Flyers beat Bruins 2-1 on last-second OT goal

By Josh Mellits/DFP Staff

The last time the Philadelphia Flyers were in town, the Boston Bruins gave up a 3-0 lead and were eliminated from the postseason. And on Saturday night, the Bruins suffered another heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Flyers, losing in overtime, 2-1.

Captain Michael Richards gave the Flyers (19-7-5) a win with only three seconds left in the extra session. The Bruins (16-8-4) had entered the game six points behind Philadelphia and lost an opportunity to make up ground in the conference standings.

“I think we had an opportunity here tonight to get that extra point,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It was there for us for the taking, and it was unfortunate for us that it ended the way it did.”

The first period saw tight play on both sides as possession and momentum switched between both teams. But the game shifted five minutes into the second period when Flyers winger Jody Shelley pushed Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid in a race for the puck for an icing call. McQuaid flew off his skates and slammed into the boards, nearly hitting headfirst and stayed down for several minutes.

“It was for icing, it would be different if I was even reaching for the puck,” McQuaid said. “My back was to the puck. I’m not really sure what happened to be honest with you…I’m not sure how hard it was. I guess I wasn’t ready to get hit in that situation.”

Even though McQuaid said he “just [had] knocked the wind out of me a little bit” and that it was not as bad as it could have been, Julien still believes the play was unnecessary.

“Personally, I didn’t think there was any need for it,” Julien said. “I don’t know what the intention was but certainly there was no need for that at all. That’s one of the things we’re trying to get out of our game… It’s uncalled for. Hopefully, the league deals with it in a proper way and we’ll go from there.”

Shelley was given a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. Instead of galvanizing the Bruins, they only attempted five shots with the man advantage, wasting the opportunity to get on the board first.

Instead, with less than 2 minutes left in the period, Flyers winger and former University of New Hampshire star James van Riemsdyk scored on a three-on-two with winger Claude Giroux and center Jeff Carter.

“I saw it and knew it was going glove,” said Boston goaltender Tim Thomas. “But then I never got to see it again. It hit off my glove and went in.”

The physical play continued as almost 10 minutes into the third period, Bruins winger Nathan Horton collected a loose puck in front of the net and notched the equalizer to put the Bruins right back in the game.

“Nice pitch by [Bruins captain Zdeno Chara] to get the puck on the line to keep the puck alive, tried to make the pass to me and it got deflected,” Horton said. “[Bruins center David Krejci] got it to me and I just put it in the net.”

Despite giving up the lead and being outshot 25-16 in the second and third period, the visitors hung around, thanks to the strong play by backup goaltender Brian Boucher, who finished the game with 35 saves.

“We responded pretty well, we kept playing hard, we didn’t let it get out of control from there,” van Riemsdyk said. “We really buckled down and we were able to get a point out of it.”

In the extra session, it was all Philadelphia. The Flyers peppered Thomas with seven shots, including one moment where the puck lingered on the goal line before Thomas knocked it away. Yet the Bruins held on and the game seemed destined for a shootout.

But with seconds remaining, Richards beat Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg one-on-one before zipping the puck past Thomas on a wrist shot with three ticks left on the clock.

“When the game’s on the line, he’s definitely the guy you want to have the puck on his stick,” van Riemsdyk said.

The Bruins had been 4-0-1 in December and now hit the road at Buffalo and Montreal before coming back home December 18 against the Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals. But they still know that this was one game that they let slip away.

“This was a game of inches and the smallest mistake would end up costing you,” Julien said. “And we made that mistake in the second period in the odd man rush a couple times…and then right at the end, another ill-advised play that ended up in our net.”

NOTES:
Before the game, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced that Boston has traded forward Marco Sturm to Los Angeles for future considerations, pending a physical. Sturm was in his sixth season with the Bruins but has been on injured reserve all season stemming from a knee injury sustained in May against the Flyers in the postseason. The move helps clear cap space for Boston.

“It’s another player that’s given us some great service here over the years,” Julien said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s run into so many serious injuries that’s kind of knocked him out of the game for long stretches of time. And again, I think we could have used a player like him had it not been for the salary cap…He was a real good team player. He was respected by his teammates, respected by the coaching staff.”

Bruins’ losing streak reaches 10 games with 3-2 shootout loss to Canucks

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

The Bruins’ losing streak reached double digits Saturday afternoon when the struggling B’s lost 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout.

In the first two periods, all systems were go for the Bruins. They scored two power-play goals off the sticks of Zdeno Chara and Michael Ryder, and they limited the Canucks to just 12 shots on goal.

In the third, however, the Bruins wilted, allowing 18 shots on goal while surrendering the tying goal. By the end of overtime, Bruins fans knew what to expect: another shootout and a 10th straight loss.

“You’re all speechless like I am, right?” Bruins coach Claude Julien said as he opened his postgame press conference. “With that mistake, it turned into a goal, and that’s the end of it with the way things are going.”

Throughout the Bruins’ 10-game losing streak, it has been the opportunities – or missed opportunities – that are the difference between a win and a loss. The Canucks took advantage of that edge and seized on a missed opportunity to tie the game late in the third period.

After Vancouver’s Sami Salo snapped his stick on a slap shot, the Bruins pounced to clear the puck. Perhaps it was a case of being overeager, or perhaps it was simply a fluke chance, but Milan Lucic skated past the puck, leaving room for Tanner Glass to fire a shot toward the net that Pavol Demitra tipped in.

“When [Lucic] overskated the puck and [Glass] turned it around and just threw it at the net, those are little things where you’re saying, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Give us a break here,’” Julien said.

After the goal, netminder Tuukka Rask threw his arm up in frustration. The tone was much of the same in the locker room.

“We don’t have answers for it,” center Marc Savard said. “We don’t have excuses. We haven’t made any excuses. We’re just trying our best.”

“There was a bad break there on the second goal,” Rask said. “But you just have to battle through the hard times.”

That ability to battle has been completely missing from the Bruins’ shootout shooters of late. This was the second shootout loss in as many games for the Bruins. Boston is scoreless in the shootout in the new year.

“I guess at this point you dread seeing the shootout,” Julien said. “We keep talking about the same issue. For me, [the shootout] is the only issue right now, and it’s a real important one.”

For forward Blake Wheeler, there are no excuses. The Bruins just need to start getting the job done.

“It’s tough to stay positive because you know what the coaches are asking you to do, you’re working hard for your teammates, kind of everything you’re supposed to be doing out there,” Wheeler said. “The end result, the funnest part of the game, is not really coming for us. You just have to stick with it. Pretty soon, pucks are going to start going in off of shin pads. Hopefully, that day is coming sooner rather than later.”

Welcome

Welcome to The Boston Hockey Blog, the official hockey blog of The Daily Free Press. We’ll be covering everything related to the Boston University men’s hockey team, every Boston Bruins home game and a lot of BU women’s hockey. We’ll drop the puck on our coverage this Wednesday with Hockey East media day and follow up with a live blog from the Bruins’ season opener on Thursday.