Sean Couturier scored the game-winning goal early in the third period Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center as the Philadelphia Flyers topped the Boston Bruins, 3-2.
Brian Elliott (11-5-1, 2.87 goals-against average, .894 save percentage in 21 games played) stopped 30 out of 32 shots faced in the win for the Flyers.
Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (2-1-0, 2.35 goals-against average, .929 save percentage in three games played) made 20 saves on 23 shots against in the loss.
Boston fell to 21-11-6 (48 points) on the season, but remained in 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philadelphia improved to 19-15-6 (44 points) and reclaimed 5th place in the division before the rest of the night’s action took place.
The Bruins finished their regular season series 6-1-1 against the Flyers.
Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his 36th game this season due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while John Moore (hip) remains out for the rest of the season after undergoing a hip arthroscopy and labral repair on March 22nd and is expected to recover in five to six months.
Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask (upper body) missed his 16th game this season due to an injury that he sustained against the New York Islanders on March 25th and is expected to return sometime next week.
Charlie McAvoy (upper body) missed his 3rd game due to an injury sustained on April 5th against the Flyers and may return to game action on Tuesday, while Brandon Carlo (upper body) missed his 15th game due to an injury sustained against Pittsburgh on April 1st.
Trent Frederic (non-COVID protocol related illness) missed his 2nd game of the season on Saturday, while Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) missed his 4th game due to being in league protocol.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Thursday night’s, 4-2, win in Washington, D.C. and informed reporters ahead of Saturday’s action that Kevan Miller would not play back-to-back games on Sunday.
Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players included Anders Bjork, Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Rask, Halak, Jack Ahcan, Callum Booth, McAvoy and Jarred Tinordi on Saturday afternoon.
Early in the action, Patrice Bergeron (16) scored from his usual spot in the bumper after catching a pass with his left skate and releasing the ensuing shot past Elliott on the stick side to give Boston a, 1-0, lead.
Craig Smith (13) and Brad Marchand (29) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s goal at 5:38 of the first period.
It was the only time the Bruins would lead all afternoon as midway through the first period, Travis Konecny (9) hit the back of the twine on an initial shot from the point by Robert Hagg that rebounded off of Swayman’s pad to the slot.
Hagg (2) and Travis Sanheim (10) had the assists on Konecny’s goal as the Flyers tied it, 1-1, at 11:51.
Late in the period, Jeremy Lauzon cut a rut to the penalty box for roughing, presenting Philly with their first power play of the afternoon at 17:31.
Philadelphia made quick work of the resulting skater advantage as Konecny fed Shayne Gostisbehere (7) for the redirection goal past Swayman’s blocker side while crashing the net to give the Flyers their first lead of the afternoon, 2-1.
Konecny (19) and James van Riemsdyk (19) had the assists on Gostisbehere’s power-play goal at 17:46 as the Flyers tallied two goals in a 5:55 span.
Entering the first intermission, Philadelphia led Boston, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite the Bruins holding an, 11-7, advantage in shots on goal.
The B’s also led in blocked shots (5-1), takeaways (2-1), hits (13-10) and faceoff win percentage (52-48) after one period of play, while both teams had two giveaways each through 20 minutes.
Philadelphia was 1/1 on the power play and Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
Matt Grzelcyk was not on the bench for the Bruins as the teams returned to the ice for the second period. Boston later tweeted that Grzelcyk sustained an upper body injury and would not return to the day’s action.
Cassidy told informers after the game that Grzelcyk is “day-to-day” in regards to whether or not he will suit up on Sunday night against the Washington Capitals.
Connor Clifton was sent to the sin bin for a holding infraction 52 seconds into the second period and this time– to the delight of Boston’s penalty kill– the Flyers weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play.
Especially since Nolan Patrick tripped Lauzon with 22 seconds remaining on Philadelphia’s skater advantage at 2:30.
The two clubs skated at 4-on-4 for about 22 seconds before the Bruins had an abbreviated 5-on-4 advantage.
Boston did not capitalize on their first power play of the afternoon, however.
Midway through the afternoon’s action, Sanheim was sent to the box for holding the stick of Bruins forward, Jake DeBrusk, at 9:06.
After generating momentum in the waning seconds of the ensuing power play, Boston caught Philly in the vulnerable minute after special teams action as defender, Steven Kampfer, pinched into the attacking zone along the boards, where he worked the puck to the high slot for Charlie Coyle to setup Smith at the goal line for a “tic-toc-goal” one-timer by DeBrusk (4) from the slot.
Smith (14) and Coyle (8) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal as the Bruins tied the game, 2-2, at 11:45 of the second period.
It was DeBrusk’s first goal since March 18th, though the young B’s winger missed a couple of weeks of action due to a bout with COVID.
Through two periods, the game was tied, 2-2, though the Bruins held the advantage in shots on goal, 22-14, including an, 11-7, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston led in blocked shots (10-7) and takeaways (4-2), while Philadelphia held the advantage in hits (17-16) and faceoff win% (57-43) after 40 minutes of action.
Both teams had six giveaways, while the Flyers were 1/2 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame of the game.
Philadelphia moved the rubber biscuit around the attacking zone with ease early in the final frame, leading to Boston’s defenders being out of position and Swayman playing aggressively in the crease to try to makeup for the defensive shortfalls.
Couturier (12) capitalized on Swayman having to dive across the crease on an ensuing play and slid the puck under the Bruins goaltender’s glove as a result to the Flyers a, 3-2, lead at 6:59 of the third period.
Joel Farabee (14) and van Riemsdyk (20) had the assists on what would become Couturier’s game-winning goal by the final horn.
Kevin Hayes cross checked David Pastrnak at 8:10 of the third period and presented Boston with a power play, but the Bruins could not convert on the skater advantage.
The B’s failed to score on yet another power play when Ivan Provorov tripped Pastrnak moments later at 11:45.
Gostisbehere thought he sent a puck off of Swayman’s glove and into the net for an insurance goal, but Boston used a coach’s challenge on the grounds that they believed Jakub Voracek had made incidental contact with their goaltender and therefore rendered the call on the ice obsolete.
Upon review, it was determined that, in fact, Voracek had clipped Swayman while skating through the crease and impeded on the B’s goaltender’s ability to make a save.
The call on the ice was reversed and there was no goal on the play.
The Flyers still led, 3-2, however and the Bruins couldn’t muster anything else past Elliott.
Boston pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with less than a minute to go and Cassidy used his timeout after a stoppage in play with nine seconds left on the game clock.
At the final, the Flyers had won, 3-2, despite finishing the afternoon trailing in shots on goal, 32-23.
Boston held the advantage in shots in the third period alone (10-9), blocked shots (17-15) and faceoff win% (51-49), while Philadelphia finished the afternoon leading in giveaways (11-7) and hits (24-20).
The Flyers went 1/2 and the Bruins went 0/4 on the power play on Saturday.
The B’s dropped to 14-4-3 (8-4-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal, 5-7-2 (2-5-2 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 5-5-3 (5-4-2 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.
Philly improved to 7-11-3 (3-6-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 9-1-1 (6-1-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 7-3-3 (3-2-2 at home) when tied after two periods in 2020-21.
The Bruins went 2-1-0 on their three-game road trip and venture back home to host the Washington Capitals on Sunday night– kicking off a five-game homestand in the process.