Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, and Boston Bruins mascot, Blades the Bruin, might have shared the slopes on Saturday, but their two teams weren’t in much of a sharing mood on Sunday when Boston defeated Philadelphia in a lopsided, 7-3, victory outdoors by the 18th hole of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort.
David Pastrnak had a hat trick in the win for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask (7-2-1, 2.56 goals against average, .901 save percentage in 10 games played) made 16 saves on 19 shots against (.842 SV%) for the win on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
Flyers goaltender, Carter Hart (5-3-3, 3.68 GAA, .891 SV% in 11 games played) stopped 17 out of 23 shots faced for a .739 SV% before being replaced after two periods by Brian Elliott (3-1-0, 2.25 GAA, .928 SV% in six games played) in the loss.
Boston improved to 11-3-2 (24 points) on the season and remained in command of 1st place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philadelphia fell to 8-4-3 (19 points) overall, but stable in the division in 3rd place.
The B’s also improved to 5-1-0 on home ice this season– yes, they were designated as the home team despite playing at a neutral rink in Stateline, Nevada.
The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, on Saturday night after an eight-hour sunny weather delay melted sections of the ice– deeming the playing surface too unsafe for both players and on-ice officials after the first period ended around midday on Saturday.
The Avs and Golden Knights resumed play around midnight on the East Coast (9 p.m. local time Saturday) and finished the remaining 40 minutes of action unscathed.
It was the first outdoor win for Colorado (1-2-0) and the very first outdoor appearance for Vegas (0-1-0) in the first of two games as part of the National Hockey League’s 2021 Outdoors at Lake Tahoe weekend.
The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), David Krejci (lower body) and Kevan Miller (lower body) on Sunday.
As a result, Boston recalled Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Studnicka from the taxi squad and head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made several adjustments to his lineup.
Pastrnak was returned to his usual role on the first line right wing, having spent last Thursday’s, 3-2, loss at home to the New Jersey Devils on the second line with Krejci at center.
Craig Smith and Charlie Coyle moved up to the second line with Krejci out due to injury and Jake DeBrusk demoted to the third line comprised of Anders Bjork at left wing, Studnicka at center and DeBrusk on the right side.
Meanwhile, Nick Ritchie retained his role on the second line left wing.
Trent Frederic, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner were reunited on the fourth line.
On defense, Vaakanainen slid in on the left side of the second defensive pairing with Brandon Carlo as his partner and wearing an “A” as an alternate captain while Krejci is out of the lineup.
John Moore and Connor Clifton were paired on the third pairing, while Jeremy Lauzon and Charlie McAvoy remained as the top blue liners.
Kase, Krejci, Grzelcyk, Zboril, Karson Kuhlman, Miller, Greg McKegg, Steven Kampfer and Callum Booth were out of the lineup due to injury, being a healthy scratch and/or members of the taxi squad.
All injured Bruins, in fact, did not travel with the team for Sunday’s matchup with the Flyers at Lake Tahoe.
Several Flyers were also not in attendance, though the majority of them were in the league’s COVID protocol, including Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Justin Braun. Meanwhile, Morgan Frost was already on the injured reserve.
Pastrnak (7) opened the scoring 34 seconds into the first period after Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot in his own zone before sending Brad Marchand through the neutral zone with a pass that led to the two-on-one, one-timer opportunity for Pastrnak to rocket a shot past Hart.
Marchand (10) and Bergeron (12) tallied the assists on the game’s first goal as the Bruins took a, 1-0, lead less than a minute into Sunday’s action.
With the secondary assist on Pastrnak’s first goal of the game, Bergeron tied Bobby Orr for 5th place on Boston’s all time scoring list with 888 points in a Bruins uniform.
Meanwhile, Lauzon left the rink after just 34 seconds and later was ruled out for the rest of the night with an upper body injury as the Bruins would later confirm in a tweet during the first intermission.
Nearly six minutes into the opening frame, Joel Farabee (8) pounced on a puck that took a wild bounce off the endboards with enough juice to make it back into the slot while falling and fired it past Rask to tie the game, 1-1.
Sean Couturier (4) and James van Riemsdyk (12) notched the assists on Farabee’s goal at 6:41 of the first period.
In fact, van Riemsdyk’s secondary assist marked the 500th career NHL point for the 31-year-old New Jersey native.
By the end of the night, he had 502 career points– 208 in 343 games with the Flyers and 294 in 413 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs– as a result of his 1-2–3 totals in the loss.
Midway through the opening frame, Couturier tripped Marchand and was sent to the box with a minor infraction at 12:34.
Boston’s first chance on the power play did not go as well as they had hoped and resulted in a goal against in the vulnerable minute after special teams play.
Fresh out of the sin bin, Couturier (3) buried a loose puck from the low slot after McAvoy shattered his stick in the other end, then played catchup without a blade in his hands.
Kevin Hayes worked the puck to van Riemsdyk, but Rask made the initial save.
Hayes (8) and van Riemsdyk (13) still ended up grabbing the assists on Couturier’s goal as Philadelphia took their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 14:48.
Boston answered back in a hurry, however, when McAvoy (2) sent a blast from the point while Bergeron screened Hart in front of the net.
Marchand (11) and Clifton (1) tallied the assists on McAvoy’s goal at 15:27, as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2.
Entering the first intermission, the score was tied, 2-2, despite the Flyers holding an, 11-8, advantage in shots on goal.
Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-1), giveaways (1-0) and faceoff win percentage (58-42), while Philadelphia led in hits (13-8) after one period of action in Lake Tahoe.
