What was a banner night in Boston as the Bruins put an exclamation point on the Stanley Cup celebrations became one of disappointment as the Philadelphia Flyers came to town and defeated the Bruins 2-1.
The Bruins came out of the gate looking like the team that won the Stanley Cup in June. They controlled the play by using their speed and physicality and took a 1-0 lead on Brad Marchand’s power play goal at 9:42 of the first period. On the goal, Marchand received a long stretch pass from Tyler Seguin who was just inside the Bruins blue line. Marchand, who was positioned diagonally from Seguin at the Flyers blue line, went in alone on Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and faked a forehand shot then quickly went to his backhand and slid the puck past the net minder for his first goal of the season. New defenseman Joe Corvo also picked up an assist giving him his first point as a Bruin.
The Flyers started the game slowly but came alive on a power play of their own when winger Claude Giroux knotted the score at one 19:10 of the first period. The play began with Flyer captain Chris Pronger moving the puck to Jaromir Jagr. The veteran center carried the puck through the neutral zone then spied Giroux attacking the Boston blue line. Jagr put the puck on Giroux’s tape who put the puck past Bruin goaltender Tim Thomas. It was Giroux’s first goal of the season and Jagr’s 1,600th career point.
As the first period was drawing to a close, the Flyers took advantage of a Boston defensive zone breakdown as Wayne Simmonds gained control of the puck and moved it to Andrei Meszaros. Meszaros’ shot was stopped by Thomas but with 2.7 seconds remaining in the period, Jakub Voracek pounced of the rebound and snapped the puck past the Bruins netminder giving Philadelphia a 2-1 lead.
The momentum was all Philadelphia’s in the second period. They hemmed the Bruins in their defensive zone for long stretches. Tim Thomas was called upon to make several big saves to keep it a one goal game. A somewhat controversial play occurred at the 12:34 mark of the period when Giroux went into a Boston corner for a loose puck with Bruin captain Zdeno Chara. Giroux, perhaps hoping to run interference on Chara tried to initiate contact with his back turned on the Boston defenseman and took the worst of the check going heavily headfirst into the boards.
The Flyers took issue with the play: James Van Riemsdyk immediately jumped to the aid of his teammate and challenged Chara (who obliged). Brayden Coburn correctly assessed that van Riemsdky had bitten off more than he could chew and wrapped up the Bruins’ captain to save JVR’s bacon and the officials quickly restored order. Van Riemsdyk and Chara were each assessed roughing penalties.
The third period began with Philadelphia still in the lead and in control of the game but the Bruins persisted and began to find their stride as the period moved along. The B’s passing and skating improved with each shift and they began to get scoring chances but it was apparent that Bryzgalov was not going to let the Bruins back into this one. He made five key saves on a Boston power play when Wayne Simmonds was sent off for hooking at the 10:13 mark and stopped each shot the Bruins could send at him for the remainder of the period. When the final horn sounded, the Flyers’ puckstopper had backstopped his team to a 2-1 victory by making 22 saves on 23 Boston shots. His counterpart, Thomas, made 27 stops on 29 Flyers shots.
The Bruins have a day off before their second match of the season, hosting another of their postseason rivals Saturday night in the Garden. Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning take their new blue uniforms to the Hub looking for revenge on the team that ousted them from the Eastern Conference Finals in seven games.
Boston Talk Radio’s three stars of the game are: 3) Claude Giroux 2) Brad Marchand 1) Ilya Bryzgalov.