Boston Bruins

Flyers bury their Boston nightmares, push win streak to 6 games

Flyers bury their Boston nightmares, push win streak to 6 games

BOSTON — That’s one way to wash out the bad taste of Boston.

Coming into Thursday night’s game, the Flyers had managed just one win in their last 10 games at TD Garden. 

The Bruins, who had dropped four of their last five on home ice, appeared hungry to right some recent wrongs, so nobody would have blamed the Flyers if they were content to pack up their one point and take it back to Philadelphia for the start of a five-game homestead.

It hasn’t been how many the Flyers have lost here recently, but how they’ve lost them.

Two years ago, Drew Stafford flipped in a fluke shot off Brandon Manning’s stick that beat Steve Mason with six seconds remaining in regulation.

But wait, it gets worse.

The season opener in 2014, Mason used his blocker to stop a shot that went straight up in the air before Chris Kelly bat home the rebound in the final two minutes for a 2-1 Boston victory.

And then there was the disappointment of all disappointments on March 7, 2015. With the Bruins down a score, Brad Marchand scored the game-tying goal with 15 seconds remaining in the third period and then punctuated the pain with the game-winner in overtime. It killed the Flyers' psyche as they never recovered and missed the playoffs that season. 

To this day, it still lingers.

“Yeah, it’s funny you say that. There was about five minutes left in this game and I kind of had a flashback when they scored twice with a minute left,” Claude Giroux said. “Those were games that we needed, but guys battled [tonight].”  

Of course, none of that history really matters to a coach or a goaltender who have never experienced losing in this building. Give up a power-play goal in the opening three minutes and get over it, which is precisely what the Flyers did on this night en route to a 3-2 overtime victory (see observations).

“That has to be the best game we’ve played,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “A little bit of a slow start but nothing we can’t recover from.”

Like a pot full of chili on a cold winter night, the Flyers' six-game winning streak has had just about everything in it. The first two games featured comebacks from 2-0 deficits. Huge performances from a pair of goalies who weren’t with this team when the season started. And in Boston, the league’s worst power play got the job done in overtime, when the Flyers had dropped their previous five in OT.

“That’s huge for us,” Carter Hart, who won his fifth straight game, said. “I think that was the best, full complete game I’ve seen us play.” 

Now, we can say this Flyers winning streak has some real teeth to it. It’s coming together at a time when things appeared to be falling apart. 

“I think it’s confidence,” Giroux said. “I think when you get a couple of wins, you start feeling better about yourself.”

That’s two wins against a quality Boston team in the past 16 days. Afterward, Jakub Voracek held off showering while he patiently waited for David Pastrnak, his fellow countryman, to meet him outside the locker room. 

Except Pastrnak never showed. He took his two goals and went home for the night.

Right now, it seems even the big, bad Bruins want no part of this Flyers team.

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Flyers 3, Bruins 2: Comeback results in OT thriller, 6th straight win

Flyers 3, Bruins 2: Comeback results in OT thriller, 6th straight win

BOX SCORE

BOSTON — Make it six in a row.

The Flyers got a rare power-play goal in overtime to beat the Bruins, 3-2, Thursday night, as Travis Sanheim connected on the game-winner.

It’s the Flyers' first win in Boston since Oct. 21, 2015, having dropped their previous four at TD Garden.

Here are my observations:

• After Claude Giroux tripped up David Pastrnak, the Flyers quickly discovered taking penalties against this team would be highly detrimental. The Bruins came into this game with the second-best power play in the NHL and they proved why in the opening two minutes.

After nearly connecting on a cross-ice pass across the slot that Pastrnak couldn’t get his stick on, the Bruins capitalized roughly 15 seconds later. It was a pass that Oskar Lindblom was right there for but had his stick in the wrong place.

• When it's healthy, Boston’s line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is arguably the best in the NHL. Following Pastrnak’s second goal, giving the Bruins a 2-1 lead, that line had combined to score six consecutive goals for Boston. Pastrnak’s tip-in goal may have looked high but certainly below the cross bar.

• After being outshot in each of their five games during the winning streak, the Flyers appeared to be on the verge of that again throughout the first period as the Bruins were standing the Flyers up at the blue line. As a result, the Flyers couldn’t get pucks deep, they weren’t moving in unison and pucks were being thrown all over the place.

