Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feisty Flyers throw kitchen sink at Bruins, still come up short in shootout

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

While the headline won't do much to encapsulate all the drama and excitement at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon, the final analysis comes down to this: Tyler Seguin scored the winner in the shootout as Boston got past an injury-riddled Philadelphia Flyer squad, 6-5.

Seguin's decider came at the end of round two, when he forced Ilya Bryzgalov to the ice and slid a shot inside the right post. Tim Thomas then made a blocker save on a rather uninspired Wayne Simmonds chance to end the contest.

"Obviously, guys who go in shoot outs have different choices on what they are going to do or if they pick their move before. On [Ilya Bryzgalov], I did want to go on glove side," Seguins said of his shot choice. "I saw [David Krejci] go down and shoot there and I thought it was open. So, I just tried to make a couple more moves."

Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Seguin each posted a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who recovered from an overtime loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

Thomas won despite allowing an atypical five goals on 38 shots as the Northeast Division leaders forged a virtual tie atop the Eastern Conference standings with the Rangers.

Scott Hartnell recorded a hat trick and Claude Giroux added three assists for the Flyers, who had posted a road win against the Devils on Saturday.

Bryzgalov finished with 32 saves in the loss but acquitted himself well on back-to-back days against potential playoff foes.

"These were two very good two teams we played and it's a good two games because we got three points," Bryzgalov said about a successful weekend against the Devils and Bruins. "I think we played real well but unfortunately we couldn't win today. Lots of fights, goals, emotions."

Playing without regulars Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Chris Pronger due to concussions and Jaromir Jagr because of a groin injury, the hosts were able to erase the memory of an ugly 6-0 defeat to Boston on December 17, but still failed to earn a victory against the defending champs on friendly ice.

The Bruins have won five straight games in Philadelphia and nine of 10 here since November of 2007.

A feisty affair began when Boston netted the game's first goal at the 50-second mark as Bergeron backhanded a Brad Marchand centering attempt. Max Talbot equalized for the hosts at 2:05 when he tapped a Kimmo Timonen feed through Thomas' pads.

Despite surviving a Boston 5-on-3, the Flyers found themselves down 2-1 on another Bruins power play when Seguin stashed a Bergeron feed to the short side at 9:01.

It was 3-1 for the visitors when Lucic ripped a high shot home from the inner edge of the right circle with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first.

The scene was set for Hartnell, who teamed up with Giroux to get the Flyers back in the contest.

First, he cut the Philly deficit to one on the power play at 3:23 of the second when he ripped a one-timer from the left circle, seconds after being denied by Thomas on the doorstep.

Then, he struck on a knuckler from the slot for a 3-3 tie at 7:25, and finally capped the trifecta on a similar shot and location as his first tally on a power play with 46.5 seconds remaining for a 4-3 lead.

"He's worked very hard this year with Giroux and Jagr. He's a key factor as to why that line has been successful," Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said of Hartnell, who is five goals away from matching a career high. "Tonight his game was excellent. Obviously he did what he had to do offensively, but he also made his presence known all over the ice."

A Krejci deflection of Rich Peverley's offering at 1:19 of the third period pulled the Bruins even at 4-4, then Boston moved ahead at 4:59 on a bit of bad luck.

Adam McQuaid cycled the puck behind Bryzgalov to Daniel Paille, whose failed wraparound at the right post instead caromed off Gregory Campbell's stick and in as he fell through the crease.

But the Flyers responded on the power play as Talbot redirected a Matt Carle point blast in mid-air with 9:22 remaining for a 5-5 deadlock. They failed on two successive chances late.

Timonen was sent off for holding with 1:40 left in OT but Philly survived that 4-on-3.

"We played some really good hockey for the great majority of this year. We're having some of these awkward games lately," Thomas admitted. "We're finding ways to get points and come out with wins in a lot of them, but its not Boston Bruins hockey. I don't think we're happy with our effort."

Notes: Thomas, who improved to 20-9-0 on the year, allowed the most goals in a win in any of his starts this season...The Bruins played without defenseman Andrew Ference, who was suspended three games by the National Hockey League earlier Sunday for boarding Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh...Hartnell notched his sixth career hat trick and first since December 20, 2008, in a 7-1 win over the Capitals...He also picked up the 13th natural hat trick in franchise lore and the first accomplished in a single period since Mikael Renberg at San Jose in a 6-4 win on February 15, 1994...Jeff Carter was the last Flyer to score a natural hat trick, in an 8-1 decision at Carolina on November 11, 2010...McQuaid picked up two helpers...Talbot posted his first multi-goal effort since Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals at Detroit...There were six fighting majors handed out among 68 penalty minutes.

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