PHILADELPHIA - Cool heads and hot hands added up to an impressive 60 minutes last night for the Bruins, a 6-3 win over the Flyers paced by a pair of Glen Murray goals, 4 points by Marc Savard (1-3 -4), and the continued solid work of rookie Tuukka Rask in net.
But what's a night with the Flyers if not at least a little sordid and controversial?
A month after Patrice Bergeron was felled by a menacing, cheap hit by Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones, the Bruins saw defenseman Andrew Alberts get blasted into the boards by a Scott Hartnell cheap shot late in the second period. The hit, delivered while Alberts was defenseless and on his knees while attempting to play a puck near the left sideboards, dropped the big defenseman face-first on the ice for some 2-3 minutes before he was led to the dressing room, propped up at the elbows by teammates Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara.
The Bruins offered little information about the 26-year-old Alberts, other than to say he would be evaluated today in Boston. Alberts, whose head banged hard against the top of the dasher, may have suffered at least a slight concussion - but not the severe kind Bergeron sustained when he was knocked headfirst into the Garden boards Oct. 27.
Making his way quickly down a
Coach Claude Julien also deflected a number of questions about the hit on Alberts, who is one of the club's top four backliners.
"He's OK, and that's about all I can tell you," said Julien, shaking his head. "The doctors will check him out."
Hartnell was tossed out of the game, tagged with a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Asked if Chiarelli would take up the hit with league headquarters, Julien said it is his belief that the league will review it without the Bruins having to file a formal complaint.
The Bruins remain disturbed that Jones, whose hit may have ended Berge ron's season, received only a two-game suspension.
"I don't have any comment," said veteran Boston defenseman Aaron Ward. "The end result is that we won the game. Obviously, it will be handled above us."
Earlier in the evening, Ward made a statement of his own when he went after 6-foot-3-inch Ben Eager when the rugged Philly winger slammed hard into Chara. The towering Chara fell to the ice from the hit, which Chara called "right at the edge of being a hit from behind."
Furious, Ward chased Eager toward the Boston bench, wrapped him in a headlock and dropped him to the ice. It looked as if Ward repeatedly dealt Eager shots while the two of them were down on the ice, Ward with the obvious advantage.
"It's been our mantra here from the start," said Ward. "We have to stick together."
The rough stuff overshadowed the fact that the Bruins, starved for goals much of this season, broke out with a relative scoring bonanza. They shot early and often, rolling up a 32-23 shot edge for the night. Murray opened the barrage with his first of two strikes, connecting at 4:06 of the first, and Savard then rocketed in a slapper at 7:34 for the 2-0 lead.
Murray was back again at 1:43, ripping in another that proved to be the final shot that starting goalie Martin Biron (14 shots/11 saves) would face. He was relieved by Antero Niittymaki. And less than six minutes later, Glen Metropolit bumped up the lead to 4-0 when he fired in a shot from the slot off the rush, set up by a delicate drop pass by winger Chuck Kobasew.
"We've been shooting more, but finally, a few went in," said Savard, whose slapper carried a bit of poetic justice, his shot ticking off Jones's stick before it went by Biron. "We're getting pucks to the net more, thankfully, and we weren't doing that earlier this year."
Peter Schaefer and Kobasew (empty net) also scored for the Bruins. Mike Knuble, Mike Richards, and Scottie Upshall all scored for the Flyers.
Icing a hand that had been slashed, a stoic Chara also deflected any characterization of Philly's play, saying, "I don't know. We won the game and got the 2 points. That's all that matters."