The Winter Classic is now less than three weeks away. After tonight, the emotion level of the game should be ramped up as the visiting Flyers came in tonight, played with desperation and took two points from the Bruins here in Boston.
The best scoring opportunity of the period went to the Bruins. Just 2:15 into the evening, it was Vlad Sobotka breaking in from the right wing. His initial bid was stopped by Rhode Island's Brian Boucher. It appeared the ref thought the puck was covered and before Sobotka's rebound was put in, the whistle had blown. Video review, which was not used during the game, showed the puck was free and poked into the net well before the whistle blew.
The Flyers had Dan Carcillo in their starting five tonight. With Carcillo and Scott Hartnell running around and hitting people, it was the Bruins that started to take the undisciplined penalties. With Chara and Mark Stuart in the box, it was Dennis Wideman leading the shorthanded charges. At one point, Wideman blocked three consecutive shots – the first one you could see him buckle in pain as the shot went off his ankle. The B's killed both penalties and really took control of the game at that point. Claude Julien said after the game, “I thought that at it gave us momentum and energy. The guys came off that kill and felt pretty good about themselves. I thought that was going to be a turning point.”
The Bruins didn't score until late in the second period. Steve Begin and Shawn Thornton set up Vlad Sobotka. Thornton took the puck behind the net and instead of going for a wrap around, he held the puck out into the faceoff circle. His shot to the far side was deflected by Sobotka and then a Flyer defenseman for the first goal of the night.
Going into the third period with a lead, the B's haven't lost a game all year. That's when tonight's number two star, Kimmo Timonen, took control of the game. He led the Flyers with two goals and one assist in that final period. He assisted on James van Riemsdyk's game tieing goal not quite three minutes into the period. About halfway through the period, his wrist shot from the blueline deflected off of Blake Wheeler and past Thomas.
New Philly coach, Peter Laviolette was happy with his new team's comeback. “You’re on the road. You’re down a goal. Things aren’t going your way. You’ve got some guys out of the lineup. It’s one of those wins that you maybe can put a mark on. And you’ve got to build on it. It’s one win. We leave here tonight and we’re going in to play a pretty good team [Pittsburgh on Tuesday]. We got to get ready for them.”
Marc Savard was a -3 for the night. Coach Julien was switching up his wingers for most of the third period. Nothing went right for the Bruin center.
The rough stuff wasn't just for the Bruins and Flyers. In the “three minutes of fame” game after the first period, the kids were throwing checks and shoving all over the ice. It even continued after the horn blew. It was a disgrace the way the kids acted.
Tonight's three stars are as follows:
3 – Zdeno Chara. Twenty six minutes of ice time and solid as always.
2 – Kimmo Timonen – I mentioned his night's work. An absolute workhorse for the visitors.
1 – Brian Boucher – Made 26 saves on 27 shots. He was there to answer the bell whenever the Bruins rang.
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Written by Jim Mulligan