PHILADELPHIA – The Bruins rewarded their coach for this week’s time off by blowing the Philadelphia Flyers out of their own building on Saturday afternoon.
The B’s scored the first four goals of the game in pushing Steve Mason out in the second period, and cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Broad Street Bullies at the Wells Fargo Center. It was the Flyers’ fourth straight defeat, and gives the Bruins seven of a possible eight points in their last four games as they look for a strong finish prior to the Olympic break.
Boos and mock cheers serenaded the Flyers throughout the game, and embodied a very trying hockey season in Philly.
The three power play goals and six goals scored overall matched the season highs for the Bruins set in a Dec. 23 blowout win over the Nashville Predators.
Zdeno Chara opened the scoring with a power play goal just 6:30 into the game for his 10th goal of the season, and a Jarome Iginla score with just 18 seconds left prior to the first intermission was a real kick in the teeth for Philly. The Flyers tried to show some fight in the second period as Scott Hartnell and Luke Schenn engaged in fights with Johnny Boychuk and Gregory Campbell respectively.
But the Bruins responded with two more goals from Reilly Smith on a hustle play breaking down the defensive pair of Niklas Grossman and Mark Streit, and Patrice Bergeron beating Mason top shelf. The Bergeron goal was the final straw for Mason, who wasn’t on top of his game in allowing a couple of soft goals to the Black and Gold.
Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask was solid at the other end with 21 saves against a Flyers attack that had a couple of good looks early in the contest.
Claude Giroux managed a power play goal to keep his Flyers from getting shut out, but Iginla and Chara each added their second goals of the game in a third period that defined garbage time.
GOLD STAR: A season-high four points for Jarome Iginla on a pair of goals and two assists that snapped an eight game goal-scoring drought, and served notice once again at how good a fit the 36-year-old has been in Black and Gold. It was Iginla’s goal with just 18 seconds remaining in the first period that really seemed to discourage the Flyers, and send them into a tailspin where they essentially submitted over the final two periods of the game. Iginla’s first goal was a beauty snapped over Steve Mason’s glove hand from the high slot, and the second was just more ammunition for a blowout win in the third period. It’s no coincidence that the Bruins offense goes nuclear whenever Iginla starts heating up.
BLACK EYE: No shots and 3-of-19 in the face-off circle for Vinny Lecavalier, who is clearly having a difficult time moving around on the ice at this point with a back issue. My Center Vinny is just one of several Flyers players that could have been positioned in this category: both Niklas Grossman and Mark Streit were a minus-2 and looked like status on the Reilly Smith goal in the second period, and Steve Mason let up a couple of softies before finally getting pulled after the Bruins made it 4-0. Just not a banner day for the Flyers at all.
TURNING POINT: Was it the backbreaking Jarome Iginla goal with just 18 seconds left in the first period on a shot that Steve Mason probably should have stopped, or was it the next score – a Reilly Smith hustle goal that caught a flat-footed Niklas Grossman by surprise – that took a couple of good bounces before pushing the Bruins to a 3-0 lead? The Flyers came back with a couple of fights while making sure not to go down without a whimper, but it was clear at that point this wasn’t going to be their day at all. It’s four losses in a row for a Flyers team that is somehow still in the playoff hunt in the putrid Metro Division.
HONORABLE MENTION: Two goals for Zdeno Chara, who snapped a long goal-scoring drought with his power play goal in the first period, to go along with some staunch, discouraging defense. Chara has played very well during this last stretch with the Bruins trying to find a foothold prior to the Olympic break, and that continued with a team-high 21:43 of ice time, four shots on net and four blocked shots in a gritty, skilled performance. The last couple of games have been even more reinforcement that the Bruins are much better off with Chara down low on the power play.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of Bruins players that have reached double-digits in goals this season with Chara getting his 10th in the first period.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It has to be the most embarrassing game I’ve been involved with,” –Flyers captain Claude Giroux, speaking of the 6-1 loss to the Bruins where the Flyers were showered with boos and mock cheers throughout.