In the Flyers’ epic shootout victory over the Bruins on Jan. 13, they were largely outplayed for the better part of two periods, until a furious three-goal comeback forced overtime.
We all remember what happened to Brad Marchand in the shootout.
In a role reversal, the Flyers were the better team for the majority of Tuesday’s contest vs. the Bruins, but didn’t yield the same result after a 2-0 loss.
Their win streak was halted at nine games, but they still won the season series over the Bruins, 2-1-0, as each team scored nine goals.
The Flyers still felt they were the better team Tuesday.
Tuukka Rask, who celebrated his 33rd birthday, stopped all 36 shots the Flyers fired his way and helped kill off all three penalties.
“There’s no doubt in this game, he’s one of the reasons why they won the game,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “For two periods, I thought we were the better team on the ice. We had some real good opportunities to take a lead and couldn’t get anything past him.”
Since Oct. 21, the Flyers are second in the league in points with 84, going 39-18-6. They trail the Bruins, who have 88 points and have compiled a 39-13-10 record.
As the numbers show and the head-to-head meetings between the teams, the game went exactly as planned for the Flyers. They just came up short on the scoreboard.
It was perhaps a look into what the playoffs will look like.
“I liked our game. I’d rather win, but we just went on a heck of a run,” Matt Niskanen said. “We played pretty good hockey tonight. You can see how tight it’s going to be when we play nothing but good teams in about a month. That’s a good test for us.”
If the Flyers finish in second place in the Metro, they’ll likely play the Penguins in the first round. If they win the division, they’ll play one of the wild-card teams. Either way, they would get home-ice advantage in the first round.
The Flyers wouldn’t see the Bruins until the Eastern Conference Final, but it seems as if they stack up pretty well against them should each team advance.
“[We’re] two tight-checking hockey teams,” Scott Laughton said. “We’re four lines deep and they’re four lines deep. We both play a pretty heavy game.”
Perhaps the Flyers’ next game at Tampa Bay will be a true test of how far they’ve come. They haven’t lost back-to-back games since Jan. 4-7, a span of 26 games.
It seems like the Flyers are ready to accept this next challenge and start a new streak.
“I think we’ve grown a little bit between the ears,” Niskanen said. “I think we’re tougher now and a little bit more confident in how we play and how we want to play and our abilities. Just recognize that we played a pretty good game, we didn’t win and get ready for the next one.”
Niskanen, who won the Stanely Cup with the Capitals in 2018, might know a thing or two about championship DNA.
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