BOSTON -- This time it wasn't the beginning so much as it was the finish.
The Boston Bruins came out motivated and snapped a four-game losing skid in a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers in a St. Patrick's Day matinee. Patrice Bergeron netted the winning goal in the shootout.
But while the Bruins brought their legs early, building a 2-0 first-period lead, a couple of late defensive zone lapses caught up with them as the Flyers forced overtime.
The win pushed the Bruins back into the Northeast Division lead (albeit if for an afternoon), with a one-point advantage over Ottawa. The Senators host Toronto Saturday evening at Scotiabank Place. It also pushed the Bruins from seventh into second in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
A raucous start ... Shedding their recent trend of stumbling out of the gate, the Bruins brought intensity from the get-go. The tone was set by Gregory Campbell's bout with Zac Rinaldo less than two minutes in. The chippy play continued with both Adam McQuaid and Zdeno Chara getting into it with Scott Hartnell. McQuaid and Hartnell exchanged verbal pleasantries before the Flyers forward exchanged some hearty chops with the captain at center ice.
... and a goal to show for it: After falling behind in five of their previous seven tilts, the Bruins claimed the first lead of the game on Chris Kelly's goal at 6:23 of the first. The play was set in motion on a nice cross-ice pass from Brian Rolston through the neutral zone to Kelly, who then drove the net to collect the rebound off of Benoit Pouliot's shot.
After falling behind 2-0 in each of their previous four games, the Bruins took a two-goal lead to the room at the first intermission for a change. Brad Marchand provided the spark. The winger dug out the puck along the half-wing boards before dishing to Patrice Bergeron down low. Bergeron then hit a streaking Tyler Seguin in the slot for Seguin's 25th goal of the season at 17:07.
Goaltending woes? Shut 'em down: The Bruins outshot the Flyers 10-7 with Philadelphia getting a bulk of their chances on a pair of power plays. But the Flyers didn't register their first shot of the game until more than half way through the first. Tim Thomas wasn't tested much in the period, but made a key breakaway stop on Jaromir Jagr with 5:55 to play.
PK shuts it down in 3rd ... While the Flyers struck for a power-play goal in the second period, on Matt Read's tip of Danny Briere's point shot, the Bruins held steadfast on an important penalty kill in the third with Shawn Thornton off for goaltender interference. Philadelphia had a quality chance on Hart Trophy candidate Claude Giroux's one-timer from the left wing circle. But Thomas made a blocker save on Giroux with the rebound skipping over the glass, leaving Giroux pounding his stick into the ice.
... but D can't staple down win: Minutes after the kill, the Bruins were burnt in their own zone by a lackluster clearing opportunity, allowing Jakub Voracek to knot the game, 2-2, at 15:43. The Flyers had a sterling scoring opportunity to win the game in regulation on a Dennis Seidenberg neutral zone turnover, resulting on a 2-on-1 break with under two minutes remaining. Additionally, Thomas bailed out the team with a couple of key stops in the final minute.
Corvo scratched: Defenseman Joe Corvo was deemed a healthy scratch from Saturday's game, despite the fact that head coach Claude Julien noted that Corvo was “banged up.” Corvo had played in each of the Bruins' 70 games leading into the matinee.
Familiarity among the ranks -- For the first time in recent memory, the Bruins skated with the same forward lines in consecutive games. However, the lines were shuffled some in the second period as Thornton missed a couple of regular shifts. Thornton was seen massaging his shoulder on the bench for spell after doling out a hit in the Bruins' defensive zone last in the second. However, Thornton returned in time for the third.
Celebrating St. Patty's Day -- Andrew Ference celebrated his 33rd birthday on the holiday while Chris Kelly potted his 17th goal of the season on the 17th.
Here's how the lineup looked on Saturday:
Tyler Seguin -- Patrice Bergeron -- Brad Marchand
Benoit Pouliot -- Chris Kelly -- Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille -- Gregory Campbell -- Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara -- Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference -- Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon -- Adam McQuaid