Bruins overtaken by rallying Flyers
Just a little off.
Like Marc Savard, the backchecker in the slot, turning his head a hair too late to get a stick or body on James van Riemsdyk in the third period.
Like Blake Wheeler, out to challenge Kimmo Timonen at the point, getting only a piece of his glove on the defenseman’s shot.
Like Derek Morris, rimming the puck into the offensive zone in the final minute while one of his teammates was still scrambling to tag up at the blue line.
But all those little mistakes, especially when they take place in the third period, can come back to swing a big-time boot in the Bruins’ rear. Even against a struggling club such as the Flyers.
“They were pushing,’’ said Tim Thomas, who saw 15 pucks in the third period. “They’re a desperate team. They’ve been struggling a lot lately. They’ve been talking about turning it around. They’ve got a new coach. We knew they were going to push hard. It’s our job to match that, push for push. We weren’t able to.’’
Down, 1-0, in the third to a Boston club that had gone 9-0 when leading after 40 minutes, the Flyers rallied for three unan swered goals to swipe a 3-1 win before 17,565 at TD Garden last night.
“The third period was a meltdown,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “That’s when we collapsed.’’
The Flyers tied the score after winning three straight battles in the Boston zone. First, Jon Kalinski chased down a dump-in behind the Boston net and pushed the puck to Arron Asham. Before Andrew Ference could challenge for the puck, Asham whipped a pass in front to van Riemsdyk, who had found a seam in the slot behind Savard. Just as Savard turned and Johnny Boychuk raced forward to get in van Riemsdyk’s face, the rookie elevated a shot over Thomas at 2:48, tying the scored at 1-1.
The Flyers scored the decisive goal when Timonen, set up just inside the blue line, received a pass from Kalinski. As Timonen wound up, Wheeler attempted to get in front of the shot. But Timonen’s blast skimmed off Wheeler’s right glove, changed direction, and sailed past Thomas at 10:28.
“A shot and a deflection, and I picked it up late,’’ said Thomas, who had 35 saves. “From that far away, you’d like to be able to find it and get it. I wasn’t able to.’’
The Bruins had a chance to tie when Scott Hartnell was sent off for high-sticking Mark Recchi with 1:03 remaining. Julien pulled Thomas to make it a six-on-four power play. But Patrice Bergeron, the team’s best draw man, lost an offensive-zone faceoff to Jeff Carter. The Bruins would regain possession, but David Krejci, manning the left point, couldn’t keep the puck from dribbling over the blue line.
Krejci retrieved the puck in the neutral zone and gave it to Morris, who tried to blast it back into the offensive zone. But Chris Pronger stepped in front of Morris’s dump-in, forcing Recchi and Zdeno Chara, who had barreled into the zone, to curl back and tag up. Morris, however, sent a follow-up around the boards before Recchi could skate out of the zone. Timonen recovered the puck deep in the Philadelphia zone and winged a long-distance shot into the empty net at 19:19, sending the Garden fans scurrying for the exits.
“We’re still concerned about it,’’ Savard, on the ice for all three Philadelphia goals, said of the loss. “We don’t like to lose two in a row around here. That’s kind of been our slogan since Claude’s been here. This one stings. We want to be better and we’ve got to show it out on the ice. We can’t just throw our sticks out there. We’re not that good a team.’’
The Bruins had a 1-0 lead after 40 minutes thanks to Vladimir Sobotka, who probably should have been credited with two goals. Officially, Sobotka, centering the fourth line after serving mostly as Krejci’s left wing, got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 1:28 remaining in the second period. Shawn Thornton started the play by carrying the puck down the left wing, wheeling around the net, then throwing a pass out front. Sobotka, stationed in the slot, got enough of his blade on the puck to deflect a shot past Brian Boucher (26 saves) at 18:32.