Travis Sanheim scored the game winning goal in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins for the first time this season, 3-2, on Monday night at TD Garden.
Brian Elliott (10-5-1, 2.92 goals-against average, .890 save percentage in 20 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots faced in the win for Philadelphia.
Boston goaltender, Dan Vladar (3-1-0, 2.25 goals-against average, .922 save percentage in four games played) made 29 saves on 32 shots against in the overtime loss.
The B’s fell to 19-10-6 (44 points) on the season and remained in command of 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Philly improved to 18-14-5 (41 points)– stuck in 5th in the same division.
The Bruins are now 5-0-1 against the Flyers this season.
The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), Tuukka Rask (upper body), John Moore (hip), Brandon Carlo (upper body) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) on Monday.
Halak was placed in the league’s COVID protocol due to a positive test as revealed by Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, in a media Zoom prior to Monday night’s game against the Flyers.
Meanwhile, Jake DeBrusk returned to the lineup for the first time since he was placed in COVID protocol on March 19th after Boston’s, 4-1, win in Buffalo on March 18th.
He told reporters via Zoom ahead of Monday night’s action that he had some symptoms, but “nothing too major” in addition to losing his taste and smell.
Cassidy made a few adjustments to his bottom-six forwards and defense, slotting DeBrusk in on the third line left wing with Charlie Coyle at center and Zach Senyshyn at right wing, while Sean Kuraly centered the fourth line, flanked by Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman.
Matt Grzelcyk remained paired with Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Jakub Zboril suited up with Steven Kampfer and Jeremy Lauzon was partnered with Connor Clifton on the blue line.
Anders Bjork, Chris Wagner, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Rask, Halak, Anton Blidh, Jarred Tinordi and Miller made up Boston’s list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and players that were already out due to injury against Philadelphia on Monday.
Earlier that day, Jeremy Swayman was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), while Jack Studnicka and Callum Booth were reassigned to Providence.
Swayman suited up as Vladar’s backup goaltender Monday night while Rask and Halak were both unavailable.
Midway through the opening frame, Travis Konecny (8) was in the right place at the right time while crashing the net to pound on a loose puck that had been deflected, taken a few wacky bounces and rebounded to Konecny for the game’s first goal.
Claude Giroux (19) and Ivan Provorov (13) tallied the assists on Konecny’s goal and the Flyers led, 1-0, at 10:15 of the first period.
Late in the first period, Zboril and Coyle forced a turnover in the attacking zone, whereby No. 13 in black and gold sent a quick pass across the high slot to Kuhlman (2) for the wrist shot over Elliott’s glove– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Coyle (6) had the only assist on Kuhlman’s goal at 17:33.
About a couple of minutes later, Shayne Gostisbehere tripped up McAvoy and was sent to the penalty box with a minor infraction at 19:18.
Boston’s power play would spill over into the middle frame as the Bruins weren’t able to convert on the skater advantage as the horn sounded for the first intermission.
Though the score was tied, 1-1, the Flyers led in shots on goal, 10-7, after one period of play.
Philadelphia also led in blocked shots (4-2), while Boston led in giveaways (4-2), hits (13-7) and faceoff win percentage (53-47). Both teams had one takeaway each after 20 minutes.
The B’s were 0/1 on the power play, while the Flyers had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the second period.
Patrice Bergeron (12) redirected a shot pass past Elliott from the slot to give Boston their first lead of the night, 2-1, with a power-play goal 46 seconds into the second period.
David Pastrnak (15) and Grzelcyk (10) tallied the assists on Bergeron’s goal, which helped the Bruins captain surpass Rick Middleton for the fourth most points in franchise history.
Bergeron has 364-535–899 totals in 1,124 career games (all with Boston), while Middleton had 402-496–898 totals with Boston from 1976-88. No. 37 in black in gold is now one point away from his 900th career point and would be the fourth Bruin in franchise history to reach at least 900 points with the club.
Phil Esposito (1,012 points) sits third in Boston’s all time scoring list with the club ahead of Bergeron, while Ray Bourque (1,506) and Johnny Bucyk (1,339) rank first and second overall, respectively.
Less than two minutes later, Lauzon was penalized for holding and cut a rut to the sin bin at 2:44, but Philly’s resulting power play was powerless despite Nolan Patrick’s efforts at drawing a penalty.
The Flyers got another chance on the skater advantage when Pastrnak hooked Nicolas Aube-Kubel at 5:46 of the second period.
Once again, however, Philadelphia failed to capitalize on the power play.
Midway through the middle frame, Justin Braun hooked Coyle and presented the B’s with another power play at 13:20, but Boston was not successful on their second skater advantage of the night.
Through 40 minutes of action on Monday, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 23-18, in shots on goal, including, 13-11, in the second period alone.
Philadelphia held the advantage in blocked shots (7-6), while Boston led in takeaways (4-1), giveaways (7-3), hits (18-17) and faceoff win% (57-43).
The Flyers were 0/2 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.
Lauzon was sent to the penalty box with a holding minor at 5:21 of the third period and the Flyers went to work on the power play.
About a minute later, Sean Couturier (11) tied the game on a shot from the faceoff dot that snuck through net front traffic and found its way over Vladar’s glove into the twine.
Provorov (14) and Kevin Hayes (14) tallied the assists on Couturier’s power-play goal as Philadelphia evened things up, 2-2, at 6:56.
At the horn, the Bruins and Flyers were tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard and, 28-28, in shots on goal, despite Boston outshooting Philadelphia, 10-5, in the third period alone.
Heading into overtime, the Bruins led in blocked shots (11-9), giveaways (8-7), hits (30-25) and faceoff win% (55-45), while both teams had five takeaways aside.
As there were no penalties called in the extra frame, Philly finished 1/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 1/2 on the power play on Monday.
Flyers head coach, Alain Vigneault, started Couturier, Konecny and Provorov in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Brad Marchand and McAvoy.
After a few quick line changes and end-to-end action, Sanheim blocked a shot from the point and scooped up the loose puck– generating speed and breaking past Bergeron while the B’s captain cut a rut in the ice and fell.
Sanheim (2) walked in all alone and scored on an unassisted effort, giving Philadelphia the, 3-2, victory at 3:08 of the overtime period.
At the final horn, the Flyers had won and finished the night leading in shots on goal, 32-29, including a, 4-1, advantage in overtime alone, despite trailing Boston in blocked shots (12-10), giveaways (8-7), hits (30-26) and faceoff win% (56-44).
The Bruins fell to 3-4 in overtime this season (6-6 past regulation), while the Flyers improved to 5-2 in overtime and 6-7 overall after 60 minutes.
Boston also dropped to 7-7-3 (4-5-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal in 2020-21, while Philadelphia improved to 12-4-3 (6-2-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal this season.
The B’s are now 5-4-2 (2-3-2 at home) when tied after the first period and 11-0-2 (7-0-2 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
Philly, in the meantime, is now 5-3-2 (4-2-1 on the road) when tied after one period and 4-12-1 (3-6-1 on the road) when trailing after two periods this season.
The Bruins wrapped up their seven-game homestand (3-2-2) and will begin a three-game road trip in Philadelphia on Tuesday before swinging through Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Philadelphia again on Saturday. Boston returns home next Sunday to host the Capitals to kick off a five-game homestand on April 11th.