PHILADELPHIA – The Bruins thought they were headed in the right direction after three straight encouraging efforts. It’s clearly time to think again as they collapsed in the second and third periods and dropped a 5-2 decision at the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night to a Flyers team that will be scheduling tee times a week from now.
It was a shocking loss, as Philly has weathered all manner of injuries to its defensemen, and another night when the B's couldn’t capitalize on a Montreal loss in the battle for the Northeast Division title and the No. 2 overall seed in the East.
Things looked fine after the first period, which ended in a 1-1 tie on the strength of a Wade Redden rebound goal of a Jaromir Jagr shot, but then the roof caved in in the second period. A Brad Marchand turnover turned into a Matt Read goal off a nice pass from Wayne Simmonds midway through the second period. Seven seconds later, a lazy Zdeno Chara attempt to clear the zone ended up going right through Anton Khudobin’s pads.
It was the quickest an opponent has scored two goals on the Bruins since 1987, and it caused coach Claude Julien to pull an enraged Khudobin after he gave up two goals on 16 shots faced. Khudobin gave the right post a two-handed slam with his stick and then disappeared without returning to the bench for the rest of the second period.
Some sleepy defense from Chara and Dougie Hamilton led to Jakub Voracek extending it to a three-goal lead for Philadelphia in the third period, but David Krejci on a nice individual move stormed back to make it 4-2.
That little sliver of momentum lasted for exactly 13 seconds as the Flyers forwards again beat the Bruins defense to the punch, and Simon Gagne tapped in a score on an odd-man rush to again restore Philly’s three-goal lead.
GOLD STAR: Claude Giroux finished with a pair of assists and won 9-of-15 faceoffs while going head-to-head with Patrice Bergeron’s line for much of the game, and was one of the best players on the ice. Truth be told, though, it was a team effort the Flyers with a patchwork defense and a number of forwards like Giroux, Simon Gagne and Wayne Simmonds that have all done damage against Boston in the past. This was a team effort from the Flyers, and that hasn’t always been the case for them this season.
BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara looked tired, confused and slow in a game that featured the Bruins defenseman at his worst. It wasn’t as bad as the Buffalo game, when he appeared distracted throughout the contest, but he was making bad decisions with the puck, making unforced errors that were turning into goals and getting torched by speedy Flyers forwards when he did turn over the puck. Pairing him with Dougie Hamilton also gives Chara very little room for error when he does make a mistake because his 19-year-old partner can’t cover for him.
HONORABLE MENTION: Luke Schenn had eight hits and four blocked along with an assist and a plus-3 rating in 21:58 of ice time, and was by far the best defensemen on the ice for either team. I’ve always had my doubts about how good Schenn actually is -- he was vastly overrated while playing for Toronto -- but Tuesday night was easily the best game I’ve seen him play. He shepherded a young patchwork group of defensemen put together by a slew of injuries.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins still had plenty of time afterward to come back into the game, but giving up two goals within seven seconds of each other in the second period was an absolute killer. The B’s always stress having good shifts after both goals for and against, and twice on Tuesday night they surrendered goals seven and 13 seconds after goals scored. The first was after a goal scored by the Flyers, and the second was after a David Krejci goal scored by the Bruins in the third period as they were attempting to climb back into the game. Both were equally brutal, however.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 – the number of shifts given to Brad Marchand or Tyler Seguin in the second period -- including power play time -- after Matt Read scored Philly’s second goal off a Marchand turnover with 8:36 to go in the period.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “You’re running out of time to get this stuff going. You always hope that this is some sort of a wakeup call, but the way that the season has gone you question whether it will or not. Only time will tell.” -- Bruins coach Claude Julien, sounding like he’s at wits' end with a team that has had major trouble finding consistency all season.