Interim head coach Scott Gordon made a few tweaks and the Flyers were much better in the second period, outshooting Boston 17-7.

• Another change for Gordon was a different look with his lines as Sean Couturier moved up to play alongside Giroux and James van Riemsdyk, and together that trio looked really good as it moved the puck well and created several second-period chances.

• After doing very little offensively in the opening period, the Flyers needed a break to go their way. And that’s exactly what they got when defenseman Charlie McAvoy had an easy look at the net, but instead missed it entirely, allowing the puck to rim around the boards.

The Flyers were thankful Jakub Voracek and Giroux were on the ice at the same time. Even when they’re not on the ice together, they still know where the other player is. 

• Gordon said there were a number of factors that went into the decision to go back to four forwards and a defenseman on the power play. Moving Voracek back to the half wall and switching personnel with Lindblom and Couturier swapping lines made Gordon look like a genius in the third period, when Lindblom scored the game-tying goal.

The Flyers' power play was 2 for 25 in the previous nine games.

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

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

BOSTON — Can the NHL’s hottest team keep it cooking in the ice-cold bitter conditions of Boston?

The Flyers (21-23-6) will shoot for a sixth straight win Thursday as they take on the Bruins (27-17-6), who currently occupy the first wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.

The Flyers enter this game 11 points behind the Blue Jackets for the second wild-card spot in the East with Columbus playing in Winnipeg.

Let's take a look at tonight's essentials:

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

• Since winning the 2011-12 season opener, it’s been a rough ride for the Flyers in Beantown. They’re 1-7-2 in their last 10 games at TD Garden and have been outscored 34-18. However, six of those 10 games have been decided by a single goal. 

Over the course of their five-game winning streak, the Flyers have been widely outshot by a 185-118 margin, an average of 37-24 per game (see story).

Apparently, being outshot seems to work for the Flyers this season. They’re 6-18-2 when they outshoot their opponent and 12-5-4 when they’ve been outshot by the opposition.  

Tuesday, Anthony Stolarz became the third different Flyers goaltender to post a shutout this season, joining Calvin Pickard and Brian Elliott. In their history, the Flyers have never had shutouts from four different goaltenders in the same season.

Have you checked out Stolarz’s new “Wrath of Gritty” inspired mask?

Stolarz gave the new look a thumbs-up after Thursday’s morning skate, but isn’t sure when the mask will be in circulation as it’s being shipped from Sweden.

Carter Hart can not only become the fourth Flyers goalie to post a shutout, but he will try to become the first goaltender under the age of 21 to win five consecutive starts since Montreal’s Carey Price reeled off seven straight wins in 2008.

To further exemplify Hart’s maturity in trying to block out distractions, the Flyers' rookie goaltender returned to Allentown to pick up some of his belongings that he had left there previously. Hart elected to keep his Sony PlayStation behind to keep the focus on hockey over the final months of the regular season.

Oskar Lindblom scored the Flyers' only goal just 1:40 into the game against the Rangers. Lindblom has been a strong contributor over the current five-game winning streak with two goals, two assists and a plus-7 rating.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbhere will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury. The Flyers were hopeful for Saturday’s game against the Oilers but interim head coach Scott Gordon said that doesn’t look realistic. With very little ice time since his injury, it appears "Ghost" may not be ready to return until next Thursday against the Kings.  

Gordon, a Brockton, Massachusetts, native, will be coaching his first NHL game in his hometown since Nov. 16, 2009, when he was behind the bench of the New York Islanders.

Tuukka Rask will return to the Bruins' net after missing one game with a concussion he suffered Jan. 19. With a win, Rask would become the Bruins' all-time wins leader with 253, surpassing Tiny Thompson, who backstopped the B’s from 1928-38. 

Rask said the best thing for his concussion was basking in the sun and doing nothing during his trip to the Caribbean over the bye week.

Projected lineup

Forwards
James van Riemsdyk-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Mikhail Vorobyev-Phil Varone

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Andrew MacDonald-Christian Folin
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas

Goalies
Carter Hart
Anthony Stolarz

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