Another lackadaisical and passionless effort from the Flyers resulted in another loss for Philly tonight as the Bruins edged out a 2-1 win. Brad Marchand’s power-play goal with three minutes and forty-three seconds left in regulation gave Boston their only lead of the night. Tim Thomas helped to shut down the Flyers tonight by saving twenty-seven of twenty-eight shots. The loss is the Flyers’ third in four games and drops Philly to 45-20-10 on the season.
The opening minutes saw a lot of action in the Flyers’ defensive zone. However, Kris Versteeg helped the Flyers get on the scoreboard first. As James van Riemsdyk hustled around the boards for a loose puck, it bounced out to the top of the slot where Mike Richards perfected a slap pass to Versteeg. Placing the puck in a wide open net from the bottom of the circle to the right of Thomas, Versteeg had his twentieth of the year and a 1-0 Flyers lead.
Just over five minutes later, Versteeg found himself in the penalty box for holding. The Bruins’ provided several chances, but they experienced their only powerplay on the night where they didn’t register a goal.
Under the two minute mark in the first period, Patrice Bergeron was sent to the sin bin for hooking Richards in the slot. The Flyers couldn’t increase their lead to two with their only powerplay on the night as the scored remained 1-0 Philly with twenty-two seconds left on the man advantage.
Although the shot count was even, the Flyers spent a majority of the first period in their defensive zone. After a Boston clear to open the period killed off the remaining time on the Philly powerplay, the Flyers had some of their best chances of the game. Continuing his strong performance, JVR presented a beautiful set up to Versteeg as he handed him the puck past the Boston defense for a breakaway. Thomas stoned Versteeg’s opportunity and kept it a one-goal game.
After the Flyers brief surge, the Bruins started dictating play leading to a Blair Betts penalty. With one of the Flyers best penalty killers in the box for tripping, the Bruins made the Flyers pay with the equalizing goal. Nathan Horton wasted no time on the man advantage slamming home a rebound on a Tomas Kaberle shot just four seconds into the powerplay.
The damage had been done, but Boston was not finished applying their hustle and forecheck. After Boston’s goal, the Bruins out shot the Flyers 9-2 for the remaining twelve minutes and twenty seconds in the second period. When one factors in one of the Flyers two shots was Richards just before the clock ran out, it’s easy to see how bad Boston was outplaying Philly.
Heading into the third period, the Flyers still had the opportunity to erase their mistakes and grab two points with the win. Unwilling to put forth any effort or caring, the Flyers spent much of the third not completing passes and turning the puck over their own defensive zone. A few chances arose, but none that really should have resulted in goals.
The Bruins, however, took full advantage of their big break in the final twenty minutes. As Richards was sent off to the box for high-sticking after Kaberle over exaggerated a stick that hit his chest, Marchand put in the Bruins’ second power-play goal on the evening. Putting home a Dennis Seidenberg rebound, Marchand gave his team a one-goal lead with three minutes and forty-three seconds left.
Unable to pull off what so many teams have done to them this season, the Flyers couldn’t post an extremely late game goal as they watched Boston skate to a 2-1 victory to clinch a playoff berth.
For the second time in three games, the Flyers played with no heart. With the exception of yesterday, when they played the lowly Islanders, the Flyers haven’t displayed much passion or hustle in games where they need to prove they can beat the opposition. It’s true the orange and black have already clinched a playoff spot, but losing games to potential playoff opponents results in nothing but a lack of confidence heading into April.
Brian Boucher did what was expected of him for most of the night, but two rebounds led to both of Boston’s goals. The plays weren’t necessarily his fault, but the defense and/or Boucher need to take blame for two goals that came on an open man in, or just outside of, the crease.
Notes: Versteeg’s goal gives the Flyers six 20-goal scorers; JVR has 19 goals and Ville Leino has 17. Thomas only allowed one goal in Philly this year; other game was a 3-0 shutout on December 1st. Matt Carle had four shots tonight, all of which were blocked. Claude Giroux had 4 of the Flyers’ 19 giveaways tonight; Boston had seven altogether. From the time of Horton’s goal til nine minutes into the third period, a span of twenty-one minutes and forty seconds, the Flyers were out shot 18-6. The Flyers went 1-3-0 against the Bruins in the 2010-2011 regular season and are now 11-7-0 against the Northeast division (BOS 1-3-0, MTL 3-1-0, BUF 2-1-0, TOR 3-1-0, OTT 2-1-0).