Scott Hartnell’s natural hat trick in the second period wasn’t enough for the Philadelphia Flyers, as they put up a great fight but fell to the Boston Bruins by a 6-5 count on Sunday evening thanks to Tyler Seguin’s shootout winner.
Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Seguin each registered a goal and an assist, while Adam McQuaid had two assists for Boston. Tim Thomas stopped 33 of the Flyers’ 38 shots and picked up an atypical win in the process.
Seguin notched the decisive goal in the shootout, as he undressed Ilya Bryzgalov before he slid the puck in between the goalie’s left skate and right post to end the second round.
Thomas then needed to make an easy blocker save on Wayne Simmonds to preserve the victory.
“On [Bryzgalov], I did want to go on his glove side. I saw [Krejci] go down and shoot there and I thought it was open. So, I just tried to make a couple more moves,” Seguin said about his attempt after the game.
Max Talbot was the only other Flyer to score, as he recorded a two-goal game, while Claude Giroux set up Hartnell three times and Kimmo Timonen had two assists in the loss. Bryzgalov made 32 saves in all, but failed to make his first save in the shootout this year as he allowed both Bruins’ shooters to score.
To start the game, Chris Kelly almost gave Boston the lead within the first ten seconds. Luckily for Bryzgalov, the shot went high and wide. Unfortunately for the Flyers, Bergeron didn’t miss on his chance later in the first minute when he redirected a Brad Marchand centering pass over Bryzgalov’s glove 50 seconds into the game.
That triggered the first bout of the day, as call-up Tom Sestito dropped the gloves with Lucic to try and shift the momentum in Philly’s favor. Sestito, with an inch and eight pounds on Lucic, took part in a long and even fight with the Bruins’ forward. The bout evidently gave the Flyers some jump.
Less than a minute later, a former Flyers defenseman helped his old mates. A Timonen pass off the boards in the neutral zone led way to a Talbot and Jakub Voracek 2-on-1 odd-man rush. Skating towards the bottom of the circles, Talbot fed a pass through the slot, where Dennis Seidenberg accidentally tipped the pass in between Thomas’ legs as he slid across the crease at 2:05.
After Voracek was sent to the box for a highly questionable tripping call in the neutral zone, Bergeron backhanded a pass from behind Philly’s net to Seguin at the bottom of the circles. Seguin roofed the puck for his 18th goal of the season 9:01 into the opening period for a 2-1 game.
Following the faceoff, Sestito lined up to nail Steven Kampfer behind Thomas’ net, but got the worst end of the exchange thanks to Kampfer’s hands going high on Sestito with no call.
Seconds later, Kampfer was laid out by Brayden Schenn in front of Thomas. Schenn then battled Kelly in the neutral zone, as the Bruins’ forward took offense to Schenn’s massive hit.
“I saw him coming around the net with his head down and I just kind of layed a shoulder into him,” Schenn said about the hit after the game. ”I was skating up the ice, I saw him kind of turn around and wanted to fight. That’s what teammates do and I guess it was a good fight.”
It was 3-1 for Boston thanks to a controversial non-call. Nathan Horton perfected a pick at the Flyers’ blue line which ensnared two Flyers, allowing Lucic to skate down the right wing one-on-one against Timonen and 0 rip a high shot home with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the first.
The lengthy list of calls and non-calls continued, as Bryzgalov was hit with a roughing minor after he responded to Marchand running into him after the whistle. After taking a Marchand elbow to the head, Bryzgalov stood up and started to swing at the Bruins’ pest.
“He sees clearly that I have the puck, there’s no rebounds. Nothing,” said Bryzgalov after the game. ”He should stop before. What’s the point of going right in front of me? Who knows?”
The Bruins entered the second period with a two-goal lead and led the shot count 15-10, while the Flyers out hit the Bruins 12-4. But then it turned into the Hartnell show.
Hartnell, who potted a pair of power-play goals yesterday, scored on the power play to cut the Flyers’ deficit to one goal 3:23 into the second period by ripping home a one-timer off a Giroux pass from the left circle.
He tied the game at before 7 1/2 minutes had elapsed by swatting a knuckling puck past Thomas from between the circles, and, after Jody Shelley dropped the gloves with Shawn Thornton, put the Flyers ahead with Lucic in the box by scoring in a similar manner as his first tally with 46.5 seconds remaining.
