Even if the Flyers are in last place, and have basically no good players, a win is a win. It was very nice to see the Bruins snap one of the worst 3 game losing streaks I have ever seen in the NHL. We beat the Flyers 4-3, though the game was not that close at all. The game, as NHL games go, was pretty boring. Tim Thomas had a fantastic game, it's nice to see that he can rebound so well from such a bad game. He let in three goals while saving 29 shots. On the other side of the ice, Robert Esche, a relatively unused goalie for Philadelphia also had a pretty good game. Even though he gave up four goals, and had only 22 saves, of those 22 saves, many of them were clutch saves that kept Philly in the game. Marc Savard was another outstanding player this afternoon. He had 2 goals and two assists. For the Flyers, Mike Knuble (long time members of Bruins Nation will remember him) played well along with a no-name named Kapanen who scored twice.
In the first period, on a Bruins power play four minutes in, Kapanen stole the puck from the Bruins. That led to a two on one odd man rush with Paul Mara as the only defensemen back. Mara played it perfectly by getting down on the ice in order to cover as much ice as possible. Kapanen completely read Mara though and shot the puck over him and past Thomas, giving the Flyers a one goal lead off of a short handed goal. Around ten minutes later, Marc Savard had the puck behind and far to the right of the goal. Marc Savard had absolutely no angle to the goal. Savard somehow managed to shoot the puck off of Robert Esche into the Philly net, tying the game. 34 seconds later, with the same line (Axelsson, Savard, Murray) on the ice, Axelsson had the puck and passed it to Savard who was near the goal. Savard then found Murray right in front of the goal. Murray then scored on a nice shot, giving the Bruins the lead. Later, with 37 seconds left int he period and the Bruins on a power play, Paul Mara had the puck in front of the blue line when he passed forwasrd and to the left to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron the one-timed it into the net, giving the Bruins a 3-1 lead to end the first period.
The second period was quite boring. The only real thing that happened was five minutes in when Philly cut the Bruins lead to one. It happened when Kapanen stole the puck in the Bruins zone, then scored on a nice quick snap-shot that was unstoppable. No way Thomas could have gotten it. So Kapanen had two unassisted goals in the game.
The third period was far more interesting. Two minutes in on the power play, Bergeron got a pass from Mara in the Flyers zone. Bergeron then shot the puck but Esche saved it. Luckily Marc Savard was right there to put in the rebound, putting the Bruins back up ahead by two.
Then with around two minutes to go in the game, Philadelphia pulled Esche. A shot on Thomas was saved but the rebound was kicked in by Knuble. It was very clearly kicked in, and no matter what Andy Brickley says, the goal should have been annulled. The men in Toronto disagreed with me though and the goal stood. So Esche went back in the game, probably thinking he would be pulled with about a minute left. Wrong! The Bruins played very offensive defense, keeping the pressure on Philadelphia the entire rest of the game. And the Bruins won 4-3.
Our defense played great in this one. I forgot to mention that fact earlier. Alberts and Stuart really filled in well for the ailing Zdeno Chara. Both of them set season highs for minutes played in a game. Our defense was very sound, resulting in Philly going 0-6 on the power play. Another group of players that played very well was the 2 line. Axelsson, Savard, and Murray, even though they now start, I still call them the 2 line. The three of them played really well, combined they had three goals and three assists. Even more important was how well Savard played in the last minute of the game. Savard, who had a very long shift to end the game, was a huge factor in keeping the puck in the Flyers zone, not giving htem a chance to tie up the game.
The rest of January is huge schedule wise. We play Ottawa 3 times, the Buffalo Sabres 3 times, the New York Rangers twice, Pittsburgh, and the New York Islanders. (Not in that order)