Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand whiffs to seal Flyers' wild shootout win over Bruins

Brad Marchand whiffs to seal Flyers' wild shootout win over Bruins

BOX SCORE

The Flyers nearly whiffed on a huge home game.

Instead, Brad Marchand whiffed to seal a wild 6-5 shootout win for the Flyers over the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night.

The Flyers were almost chased out of their own building but picked up arguably their most improbable win so far of the 2019-20 season.

Travis Konecny scored the lone shootout marker. Marchand had a chance to draw even but missed the puck at center ice, which counted for an attempt, as the Wells Fargo Center erupted and the Flyers stormed the ice in celebration (see highlights).

https://twitter.com/JClarkNBCS/status/1216917410722258950?s=20

The Flyers (24-16-6) took down the Capitals and Bruins on this three-game homestand. Washington and Boston were tied with the Blues atop the NHL standings entering Monday.

The Flyers have taken both matchups with the Bruins (27-8-12), who return to Philadelphia for the regular-season series finale March 10.

• Just how unfathomable of a win was this for the Flyers?

The Bruins were 10-0-0 when scoring five or more goals and had not surrendered more than five all season.

The Flyers didn't unravel when they allowed Boston to score five goals less than midway through the contest. Instead, they tightened things up, stayed out of the box and sparked their offense after being shut out for the first time this season.

Can't argue with that response.

Travis Sanheim was huge with two goals, including the 5-5 equalizer in the third period. Sean Couturier had a big one in the middle stanza to make 5-3, which stopped the Flyers' bleeding.

• Following one of their best defensive efforts in Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Lightning, the Flyers had far too many busted coverages and mistakes.

The Bruins held a 5-2 lead just 7:21 into the second period.

• Boston almost got the best of Carter Hart after the goalie had beaten the Bruins in their first three career meetings.

Boston broke down Hart with dekes and speed, putting up five goals on the 21-year-old, who had allowed only seven combined markers in the three matchups prior with the Bruins.

Hart impressively recovered, though, improving to 4-0-0 against the Bruins.

The Flyers had Boston goalie Jaroslav Halak going every which way as he had to make 34 saves. He denied Ivan Provorov on the doorstep with one second left in overtime.

• Connor Bunnaman, the latest recall of the Flyers as the team searches for bottom-six answers, emphasized the importance of every shift when playing limited fourth-line minutes.

"Can’t turn the puck over at the blue line, you’ve got to get it in, you’ve got to get scoring chances," the 21-year-old said after morning skate. "Just do everything right, you can’t mess up, but you can’t be afraid to mess up. Try things and keep working.”

Bunnaman worked hard and well to earn his first career NHL goal during the second period. He smartly chipped the puck into the offensive zone, allowing the Flyers to gain possession. The sequence finished with Bunnaman being credited for a goal deflected in front of the net as Mark Friedman also notched his first career NHL point.

The positive work by the fourth line and third defensive pairing trimmed the Flyers' deficit to only one at second intermission.

• The first period nearly turned into a disaster for the Flyers. After the team fell behind, 2-0, Konecny (blocked shot) and Scott Laughton (high-sticked) both went up the tunnel toward the dressing room banged up within a 52-second span.

Fortunately for the Flyers, Konecny raced right back to the ice for a four-minute power play to notch a primary assist on Kevin Hayes' goal just 1:14 after Konecny's brief exit.

Laughton came back out for the second period, when the game got only crazier.

• Phillies manager Joe Girardi was in the house for the game.

• The Flyers play their 10th back-to-back set out of 17 when they visit the Blues Wednesday (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN) and host the Canadiens Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers vs. Bruins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Bruins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Alain Vigneault's team will change things up a bit as it takes on another challenge at the Wells Fargo Center.

After hosting the Capitals and Lightning, the Flyers (23-16-6) welcome the Bruins (27-8-11) Monday. 

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• Connor Bunnaman is the latest to get a crack at fourth-line center.

The Flyers have tried just about every player and combination within their bottom six, especially on the fourth line.

Because of injuries and inconsistency, the Flyers are still searching for their desired depth 45 games into the season. That search could heat up externally as the Feb. 24 trade deadline gets closer.

“I think what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to give some players an opportunity to show that they can play in the NHL, and they can perform and help a team, and contribute to a team winning," Vigneault said Monday after morning skate. "We’ve given a couple of guys some looks, we’re going to continue until we find the right guys that are going to be a part of that winning formula, so that we have success. That’s where we are right now."

Near the end of training camp and the preseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher was high on Bunnaman's ability at fourth-line center. The 21-year-old opened 2019-20 with the big club, was sent down to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley after four games and then missed a month because of a high ankle sprain.

As he's gotten healthier, the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has played better, putting up three goals and an assist in his last four games for Scott Gordon's Phantoms.

"For the last week there, Scott had been happy with his play, so he gives us skating ability, he gives us size in the middle and hopefully he can make the right decisions with the puck,” Vigneault said.

