Zdeno Chara kicked off the scoring for the Bruins in the first period of a 6-1 loss Flyers loss on Saturday. (USA Today Images)
The countdown on what figures to be a decisive next 15 days for the Flyers in terms of the NHL standings got off to an ominous start Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
The big, bad Boston Bruins thoroughly embarrassed the Flyers during a 6-1 bludgeoning. That’s four losses in a row for coach Craig Berube’s club.
Many of the same issues that have haunted the Flyers for two weeks now reared their head in this game. Including turnovers and scoring chances during Flyers breakouts.
It was already 3-0 midway into the second period when Patrice Bergeron got a puck down low and measured a shot from the goal line.
Somehow, he wristed it high to the far side just inside the post to chase starting goalie Steve Mason from the game for Ray Emery.
That’s twice now in his last three starts that Mason (four goals, 18 shots) has been yanked.
Claude Giroux scored the lone Flyers goal on the power play in the third period.
Craig Berube changed his lines again. Scott Hartnell went back to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Michael Raff replaced Hartnell on Sean Couturier’s line with Matt Read. Jay Rosehill replaced Steve Downie on the fourth line with Chris VandeVelde and Adam Hall.
It cost the Flyers again and again. They began the game with consecutive penalties and the Bruins cashed in on their second power play when Zdeno Chara, standing to Mason’s left, shot from the goal line off Jarome Iginla’s skate and the puck ricochet upwards under the crossbar at the netting for a 1-0 lead at 6:30.
The first period resembled the last two games against Carolina and Columbus. No puck possession meant few offensive chances.
The Flyers were pinned in their own end quite a bit and playing on their heels. There were several forced passes on breakouts to no one in particular under pressure and the Bruins brought the puck right back in on them. Everything that Berube talked about cleaning up unfolded in the opening period.
In the final 18 seconds of the first period, Jarome Iginla, who had not scored a point in eight games, nailed one from the slot on a wide open shot making it 2-0. Mason was screen by Nicklas Grossmann. Never give up a goal in the final minute of a period.
Iginla finished the game with two goals.
Not his day
Grossmann turned a puck over early in the third period and Reilly Smith managed an off-balanced shot that caromed off the right post, then off Mason’s pad, then trickled across the goal line as Grossmann flicked it out of the net, but not before it was a goal.
Perhaps his worst game as a Flyer, the big Swede screened Mason on the second Bruins goal. And he committed a double-minor for high-sticking in the third period that led to Boston’s fifth and sixth goals on the power play.
Giroux missed an 80-foot open net in the first period when Tuukka Rask overcommitted on a clear, but even if it had been a goal it would not have counted because Hartnell was offside.
Emery stopped Dougie Hamilton’s breakaway out of the penalty box shortly after entering the game.
The Bruins had two power-play goals.
At 6-foot-9, Chara is a monster in front of the goalie on the Bruins' top power-play unit. That’s where he was stationed against the Flyers. He has seven power-play goals now.
Scott Hartnell and Johnny Boychuk fought to a draw in the second period. Soon after, Luke Schenn tuned up on Greg Campbell.
Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros; forward Steve Downie. All healthy.
The Flyers host the Red Wings on Tuesday (7 p.m., CSN).