The Flyers missed out on a 10-game winning streak and a chance at first place in front of their fans Tuesday night.
They have Tuukka Rask to thank for it.
The veteran goalie turned away the surging Flyers, who were blanked by the Bruins, 2-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (41-21-7) suffered their first loss since Feb. 15 against the Lightning. With the defeat, they remain a point behind the first-place Capitals and are only three up on the third-place Penguins (see standings).
Since Oct. 21, the Flyers have the NHL's second-most points with 84, behind only Boston, which has 88.
The Bruins (44-14-12) now sport an NHL-best 100 points.
• They missed out on a real statement, but the Flyers won't hang their heads over this defeat.
Boston is legit and the Flyers outplayed it for a good portion of Tuesday night's game. In fact, that was their first loss to the Bruins in three meetings this season.
The important thing will be regrouping and preparing for a tough road game against Tampa Bay, a team the Flyers have not fared well against in 2019-20.
The Flyers have not lost consecutive games since Jan. 4-7. Let's see how well Alain Vigneault and company turn the page in this barometer of a two-game stretch.
• Carter Hart and Rask made for a heck of a goalie duel.
Rask, a Vezina Trophy winner and a candidate for the award this season, got the best of Hart and the Flyers. On his 33rd birthday, Rask made 36 saves and impressively held off the Flyers in the second period, when he was under heavy duress.
The Flyers really got after him and he was that good to pitch a shutout against a team that came in leading the NHL with 94 goals since Jan. 8.
Hart was finally outdone at home, where he's now 20-3-2 and has allowed two or fewer goals in 21 of those 25 games. Hart had a seven-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since that Feb. 15 defeat.
The Bruins and their second-ranked power play cracked him late in the second period when Matt Grzelcyk scored his fourth goal of the season on a blast through traffic. Patrice Bergeron broke the Flyers' back when he made it 2-0 with 5:20 left in the game.
"There’s no doubt in this game, he’s one of the reasons why they won the game," Vigneault said of Rask. "For two periods, I thought we were the better team on the ice. We had some real good opportunities to take a lead, couldn’t get anything past him.
"That goal that they got on their power play at the end of the second period seemed like it gave them confidence and momentum, because in the third period, they were the better team."
• Fifty-seven days since his dubious shootout whiff at the Wells Fargo Center, Brad Marchand returned to Philly. Gritty welcomed him back with a friendly sign and fans were cordial (see story).
During the game, Marchand committed a pair of penalties but extended his point streak to 13 games and left the building with a win.
• With Philippe Myers' knee injury, the Flyers are going to need Shayne Gostisbehere down the stretch (see story).
After not playing in 24 of the team's previous 25 games, Gostisbehere was back in the lineup against the Bruins. He looked good, making some solid reads and showing his elusiveness.
Building and maintaining his confidence will be important for himself and the Flyers.
“I thought he played real well, it’s a real tough position to put somebody in," Vigneault said. "He hadn’t played in a while and I thought his energy level, his execution, his battle level was real good. With Phil being out until the end of the year, he’s going to get an opportunity to continue to play and I’m sure we’re going to get the same effort on his part.”
• Prior to the game, the Flyers released a statement amid concerns regarding the coronavirus (see story).
• The Flyers practice at noon Wednesday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before flying to Tampa Bay ahead of their matchup with the Lightning Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
The Flyers are 0-2-0 against Tampa Bay this season, losing both matchups by a combined score of 6-3.
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