Neither team had a takeaway, while the B’s were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame (Philly had yet to see time on the skater advantage).
Less than a minute into the second period, Pastrnak (8) added his second goal of the night after ripping a shot high over Hart’s glove on short side under the bar.
Ritchie (7) and Vaakanainen (1) picked up the assists as Boston took a, 3-2, lead 46 seconds into the second period.
Vaakanainen’s secondary assist marked the first point of his NHL career in just his eighth game.
Meanwhile, the Flyers were penalized for too many skaters on the ice at 6:17, but the B’s weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.
Late in the second period, Boston kicked off a flurry of goals when Coyle (3) unleashed a shot off the post, off the back of Hart and into the net to give the Bruins a two-goal lead at 16:14.
Smith (3) had the only assist on Coyle’s goal as the B’s led, 4-2, for less than a minute before Frederic (1) sniped a shot high-side side from about the faceoff circle to the left of the Philadelphia netminder to make it a three-goal lead.
Moore (1) and Clifton (2) tallied the assists on Frederic’s first career NHL goal and the Bruins led, 5-2, at 16:47.
After serving the bench minor for too many skaters, Andy Andreoff took out his frustrations after two quick goals against by delivering his stick to Kuraly’s face.
The Flyers forward spent two more minutes in the penalty box– this time with a roughing infraction at 16:47.
About a minute into the resulting power play, Ritchie (5) tipped in a shot from the point by Moore to give Boston a power-play goal and a, 6-2, lead on the scoreboard.
Moore (2) and Smith (4) notched the assists at 17:53 of the second period as Boston riffled three goals in about 90 seconds.
Less than a minute later, Bjork was penalized for holding and gave Philly a power play at 18:16 of the second period.
After 40 minutes of play lakeside, the Bruins led, 6-2, on the scoreboard and, 23-14, in shots on goal, including a, 15-3, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston also held the lead in blocked shots (13-6), takeaways (3-2), giveaways (5-3) and faceoff win% (59-41), while Philadelphia led in hits (22-13).
The Flyers were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.
Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, swapped goaltenders in the second intermission, replacing Hart with Elliott for the final period at Lake Tahoe.
Hart finished his night with six goals allowed on 23 shots, but in the process became the youngest goaltender to play in an outdoor NHL game at 22 years and 192 days old.
He beat Semyon Varlamov’s previous record of 22 years and 249 days back when Varlamov was the netminder for the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, Bjork cut another rut to the penalty box for hooking Flyers defender, Shayne Gostisbehere at 9:31 of the third period– presenting another power play opportunity for Philadelphia.
Philly didn’t have any luck on their second skater advantage of the evening, but as the saying goes “the third time’s a charm” as Carlo was assessed an interference minor when colliding with Travis Sanheim in front of the Boston net at 12:37.
This time the Flyers won the ensuing faceoff, worked the puck around the attacking zone before Hayes found van Riemsdyk in front of the net in the low slot whereby van Riemsdyk (8) inadvertently sent the puck off Vaakanainen and into the twine behind Rask while trying to make a no-look between the legs pass.
Hayes (9) and Ivan Provorov (6) picked up the assists on van Riemsdyk’s power-play goal and the Flyers trailed, 6-3, at 12:45 of the third period.
Late in the game, Pastrnak (9) completed his hat trick thanks to a one-timer goal from one knee on a pass from Studnicka at 17:04.
Studnicka (1) had the only assist on Pastrnak’s third goal of the game and the Bruins took a four-goal lead, 7-3, while Pastrnak picked up his 10th career hat trick, as well as his 2nd hat trick of the season and just the 2nd hat trick in an outdoor NHL game in league history.
Tyler Toffoli scored a hat trick for the Los Angeles Kings in their, 3-1, win over the Avalanche at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the first outdoor NHL hat trick in the 2020 Stadium Series game.
Pastrnak’s hat trick, meanwhile, was the first outdoor hat trick in Bruins franchise history and gave Boston an outdoor record tying seven goals as the B’s matched the same outcome of the New York Rangers’, 7-3, victory against the New Jersey Devils in a 2014 Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium.
The Rangers (four wins outside) are the only team with more outdoor wins than Boston (three) and Washington (three) as the Bruins picked up another outdoor victory over the Flyers at the final sound of the horn.
The Bruins finished the evening with a, 7-3, win on the scoreboard and a, 35-19, advantage in shots on goal.
Boston also wrapped up Sunday’s effort leading in blocked shots (16-8) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Philadelphia maintained the advantage in giveaways (6-5) and hits (31-23).
Both teams went 1/3 on the power play in the 60-minute effort.
The B’s improved to 7-1-0 (4-0-0 at home) when scoring first this season, while the Flyers fell to 3-3-1 (2-2-0 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21.
Boston also improved to 4-2-0 (2-1-0 at home) when tied after the first period and 6-0-0 (4-0-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia fell to 2-2-1 (1-1-1 on the road) when tied after the first period, as well as 0-3-0 (0-2-0 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.
The Bruins improved to 3-1-0 all time in outdoor NHL games, while the Flyers fell to 1-3-1 all time outside.
Boston and Philadelphia became the third pair of teams to face each other in an outdoor rematch (previous, Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh– 2017 Stadium Series and 2019 Stadium Series, as well as Detroit vs. Toronto– 2014 Winter Classic and 2017 Centennial Classic).
The B’s begin a three-game road trip on Long Island and in Manhattan with a meeting against the New York Islanders on Feb. 25th, as well as a pair of games against the New York Rangers to close out the month of February on the 26th and 28th.