Bunnaman will try to be noticeable in limited minutes.

You’re not out there a lot, you’re 100 percent, you’re not as tired going out for another shift — kind of think of it that way, a positive way.

It’s important to make sure you’re not just another jersey out there getting lost.

• Vigneault has shaken up his lines considerably with the Bruins coming to town. Boston, which is tied with the Capitals and Blues for the NHL's most points (65), features one of hockey's best lines in Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak leads the league in goals (35) and is fourth in points (65), while Marchand is right behind him (62). The trio is a combined plus-47.

The Flyers will rely heavily on Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen, along with their reshaped top-two lines.

“I’m sure a lot of teams have tried shutting them down — both their top two guys have got over 60 points, it’s not an easy task," Vigneault said. "We’re probably going to need two lines that are going to permit us to do that. That’s also part of shuffling some of the lines. I’m hoping we can get two lines. Nisky and Provy have been pretty good facing the challenge of top performers. It’s going to be a good test for us."

• Carter Hart is 3-0-0 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in three career games against the Bruins.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Joel Farabee-Connor Bunnaman-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Mark Friedman

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Flyers pick up wild shootout win over Bruins, deliver early statement by sweeping back-to-back road set

Flyers pick up wild shootout win over Bruins, deliver early statement by sweeping back-to-back road set

BOX SCORE

Talk about guts.

This weekend was going to require some serious resolve and the Flyers showed just how different they might be in 2019-20.

Alain Vigneault's team swept a back-to-back road set in Toronto and Boston after picking up another heart-stopping victory, this one a 3-2 shootout decision Sunday night over the Bruins at TD Garden.

Joel Farabee scored the lone tally in the skills competition as the Flyers went to the shootout for the fifth time this season. In 2018-19, the Flyers went to the shootout only four times.

The Flyers (10-5-2) have a season-best four-game winning streak, six-game point streak and are 8-2-1 since Oct. 21. The team's 10 wins through 17 games marks the quickest it has reached double-digit victories in a season since 2011-12, when the Flyers started 10-4-3 and last won a playoff series.

Prior to the loss, the Bruins (11-3-3) were scoring 4.13 goals per game at home and had won seven of their first eight games at TD Garden.

• This was a statement weekend for the Flyers. The Maple Leafs can absolutely blitz teams at home and the Bruins are as scary as any NHL club right now.

For the Flyers to grab early leads, hold off late surges and win two games after regulation on the road like that says a lot.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Kevin Hayes went scoreless over the weekend and the Flyers still pulled off the back-to-back wins. That's a major positive.

• Carter Hart was spectacular in turning away Boston late in the third period, when the Bruins were furiously pushing. Boston, with the NHL's best power play, went on the man advantage with 3:20 left but Hart kept it at bay. He also denied David Pastrnak on a penalty shot. Hart stayed focus despite the Bruins erasing the Flyers' 2-0 lead in the final stanza.

The 21-year-old is 3-0-0 in three career games against Boston. He is also 4-0-0 with 104 saves on 112 shots over his last four starts. It's safe to say the kid has his confidence back.

• Pastrnak had not gone scoreless in a home game this season, with 17 points in eight contests at TD Garden.

The Flyers held him scoreless.

• Ever since the season opener in Prague, Czech Republic, there has been no slowing down Travis Konecny.

The 22-year-old dynamo delivered his fourth multi-point game with a goal and an assist. With eight goals and 11 assists, Konecny has more points than Mark Scheifele, Artemi Panarin, Sidney Crosby, Johnny Gaudreau, Mitchell Marner and Patrice Bergeron.

Konecny has scored in 14 of the Flyers' 17 games. It's the most consistent we've seen him as a pro (see story).

 

• Good stuff from the Flyers in the discipline department. 

The Bruins entered with 12 man advantage goals at home, more than what 17 NHL teams had overall on the power play. The Flyers needed to stay out of the penalty box in Boston and, for the most part, they did, committing just two penalties. Over their last three games, the Flyers have allowed the opposition only five power play opportunities.

That's one way to improve your penalty kill — not use it as much.

• The Flyers are starting to jump on teams in the first 20 minutes, which is refreshing considering all the sluggish starts to games that plagued the team in recent years past.

Last season, the Flyers were forced to constantly play from behind. They allowed the NHL's second-most first-period goals (94) and finished with a minus-31 goal differential during the opening stanza.

Over their last four games, the Flyers have outscored the opposition 6-0 in the first period. Setting the tone has helped the Flyers dictate pace and play Vigneault's style.

• Sean Couturier had two assists and was a plus-2 in a tough matchup.

• Philippe Myers has put up three goals in the last three games — all in the first period. His mobility and offense from the blue line have been fun to watch. He also saved a goal in the third period.

What a superb start for the 22-year-old, who has three goals, four points and a plus-7 rating in six games since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

 

• The Flyers are off Monday and practice Tuesday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before welcoming the Capitals Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN).

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