Flyers battle back but fall to Bruins in shootout

Flyers battle back but fall to Bruins in shootout
March 17, 2012, 7:42 pm
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BOSTON -- A long days journey into the afternoon for the Flyers again went without success Saturday at TD Garden.

Claude Juliens Bruins had lost four straight, goalie Tim Thomas has been playing poorly, and the team itself has looked gassed in recent weeks.

Despite all that, the Bruins came hard at the Flyers and had an emotional edge to their play from the drop of the puck and into the second period, before the Flyers began to stem the tide.

Even then, it wasnt enough as the Bruins won, 3-2, in a shootout. Peter Laviolettes Flyers had won seven of their previous eight games. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner in the shootout.

To no one's surprise, the Flyers came out flat, which is why they came into the contest 3-8-1 in afternoon games beginning between 1-3 p.m.

Ilya Bryzgalov, starting for the 14th time over the clubs last 15 games, didnt have a shutout streak to worry about here, but played well. He finished with 31 saves.

The Flyers trailed 2-1 to open the third period and were without both forward Max Talbot and defenseman Andreas Lilja, who were injured earlier in the game.

Their status remains unclear for Sundays matinee against the white-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers defense is already short-staffed with both Andrej Meszaros and Pavel Kubina still out.

Jakub Voracek tied it in the final four minutes with his second goal of the game, giving him 15 goals this season, and setting up yet another frantic, finish which has become routine over the past two seasons between these two clubs.

Early on, Boston simply dominated, holding the Flyers without a shot for 9:35, until Voracek finally fired one on Thomas from the right slot.

By then, the Bruins already were ahead 1-0 on a Chris Kelly goal thanks to a fortunate rebound. Bryzgalov made a chest save on Benoit Pouliot, but the puck went right to Kelly, who motored down the slot for his 17th goal.

The Flyers had two power plays in the period and were like froze ice sculptures -- no movement.

Their two best chances came from Claude Giroux nearly pick-pocketing Thomas in the crease and a Jaromir Jagr breakaway out of the penalty box; Thomas stoned Jagr with his right pad.

Tyler Seguin got Bostons second goal in the periods final three minutes as the Flyers were far too loose defensively, allowing an easy goal.

That was a bad omen, because Boston came into the game 31-0 when leading by two goals at any point in a game this season.

Boston again outplayed the Flyers to open the second period before Matt Read got a clutch power play goal at 9:16 to break the Bruins momentum. The rookie outbattled Bruins defenseman Greg Zanon to deflect Danny Brieres shot from inside the blue line.

That was Reads 20th goal, tying him with Colorados Gabriel Landeskog for the NHL rookie goal lead.

Earlier in that period, Max Talbot got drilled in a fight with Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who may have caught him with a punch as Talbot was falling to the ice.

Talbot may have sustained a shoulder injury on the fall given the way he left the ice.

Like Lilja, Talbot did not return.

Loose pucks
Boston was 7-2 coming in in games that went to a shootout; the Flyers were 3-5. ... Lilja appeared to be struck in the throat by a deflected shot in the first period. ... Dj vu: the last time the Penguins came into Philadelphia with Sidney Crosby they had an 11-game win streak (Dec. 14, 2010). Just like Sunday when they come into Philly again with Crosby. Unreal. ... Bruins came into play not much better than the Flyers in afternoon games: 4-7-2. ... No decision as to whether the Flyers will call up defenseman Brandon Manning for the Penguins game.

(more coming...)

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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