The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a three-goal lead and dismantled the Boston Bruins, 6-5, in a shootout on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.
Carter Hart (15-11-3 record, 2.61 goals against average, .905 save percentage in 32 games played) made 26 saves on 31 shots against for an .839 SV% in the win.
Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (10-4-6, 2.46 GAA, .920 SV% in 20 games played) stopped 34 out of 39 shots faced for an .872 SV% in the shootout loss.
Boston fell to 27-8-12 (66 points), but remained in command of the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, Philadelphia improved to 24-16-6 (54 points) and remained in 5th place in the Metropolitan Division.
The B’s also fell to 12-6-3 on the road this season.
Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Monday against the Flyers, while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 3-2, win in overtime against the Islanders in New York.
Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, skated in his 1,000th game with the club– becoming just the 6th player in franchise history to do so, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Don Sweeney, Wayne Cashman and current teammate, Patrice Bergeron.
Chara has played in 1,530 career NHL games with the Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Bruins.
Par Lindholm, David Backes and Steven Kampfer served as Boston’s healthy scratches in Philadelphia.
Anders Bjork (7) scored his first goal in nine games after sending the puck into the twine on a backhand shot while Hart dove paddle first to try to make a save.
Jake DeBrusk (12) had the only assist on Bjork’s goal at 4:15 of the first period and the Bruins led, 1-0.
Midway through the opening frame, Mark Friedman and Bjork got tangled up after a stoppage at 11:55. Each received minor penalties for roughing and the two side escaped the ensuing 4-on-4 action unharmed.
Late in the period, Michael Raffl tripped Bergeron and presented Boston with their first power play opportunity of the night at 15:30.
Almost 90 seconds into the resulting skater advantage, the Bruins capitalized on the power play after David Krejci (10) redirected a pass from Danton Heinen behind the Flyers goaltender.
Krejci’s goal extended the current franchise record for the most consecutive games with at least one power play goal to 14 and was assisted by Heinen (12) and Charlie Coyle (16) at 16:49.
The B’s led, 2-0, but not for long, however, as Bergeron caught Scott Laughton with a high stick at 18:00 of the first period and drew blood.
Bergeron’s infraction was upgraded to a high sticking double minor penalty and Philadelphia began a four-minute power play as a result.
The Flyers struck fast on the ensuing skater advantage when Kevin Hayes (14) rocked home a one-timer off the bar and in while Boston’s defense was out of position.
Hayes’ goal put Philly on the board and cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1, while Travis Konecny (25) and James van Riemsdyk (12) notched the assists at 18:22.
Entering the first intermission, the Bruins led the Flyers, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 14-12, in shots on goal.
Boston also held the advantage in hits (7-6) and faceoff win percentage (71-29) through 20 minutes of play, while Philadelphia led in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (3-2) and giveaways (4-1).
Both clubs were 1/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.
Less than a minute into the second period, David Pastrnak (36) drew the puck quickly to his backhand after receiving a break-in pass from Brad Marchand and slipped the rubber biscuit through Hart’s exposed five-hole to give the B’s another two-goal lead, 3-1.
Marchand (43) and Chara (9) had the assists on Pastrnak’s goal 33 seconds into the second period, but once more the Bruins couldn’t get too comfortable.
Less than a minute later, Travis Sanheim (6) sniped a wrist shot past Halak from just outside the high slot with traffic in front of the net to bring Philadelphia back to within one-goal at 1:12 of the second period.
Sean Couturier (25) and Jakub Voracek (27) tallied the assists on Sanheim’s first goal of the night and the Flyers trailed, 3-2, 39 seconds after Pastrnak scored for Boston.
A few minutes later, after Heinen sent a flawless pass to Coyle in the attacking zone, Coyle (9) ripped a shot over Hart’s glove and into the corner of the twine to give the Bruins another two-goal lead.
Heinen (13) and Brandon Carlo (10) had the assists on Coyle’s goal at 4:50 and the B’s led, 4-2.
Less than a few minutes later, Krejci (11) tallied his second goal of the night after Boston worked the puck deep before Bjork ultimately wrapped around the net and tossed a quick pass to the second line center for the one-timer over Hart while the Flyers goaltender dove from one side of the net to the other in desperation.
Bjork (7) and DeBrusk (13) were credited with the assists on Krejci’s goal and Boston led, 5-2, at 7:21.
For just the second time this season, however, the Bruins blew a three-goal lead as the rest of the game did not go as planned for Cassidy’s crew.
First, Chris Wagner was penalized for roughing Konecny after the whistle was blown on a play in the corner whereby Konecny made contact with Charlie McAvoy as both players were nowhere near the puck that some B’s players took offense to and responded accordingly in effort to stand up for their young blue liner.
Wagner was sent to the box at 9:02 and the Bruins killed off the minor infraction, but couldn’t quite escape the momentum that swayed into Philly’s hand.
Couturier (13) slipped a fluke goal through Halak’s five-hole on what became a recurring theme for the Boston netminder Monday night– soft goals.
Voracek (28) and Matt Niskanen (13) had the assists on Couturier’s goal at 13:12 and the Flyers trailed by two-goals once more, 5-3.
About a minute later, Friedman threw a shot towards the net that deflected off of Connor Bunnaman (1) and bounced off a Bruins defender before beating Halak and hitting the twine to bring Philadelphia to within one at 14:46.