Though the faithful filled the ice with hats, in an unprecedented move, the mess from the collection caused the rest of the period to be tacked on to the start of the third.
Less than two minutes into the third period, some doubt crept in again when the visitors tied the game 4-4. Rich Peverley circled towards the Flyers’ blue line with the boards to his right before he threw a shot at Bryzgalov. With the goalie already committed, Krejci was able to squeeze his redirection home.
With the addition of an awkward goal, the Bruins’ had regained the lead and silenced a once raucous crowd. McQuaid and Daniel Paille criss-crossed behind the Flyers’ net before Paille provided a wrap around attempt at the right post. The puck slid through the crease, where Campbell fell down and had the puck hit off the blade of his stick and go between Bryz’s five-hole for a Bruins’ 5-4 advantage 4:59 in.
Peter Laviolette used his timeout to calm down the Flyers following Campbell’s goal, but it took a while to pay off.
Halfway through the period, Hartnell and Thornton engaged in extracurricular activities after the whistle to give the Flyers a beneficial power play. Following an awkward play in Thomas’ crease, Hartnell laid out Kelly before the refs blew the whistle for some unknown reason. In an attempt to get Hartnell off the ice, Thornton instantly dropped his gloves and instigated a fight. Hartnell was called for charging, but Thornton was hit with interference and roughing minors.
Talbot then scored his second goal of the game 10:38 into the third period and it was 5-5. In addition to providing a screen, Talbot was able to deflect a rising Matt Carle shot from the right point over Thomas’ glove and underneath the crossbar for his 12th goal of the season.
Two more power-play chances fell by the wayside, and the Orange and Black survived a 4-on-3 in overtime after Timonen tackled Krejci in the slot.
Although they lost, the Flyers showed a lot of fight in a game that could have easily become another blowout at the hands of the Bruins. After they allowed a goal in the first minute, trailed 3-1 after one period, and were down 5-4 in the third period, the Flyers kept fighting to earn a point against a team they haven’t beaten at home since 2009.
Besides Hartnell’s performance, Brayden Schenn turned in his best game as a Flyer to date.
“That’s Schenner’s game,” said Hartnell. “He’s a strong body on the puck, he’s hard to get it off, he’s smart. You know he’s got his head up when he has the puck traveling wide, things like that. Good defensively, so I think he was a good part of our line to get chances and to get after him. He played really strong tonight.”
The rookie played extremely physical hockey, as he had six hits and his first fight in the NHL to help the Flyers’ abuse one of the tougher teams in the league. He also had two shots in a plus-1 performance.
Hartnell also talked about what it meant to him to have a game like this in front of his dad, Bill.
“To see the smile on his face afterwards is special for me, obviously. He’s probably watched a thousand or 1,500 games that I’ve played, traveled around Western Canada growing up and watched every game on the NHL Network. To have him here and have a good game personally is pretty nice.”
Notes: Including the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Flyers have lost seven straight games to the Bruins in Philadelphia annd have lost 11 of 12 games overall…Hartnell recorded his sixth career hat trick today, his fifth as a Flyer. It’s his second career natural hat trick, the 13th in club history and the first to take place entirely in one period since Mikael Renberg scored three in the third period at San Jose on February 15, 1994…This is the first time Hartnell has recorded consecutive multi-goal performances…Giroux posted his first three-or-more point game since his one goal, three assist night in Dallas on December 21…It’s the first time he has posted three assists in a period since he had three in the second period against the Sabres on December 7…Giroux is now second overall in scoring with 55 points (18G, 37A)…The Flyers recorded 39 hits today, the second most for any game all season, next to the 41 on January 2…The Flyers have posted 35 or more shots in eight of their last 10 games…Shelley’s fight in the second period gave him 1,501 PIMs for his career…Sestito was minus-1 and registered five PIM in his fourth game with the Flyers this season..This was Talbot’s first multi-goal game since Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals…With the secondary assist on Talbot’s goal in the first period, Bryzgalov registered his first point of the season…The Flyers dropped to 1-1-1 against the Bruins and to 8-3-1 (BOS 1-1-1, OTT 2-1-0, TOR 1-0-0, MTL 2-1-0, BUF 2-0-0) against the Northeast Division this season…The Flyers dropped to 28-14-5. They were 31-11-5 after 47 games last season.