Saturday, April 5, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Bruins 5, Flyers 2
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins broke open a 2-2 tie in the third period with two goals in 31 seconds and added a late empty-netter for a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
With the victory Boston clinched the regular-season Eastern Conference title with four games remaining.
The Bruins' Milan Lucic scored a pair of goals, while David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk and Chris Kelly contributed one goal each. Goaltender Tuukka Rask finished with 24 saves. Patrice Bergeron had one assist to extend his point streak to 11 games.
During a physical opening period, the Bruins gained a 1-0 lead at 15:46 when Krejci notched his 17th goal of the season. Boston created sustained pressure in front of Flyer goalie Ray Emery when a scramble ensued. The Bruins' Loui Eriksson created havoc in front as Krejci collected the loose puck and pumped it in.
The Flyers tied the game at 1-1 when they capitalized on the power play at 14:36 of the second period. With the Bruins' Torey Krug in the box for playing with a broken stick, Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds collected the puck off the end wall and beat Rask for the tally.
It didn't take the Bruins long to respond.
Only 19 seconds later, Lucic's shot from the high slot made its way through traffic and beat Emery to give Boston a 2-1 lead at 14:55. However, the Bruins had a defensive breakdown and the Flyers' Jay Rosehill took advantage of the miscue and tied the game at 2-2, sneaking one past Rask at 16:21 of the second period.
Boston gained a 3-2 advantage on Boychuk's goal at 13:54 of the third period. With the faceoff to the left of Emery, Bergeron won the drop cleanly back to the right point, where Boychuk was waiting for the one-timer. Reilly Smith set the screen and the puck went short side for the goal.
The Bruins added an insurance goal at 14:25 of the third period when Lucic added his second of the game for a 4-2 lead. Kelly added an empty-net goal with 20.7 seconds remaining in regulation for the win.
DROP 'EM: From the opening puck drop, it was your typical Bruins-Flyers game. It was physical with a ton of clean hits. At 10:46 of the first period, the Bruins' Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Rosehill. The two exchanged blows before being separated when Thornton fell to the ice. It was Thornton's 10th fighting major of the season. Boston is 26-9-2 this season when assessed a fighting major.
INJURED: Both forward Jarome Iginla and defenseman Kevan Miller were sidelined Saturday with undisclosed injuries. Iginla missed Wednesday's game at Detroit with a lower-body injury, but returned for Thursday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Miller hasn't missed a game since Jan. 9. With Iginla out, Eriksson was on the top line with Krejci and Lucic.
7th PLAYER: Prior to Saturday's matinee, Bruins forward Reilly Smith was named the winner of this season's Seventh Player Award, which is given annually to the Bruin who exceeds the expectations of fans. In his first season with the Bruins, the 23-year-old forward has recorded 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points. Past recipients of the award include: Dougie Hamilton (2013), Tyler Seguin (2012), Brad Marchand (2011), Rask (2010), Krejci (2009) and Lucic (2008).
UP NEXT: The Bruins only have four games remaining in the regular season. Boston travels to Minnesota and Winnipeg this week before returning home for the final regular-season game on TD Garden ice next Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. The Bruins close out the regular season against the Devils at New Jersey on April 13.