GOLD STAR: Tuukka Rask was the only thing keeping the Bruins alive in the third period as they completely ran out of gas, and were outshot by a 25-7 margin in the third period and overtime. He finished with a season-high 49 saves as Sunday’s win over the Flyers was the first time Boston has allowed an opponent 50 or more shots in a game this season. Rask did finally buckle with 25 seconds remaining for Philadelphia’s game-tying goal, but that was after stopping the first 16 shots he faced in the period. While Rask didn’t exactly steal the highly entertaining game against the Flyers, it was pretty clear they had a big goaltending advantage after watching Steve Mason let in a pair of soft ones at the other end.
BLACK EYE: Steve Mason has had a reasonably good season for the Flyers, but he let up a couple of bad goals in the second period that put his team behind the 8-ball for the rest of the game. The Zdeno Chara on the backhander was perhaps partially excusable because it was the power play, and the B’s captain did get some elevation on the shot in a nice athletic move. But the goal allowed to Patrice Bergeron that gave Boston a 3-2 lead was Mason simply falling asleep at the switch, and letting a quick spin shot get through his pads because he wasn’t ready. He made 27 saves, but his team lost in a game where they outshot the Bruins by a 52-30 margin. That’s saying something about the Philly goaltending, and it’s not anything good.
TURNING POINT: When the Bruins were able to hang on for dear life in the third period and overtime while getting outshot by a 25-7 margin, they gave themselves a good chance to win in the shootout. That comes down to superior goaltending from Tuukka Rask, and some ace penalty killing by Johnny Boychuk, Kevan Miller, Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron when the Flyers had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:48 in the third period with Zdeno Chara in the box. The Bruins showed a lot of guts pushing through that time period while clearly gassed, and that’s what allowed them to finally take it home in the shootout.
HONORABLE MENTION: You’ve got to give it Vinny Lecavalier: he clearly responded to being dropped to the fourth line. My Center Vinny scored a pair of goals including the game-tying strike with 25 seconds remaining in the third period, and a game-high nine shots on net in his 17:02 of ice time. Lecavalier also finished with a plus-2, three registered hits and wins in 8-of-12 face offs in the kind of performance that will bump a player off the fourth line sooner rather than later. Kimmo Timonen was also outstanding for the Flyers in defeat, but Lecavalier was one of the dominant figures for a Philly team that continues to impress late in the season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 – the number of consecutive wins on the road for the Bruins after Sunday’s shootout victory in Philly, a new franchise record for the Black and Gold.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It shows a lot about our character. We really pulled together and kept getting better. We had a tough start in the first two games out of the Olympics. We were tentative and not playing our game, and we talked about going back to playing our system, and playing hard. Things usually take care of themselves after that.” –Patrice Bergeron, on going 15-1-1 during the month of March.