with an upper body injury suffered when he crashed upper body-first into the boards in Carolina.

The Bruins will be getting their 41-year-old captain and defensive stopper back as they lose fellow big-bodied Brandon Carlo to a lower body that required him being taken off the ice in a stretcher during Saturday afternoon’s win over the Panthers. Bruce Cassidy said the Bruins wouldn’t have a complete diagnosis on the 21-year-old defenseman until some of the swelling goes down with the leg injury, but there wasn’t much of an optimistic tone about it being anything but a serious injury.

It’s a shame for a young player in Carlo that was playing his best hockey of the season over the last month, and was playing with the kind of puck-moving confidence and defensive snarl that hint at the possibilities for the young 6-foot-5 defender.

“Until the swelling goes down there’s not going to be a timetable on his injury, or what we’re going to do,” said Cassidy, of a play where it looked like his left leg folded awkwardly in what could be a knee or a lower leg injury . “Looking at the video we’re probably not going to have good news, but we don’t have definite answers today.

“I don’t want to speculate that he’ll miss [the playoffs], but if he does then it sucks, honestly, for a guy that’s played every regular season game and been healthy through two seasons. The only game he missed this year was when he was a healthy scratch and we put him up top. I think the whole group felt badly for him being taken off on a stretcher. Let’s face it, when there’s a stretcher involved it’s probably not good.”

Carlo remained behind in Boston to heal up and receive treatment from doctors, and so did third line center Riley Nash after taking a puck to the ear that required 40 stitches inside and outside the ear to close up the gash. Bruce Cassidy said that Nash was “in a significant level of discomfort” and probably wouldn’t even be able to get a helmet on his head this point given the swelling and cut.

Cassidy also indicated that Charlie McAvoy (left MCL) has a very good shot of playing Tuesday night in Tampa Bay if he continues to make progress as he has over the last few weeks.

Clearly at this point in the NHL regular season the name of the game is staying healthy, and right now the Bruins are watching more players drop with injuries as others are filtering back into the lineup. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins based on pregame warm-ups at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly:   

 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Donato

Heinen-Backes-Gionta

Schaller-Acciari-Wingels

 

Chara-Holden

Krug-McQuaid

Grzelcyk-Miller

 

Khudobin

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