Rask Blanks Flyers in Boston, Philly Loses Third Straight

Image courtesy of Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers played as well, if not better, than Boston for most of today’s game, but let things get away from them during a brief span in the first period to let the Bruins grab a 3-0 win.

Tuukka Rask stopped all 23 shots from the Flyers for his second shutout of the year, as the trio of Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly, and Daniel Paille beat Ilya Bryzgalov in a span of 2:18. Philly’s netminder made 25 stops, as the loss extended the Flyers’ losing streak to three games.

“I think I saw pretty much every puck,” Rask said after his shutout. “It’s never easy whenever you don’t see that much traffic. It’s kind of mentally tougher to stay sharp.”

On Thursday, the Flyers saw a perfect example of why you need to play 60 minutes to win. Unfortunately, on Saturday afternoon, Philly played outstanding for the majority of the contest with exception of a few minutes in the first period.

“When you get into a situation like that, one guy can’t lead you out of a 3-0 hole,” Peter Laviolette said after the defeat. “Everybody has to grab the rope and pull yourself out of a 3-0 hole, or out of three games under .500. That’s where we sit right now. We have to fight and make a stand for what we want here and today was not the answer.”

Both teams started the game with strong defensive play and physicality, as neither team put a shot on net until Danny Briere’s offering to Rask 6:13 into the contest.

Seguin opened the barrage, producing a rare Bruins’ power-play goal thanks to a great pass from Milan Lucic. David Krejci had possession of the puck near the top of the circle to Bryzgalov’s left and found Lucic at the bottom of the same circle. While moving towards the slot, Lucic spun counter-clockwise before he fed a backhanded pass to Seguin on the other side of the slot and he buried his eighth of the season.

Less than two minutes later Kelly beat Bryzgalov from the slot for his second of 2013 and a 2-0 Bruins lead.

Rich Peverley found Jordan Caron in the slot, but Caron couldn’t handle the pass, which resulted in the disc traveling into the corner to Bryzgalov’s right. Caron chased the loose puck down and chucked it to Kelly, who was skating into the slot and whipped one home with 6:32 left in the first stanza.

Paille scored 43 seconds after Kelly to cap the burst.

After Sean Couturier turned the puck over at the Flyers’ blue line, Shawn Thornton tossed the biscuit towards the boards to Bryzgalov’s left, where Gregory Campbell gained possession. Campbell hit Paille in the slot, and the former Buffalo Sabre slid a shot through the beleaguered Philly netminder’s five-hole for his fourth of the campaign.

The rest of the first period and the first half of the second period went by without much hustle or heart from the Flyers until a hit and scrap from Zac Rinaldo picked up the team.

Rinaldo flew into the corner to Rask’s right and laid out Johnny Boychuk legally, while the defenseman had his head down. Thornton stood up for his teammate and earned a decision over Rinaldo in a spirited bout with 8:55 left in the middle frame.

Philly didn’t provide too many scoring chances for the remainder of the second period, but the third period was where the Flyers had their best offensive opportunities.

After they posted 12 shots on net in the first 40 minutes of the tilt, the Orange and Black threw 11 shots at Rask in the game’s final period. The visitors cycled the puck well in the first few minutes of the stanza before the Bruins had a few chances on the counterattack.

One second before the seven-minute mark of the third period, Boston was called for a bench minor, as the hosts had too many skaters on the ice. On the man advantage, Philly had a pair of close scoring chances, as Scott Hartnell had a one-timer hit Rask up high and Jakub Voracek rang a chance off the post.

A few minutes after the Bruins’ bench minor finished, Caron entered the sin bin for his slash on Luke Schenn. With Peter Laviolette’s decision to call a timeout, the Flyers blitzed the Bruins with the man advantage.

Claude Giroux had a one-timer blocked in front of Rask and the Flyers swarmed the Bruins to force turnovers on several clearing attempts to keep the puck in the zone for the first 1:23 of the power play, but Philadelphia once again couldn’t find a way to beat Rask and Boston’s penalty kill.

As Caron exited the box, the final six minutes of the contest ticked off the clock to hand the Flyers their third straight loss.

Philly looks to snap out of its funk tomorrow night at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

Notes: The Flyers have now dropped three in a row for the third time this season, as they started the year 0-3-0 and also lost back-to-back-to-back games at the end of January and start of February…Andrej Meszaros returned to action today and had three shots on net, three hits, and three blocked shots in 17:28 of ice time. He missed 21 games, and the Flyers went 10-10-1 in his absence…The trio of Voracek, Giroux, and Kimmo Timonen had point streaks snapped in today’s loss. Voracek had a three-game point streak and two-game multi-point streak heading into today, while both Giroux and Timonen had a two-game point streak coming into today…Giroux, Voracek, and Wayne Simmonds each failed to record a shot on net today. It marks the second time in three games and the fifth time all season Giroux didn’t have a shot on net. For Voracek, it was the second time all season he didn’t have a shot on net, as he didn’t have a shot on net on February 12 against the Winnipeg Jets (he earned first star of the game with two assists). Simmonds didn’t have a shot on net for a second straight game and for the third time this year, as he didn’t have a shot on net in the game where John Erskine concussed him with an elbow to the head on February 1st…The Flyers fell to 3-10-1 when allowing the game’s first goal, and have been outscored 7-0 over their last five periods…The Flyers have allowed 12 goals against over the last three games. It’s the second time they’ve allowed 12 goals against or more in a three-game span this season, as they lost 5-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3, and lost 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in the middle of February…With the return of Meszaros, Bruno Gervais sat out. Mike Knuble, Tye McGinn, Jody Shelley, and Kurtis Foster were also scratched for the Flyers…Thornton was a goal shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick. He had the secondary assist on Paille’s goal and fought Rinaldo in the second period. His assist ended a 39-game stretch without a helper, which included five games in the 2012 postseason…The Flyers dropped to 0-1-0 against the Bruins this season and to 1-5-0 against the Northeast Division (BOS 0-1-0, MTL 0-1-0, TOR 0-2-0, OTT 1-0-0, BUF 0-1-0).