Monday, November 26, 2007

Puzzling Flyers Drop Another Home Game

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Marc Savard's goal and three assists, and a pair of goals from Glen Murray paced Boston over Philadelphia, 6-3, at the Wachovia Center.

Glen Metropolit, Peter Schaefer and Chuck Kobasew also scored for the Bruins, who have won three of four. Zdeno Chara chipped in two helpers while Tuukka Rask needed just 20 saves to win his second NHL contest.

Mike Richards notched a goal and an assist for the Flyers, who have lost two of three. Mike Knuble and Scottie Upshall also hit the net.

Starter Martin Biron had a rough game, allowing three goals on 14 shots in almost 24 minutes of action. Antero Niittymaki surrendered two goals on 17 shots over the remainder of the contest to take the loss.

After beginning the season with six straight wins as the host, the Flyers have lost their last four home games by a combined 20-11 score.

"The whole team is just trying to figure out as the games progress, what's happening," Flyers head coach John Stevens said. "We go into Carolina and Ottawa playing like an underdog, and we come home and I don't know what happens."

This was the first meeting between the teams since October 27 in Boston, when Flyers defenseman Randy Jones leveled Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron with a hit from behind early in the game.

Jones was given a two-game suspension, while Bergeron is out indefinitely recovering from a broken nose and a Grade 3 concussion.

Things got ugly with 5:38 left in the second period, and the Flyers trailing 5-2, when Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts left the game after absorbing a hit at center ice. Alberts, who was kneeling near the boards, had his head driven into the dasher by Flyers forward Scott Hartnell's elbow and shoulder. Hartnell was given a major for boarding and a game misconduct.

"I don't know. I had a brief look at it among some other things between periods," said Stevens about the hit. "He looked like he was trying to let up and he didn't. It was kind of an awkward situation, and I'll have to take a longer look at it before I make any judgment."

Boston was unable to cash in on the five-minute power-play, but still led by three at intermission.

Upshall's wrister with a little more than four minutes gone in the third period made it a 5-3 contest. The goal was a power-play tally, as Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward was off for a tripping penalty.

The Flyers put an extra attacker on the ice with 1:33 to play. Despite a brief burst on Rask, the Bruins closed off passing and shooting lanes. Kobasew then hit the empty net with six seconds left to ice the victory.

Murray's fifth of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 4:06 into the contest, as he one-timed Savard's feed from the slot high and inside the left post.

Savard let one rip from the right circle and the puck deflected off Jones' stick and whizzed by Biron's glove, and Boston had a 2-0 edge at 7:34.

Murray's second of the game, a 45-foot laser from the right wing, got through Biron 1:43 into the second and the Flyers stared at a 3-0 hole for the second consecutive home contest.

Niittymaki entered the game nearly two minutes later to spell the embattled starter, but Boston continued to pour it on. Metropolit's knuckling shot from the low slot made it 4-0 at 7:35.

Knuble's power-play trickler midway through the period put the Flyers on the board, and Richards' blast from the bottom of the right circle in a 4-on-3 situation brought the home team back within two with 7:28 left in the stanza.

However, Schaefer banged home the rebound of Alberts' initial shot and the Bruins took a 5-2 lead just over a minute later.

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