Friedman (1) and Robert Hagg (5) had the assists on Bunnaman’s inadvertent first career NHL goal as Boston’s lead was cut to, 5-4.
After two periods of action in Philadelphia, the Bruins led the Flyers, 5-4, on the scoreboard, but trailed in shots on goal, 27-20.
Philly’s stronghold on the second period included a, 15-6, advantage in shots on net in the middle frame alone, as well as the lead in takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (7-5).
Boston, meanwhile, led in blocked shots (7-6) and faceoff win% (60-40) through two periods, while both teams had 19 hits aside.
The Flyers were 1/3 on the power play and the B’s were 1/1 on the skater advantage heading into the second intermission.
Niskanen interfered with Marchand 28 seconds into the third period, but Boston’s power play couldn’t muster the desired outcome of another power play goal.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, Joel Farabee and Torey Krug became entangled and received roughing minors at 12:30.
Just 28 seconds later, the Flyers got what they had wanted as Sanheim (7) scored his second goal of the game while Halak was helpless as his defense lacked in coverage.
Philippe Myers (11) and Couturier (26) tallied the assists on Sanheim’s game-tying goal and the score was even, 5-5, at 12:58 of the third period.
At the horn, the two teams were heading to overtime, tied, 5-5, on the scoreboard, despite the Flyers leading the Bruins, 35-28, in shots on goal.
Philadelphia notched the advantage in takeaways (7-3) and giveaways (9-7), while Boston led in blocked shots (15-8), hits (28-24) and faceoff win% (59-41)
As there were no penalties called past regulation, the Flyers finished 1/3 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/2 on the power play.
In overtime, Cassidy elected to start Bergeron, Pastrnak and John Moore, while Philadelhia’s head coach, Alain Vigneault, matched Boston’s starters with Couturier, Voracek and Ivan Provorov on the blue line.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the extra frame, despite the Flyers leading in shots on goal in overtime, 4-3.
At the horn the Flyers finished the evening leading in shots on goal (39-31) and giveaways (10-7), while the Bruins ended the night leading in blocked shots (19-10), hits (31-24) and faceoff win% (59-41).
Before both teams could vacate the ice, however, a shootout was needed to determine the winner of the extra point in the league standings.
Philadelphia chose to shoot first and sent out Hayes, but the veteran forward tried to go low with a forehand shot and was denied by Halak’s leg pad.
Boston retaliated with the NHL’s leading goal scorer in Pastrnak, but No. 88 in black and gold deked and tried to go backhand and was stopped by Hart with a pad save– leaving the first round of the shootout still even at, 0-0.
Next up for the Flyers was none other than Philly’s captain himself, Claude Giroux, as Giroux skated in on Halak– elevating a shot over the Bruins goaltender that rang the post and bounced off of Halak’s back and out.
Cassidy matched Vigneault’s second shooter with Coyle, but Coyle was denied by Hart with a glove save after the third line center sitckhandled and didn’t get enough on his shot to duplicate Giroux’s effort at elevating the puck.
Couturier was the first shooter of the third round and hit the post with a backhand shot that might had deflected off of Halak’s glove before catching the iron and going wide.
DeBrusk was Boston’s third choice in the shootout, but tried to go five-hole (a classic move for the B’s in shootouts this season) and was stoned by Hart with a predictable save.
Farabee had the chance to put the Flyers ahead with the first advantage in the shootout, but couldn’t get enough on a low-blocker side attempt as Halak turned the puck away.
Despite scoring two goals in the game, Krejci’s shootout attempt left more to be desired as the veteran Bruin tried to go short side on Hart with a close range backhand shot that the Philadelphia netminder stopped with his leg pad.
Finally, in the 5th round of the shootout, Konecny connected on a goal with a shot off the post and in behind Halak’s glove.
Boston had to score to continue the shootout or they would lose, so Cassidy sent out Marchand thinking the noted puck handler could get the job done and extended the already extended effort.
Marchand skated towards the puck at the center ice dot, barely scrapped the top of the vulcanized rubber with his stick and moved it a few inches from where an official had left it prior to the attempt and had his chance waved off by the refs as an official shot that did not reach the net.
The game ended on an untimely error that Marchand shrugged off in his postgame interview, whereas other players might have been too frustrated with themselves to speak or too embarrassed to show their face to reporters afterwards.
It’s one game. It was one attempt. It went wrong.
Unfortunately for the Bruins and their fans, it cost them the game.
But for the Flyers and the home crowd, Philadelphia had won, 6-5, in the shootout and handed Boston their 7th loss in a shootout this season.
The Flyers improved to 5-5 in shootouts, while the Bruins fell to 0-7 in the one-on-one– skater vs. goaltender mini-games.
Boston is now 3-12 past regulation this season as a result of the loss on Monday.
The Bruins fell to 18-6-8 when scoring the game’s first goal, 16-4-3 when leading after the first period and 14-0-6 when leading after two periods this season.
Boston concludes their three-game road trip (1-0-1) on Tuesday in Columbus before returning home for a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and Sunday. After the Bruins swing through Pittsburgh on Jan. 19th, the B’s finish their game action before the All-Star break with a home game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 21st.