It was right around the midway point of the match that the Philadelphia Flyers lost control.
Lost control of their composure, that is, as they were already down three goals to the Boston Bruins when Jay Rosehill tried to goad Bruins’ blue liner Kevan Miller into fisticuffs, just moments after Scott Hartnell lured Johnny Boychuk into blows…
…and after the Bruins made it 4-0 just moments after that on an easy Patrice Bergeron follow up snap shot, the Flyers pulled goalie Steve Mason and defenseman Luke Schenn started beating on Gregory Campbell in an attempt to light a fire underneath his team – but what got lit up instead was the Flyers’ lamp a couple of more times in what turned out to be a 6-1 rout.
With the victory, the Bruins take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division, two points better than the Tampa Bay Lighting who take on the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
Both Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara outscored Philadelphia all by themselves, each scoring twice with Iginla helping on two others, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith finding twine as well – netminder Tuukka Rask bouncing back from a couple of soft recent performances to stop 25 of 26 Flyers’ shots to earn his 23rd win of the season, a career high for the big Finn.
Centerman Claude Giroux scored the lone goal for Philadelphia, a third period power play job that briefly gave the Flyers a thin sliver of hope down “only” 4-1, but Iginla shut the door on any momentum the Flyers thought they had generated, firing a one timer past backup goalie Ray Emery 26 seconds later to send the hometown crowd headed for the exits.
Between them, Emery and Mason combined to stone just 27 of the Bruins’ 33 shots on goal as the Flyers dropped their fourth straight and fall to 25-22-6 on the year, their 56 points leaving them on the outside looking in at the teams that would qualify for the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins are not a team that one would call lightning fast. In fact, the Bruins typically play a very heavy style of hockey, physical and deliberate – some would call it plodding – based on bruising defense and setting up the cycle on offense…
…which is the Flyers’ style as well, but looking every bit a team that had played three times in the previous five days – not to mention winless in those contests – the Bullies nearly sleepwalked through the entire match, waking only briefly to instigate the aforementioned rough stuff.
Chara started and finished the scoring, finding the skate of Flyers’ defenseman Braydon Coburn from the low angle being left uncovered just outside the trapezoid with 6:30 expired in the opening period then ripping a wrist shot from the low left circle deep into the third to provide the final score.
Sandwiched in between were a couple of nasty sniper jobs off Iginla’s tape, Smith splitting the defenders for a pretty backhand shot, Bergeron’s easy put back of a Marchand shot and a short, intense five minute bout of desperation pugilism that saw Boychuck punk Hartnell with a series of uppercuts followed by an overhand right to Hartnell’s earhole that seemed to stun the big winger…
…then Gregory Campbell bravely, albeit foolishly, dropping gloves with Flyers’ tough guy Luke Schenn who had two inches and nearly 30 pounds on the Bruins’ centerman – the short fight being the only thing that Philadelphia would come out on top in for the entire afternoon.
The Bruins now head to the Island for a match at Nassau Arena scheduled for Monday night, then back to TD Garden where they play 5 of their next six games before the Olympic break, starting with the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.