Boston Bruins

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

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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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Flyers at Bruins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Bruins: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers are looking to notch their longest winning streak of 2019-20 at four games and extend their season-best point streak to six games.

Doing so won't be easy because the Flyers (9-5-2) are in Boston Sunday night to play the Bruins (11-3-2).

Let's get into the essentials:

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

• The Flyers are playing their fourth back-to-back set out of 17 this season. So far, the Flyers are 0-2-1 in the second game of such situations and have been outscored 14-9.

However, there are positives going into Sunday: the Flyers are coming off arguably their best win of the season, a 3-2 shootout decision Saturday over the Maple Leafs, while Carter Hart enters TD Garden rested and confident.

The 21-year-old goalie is 3-0-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .929 save percentage over his last three starts. Hart beat the Bruins twice last season with 62 saves on 67 shots.

• The Bruins can be a nightmare to play against in Boston. They're 7-0-1 at TD Garden and have allowed the NHL's fewest goals per game at home (1.75), while scoring the second most (4.13).

Boston owns the league's best power play and has 12 man advantage goals at home. That is more than what 17 NHL teams have on the power play overall.

David Pastrnak, who leads the league with 1.88 points per game (15 goals, 15 assists in 16 games), has nine power play markers. That is more than what nine NHL teams have on the power play.

The Bruins, who will start Jaroslav Halak in net, are on a two-game losing streak and haven't lost three games in a row since March 10-14 of last season.

• Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk have combined for 10 goals, 16 assists and a plus-16 rating over the last 10 games.

• Going back to last season, Oskar Lindblom has 12 goals in his last 21 games.

Projected lineup

Forwards

James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Joel Farabee
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
Carsen Twarynski-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Carsen Twarynski does it again, German Rubtsov's faceoffs, more on Flyers' preseason loss to Bruins

Carsen Twarynski does it again, German Rubtsov's faceoffs, more on Flyers' preseason loss to Bruins

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The Flyers suffered their second overtime loss of the preseason Monday night with a 4-3 decision to the Bruins at TD Garden.

The team has lost four of its five exhibition games thus far and has two remaining.

"This is my 16th or 17th full season, I don't remember one of my preseason records," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said with a smile last Saturday. "You do want, though, the good feeling of winning. I'll give you that one."

There were plenty of more positives over the past two outings compared to the first three.

"I expect a set of cuts after the Monday game and then that will probably leave us with just a couple of decisions after the New York game, before going to Europe," Vigneault said Sunday.

Let's get into observations from the fifth game:

• Think Carsen Twarynski wants that roster spot?

A game after Vigneault called him the "best player on the ice," Twarynski scored another grind-it-out type of goal. He made a smart dump and chase and then wreaked havoc in front of the net to bat home the game-tying marker during the third period. His two goals over the past two games came on pure effort and he moves well for his size (6-2/206).

Twarynski knows exactly what the Flyers want and he's giving it to them.

• Kevin Hayes has been as advertised in three preseason games. The penalty kill prowess, the disruptive size, the puck protection.

He wants to be a one-two punch with Sean Couturier. The potential with the 27-year-old Hayes and 26-year-old Couturier is fun to picture.

• It's fair to wonder if German Rubtsov's faceoff abilities will impact his roster chances. Over his past three games, the 21-year-old center has lost 24 of 30 faceoffs.

Now, of course, performances in the circle are not everything as we saw last season with the Flyers, who led the league in faceoff percentage. That didn't prevent them from yielding the NHL's third-most goals per game at 3.41 and finishing with a minus-37 goal differential.

But it's something to keep an eye on with Rubtsov, who would be asked to kill penalties when faceoffs are crucial. He can play winger, as well.

• The hockey gods rewarded Connor Bunnaman for his effort with a go-ahead goal in the third period.

The 21-year-old has potential as a future depth forward and Vigneault recently said Bunnaman was one of the Flyers' "best conditioned athletes" in camp.

• Much of Vigneault's system is predicated on pinning the opposition in its own zone. One thing the Flyers can do more of this season is winning possession and creating offense behind the net. It's a great way to change the eyes of quality goalies and the Flyers did that in the first period on Travis Konecny's goal.

Couturier worked hard to put the Flyers in the offensive zone and a talented player like James van Riemsdyk did damage below the goal line. A good goaltender like Tuukka Rask had no chance.

• Andy Andreoff is a 28-year-old forward with positional versatility that the Flyers brought in on a one-way deal July 1. He had a productive 2018-19 with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch (26 goals, 29 assists) and was expected to compete for the Flyers' bottom-six jobs. However, he looks behind many of the Flyers' original internal options for those roster vacancies.

Andreoff has some skill and physicality, but he's been inconsistent and sloppy at times through three preseason games. During the second period Monday, he bobbled the puck as the Flyers were trying to transition up ice and then carelessly turned it over with a pass to the middle, giving the Bruins a scoring chance. Those are not the type of plays you want from a bottom-sixer.

He looked good early in camp, but games are the truest way to evaluate.

• Philippe Myers was better. He looked composed, made the simple pass, was tougher and broke up plays. A positive game from the 22-year-old defenseman.

• Brian Elliott played the full game and wasn't sharp with 18 saves on 22 shots. He tried to corral a rebound in overtime and it squeezed through his legs for the winning goal.

A few of the goals were tough ones for the 34-year-old, including David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand hooking up on a 2-on-1 during the middle period.

• Mark Friedman misplayed the Jakub Lauko goal in the first period as the Bruins' center played the puck to himself, but the Flyers weren't very good on that sequence overall. Nicolas Aube-Kubel flew by Lauko in the neutral zone and Rubtsov was a bit slow getting back.

• The Flyers will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before playing the Rangers Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m./no local broadcast).

The team flies out to Switzerland Friday ahead of its preseason finale next Monday against HC Lausanne (2 p.m./NBCSP+).

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