Mike Richards notched the deciding score with three seconds left in overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers past the Boston Bruins, 2-1, at TD Garden.
As time wound down in the extra session, Richards found a loose puck in the neutral zone and worked one-on-one with Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg towards the Boston net. As he cruised down the right wing, two more Flyers forwards joined the rush, but the Philadelphia captain whipped a wrister through Tim Thomas to end the contest.
“I just, you know, I just threw it back to the point and obviously, it was my fault there,” said Bruins forward Marc Savard on his gaffe that led to the game-winner. “I just thought [Dennis] Seidenberg was back there and he was in the middle more, so I just made a bad play.”
It was fitting that Richards notched the game-winner beyond regulation against a quality opponent.
The Flyers captain had a score wiped out the day after Thanksgiving in an eventual shootout loss to Calgary when Chris Pronger was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, then was one-tenth of a second away from winning the game on Wednesday against San Jose with his deflected shot.
James van Riemsdyk tallied late in the second period for the Flyers, who have won four of five and have earned a point in five straight games (4-0-1).
Brian Boucher stopped 35-of-36 shots to record his fourth win in five starts.
“Yeah, absolutely. For the fans this is a chance for them to get, you know…I felt like they wanted get back at us for what happened last year,” Boucher said about the home fans, who witnessed the Flyers’ comeback from an 0-3 series deficit in a Game 7 loss last May. “It definitely had that playoff feel. They got one there in the third, but we stayed with it and to get the two points in overtime was big.”
Nathan Horton lit the lamp midway through the third period for the Bruins, who had won four of five coming in. Thomas, who had blanked the Flyers in Philly on December 1, took the loss despite making 31 saves.
Following a scoreless first period which saw Thomas halt 10 shots and Boucher tame all nine thrown his way, things heated up in the second.
Bruins forward Adam McQuaid briefly left the game with an undisclosed injury at the 5:08 mark after being shoved into the end boards by Flyers forward Jody Shelley while chasing a puck behind Thomas.
“I’m alright. I’m sure I’ll be a little sore and a little stiff tomorrow, but not too bad,” said McQuaid. “They did a few tests and I got checked out and everything. I wanted to get back in there, so I was able to get back.”
Shelley received a major for boarding and a game misconduct, but the Bruins failed to capitalize during the lengthy power play. Horton hit the post and almost a half-dozen other Boston shots did not test Boucher.
Philly did take a 1-0 lead with 1:21 left in the second as van Riemsdyk gathered in a pass by Claude Giroux on a 3-on-2 and scored to the short side from the right circle. It snapped Thomas’ shutout string at 135:54 against Philadelphia.
“He played a hard skating game…he was involved in the offense,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette of the goal scorer, a second-year forward out of New Hampshire.
Horton finally solved Boucher at the 9:43 mark of the third period, as he found a loose puck at the outer edge of the right circle and roofed it for a 1-1 game.
Notes: The Flyers have won eight of the last 11 regular-season meetings over the Bruins in Boston…Boucher is a native of Woonsocket, Rhode Island and attended high-school hockey powerhouse Mount Saint Charles Academy before being a Flyers’ first- round draft choice in 1995…He has won his last three starts against the Bruins, including two straight in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals…Prior to the game, the Bruins were finally able to ship forward Marco Sturm to the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations. The deal was held off last week due to concerns over Sturm’s recovery from off-season knee surgery.