By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Ritchie – Krejci – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Coyle – Kuhlman
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Grzelcyk – Miller
Lauzon – Clifton
Zboril – Kampfer
van Riemsdyk – Couturier – Farabee
Voracek – Giroux – Konecny
Laughton – Hayes – Patrick
Lindblom – Raffl – Aube-Kubel
Provorov – Braun
Sanheim – Myers
Gostisbehere – Morin
Charlie McAvoy being ruled out with an upper-body injury not too long before puck drop wasn’t ideal. Thankfully, Patrice Bergeron helped make the beginning of Jeremy Swayman’s NHL debut a little easier, scoring his 13th goal of the season. The goal also marked the 900th point of Bergeron’s incredible NHL career. Craig Smith (11) and Brad Marchand (25) had the assists on the historic goal with 12:51 to go.
Matt Grzelcyk went off for hooking with 9:45 to go. Swayman and the Bruins went on to kill the penalty despite a bit of chaos at one point in his crease. The highlight of the penalty kill was the following save, undoubtedly.
With 3:21 remaining, Nicolas Aube-Kubel took a holding penalty. Things got wild pretty quickly, as Grzelcyk lost the puck at the offensive blue line, and Swayman stopped Scott Laughton on the ensuing breakaway.
As a result of the save, the top power play unit made it hurt, leading to Bergeron’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season. David Pastrnak had the primary assist (16), while Marchand added his second assist of the game and 26th of the season.
Overall, it was an eventful first period in a good way for the Bruins. The first 20 minutes of Swayman’s NHL career were in the books and were pretty great. Shots on goal were 13 to 11 in favor of the Flyers, but the Bruins had the early lead.
Score: 2-0 Boston
The second period, however, got off to a rough start as a mess in the defensive zone for the Bruins led to an early goal for Jakub Voracek. The lead was cut to one just a minute and 33 seconds into the period. Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game two and a half minutes later. The Flyers were the much better team out of the gate.
The first big chance of the period for the Bruins came off of a nice bit of passing from Nick Ritchie and David Krejci to set up Pastrnak, but Carter Hart made the save. Just over a minute later, Trent Frederic went to the box for roughing at the 8:46 mark. The Bruins have the number one penalty kill in the NHL for a reason and killed off another Flyers power play.
Some spiciness in the game came as a result of a physical battle between Brad Marchand and Justin Braun en route towards Hart’s net. Not much else came out of the period for the Bruins. They allowed tons of shots on goal and a couple of shots that rang iron. Shots on goal were 25 to seven in favor of the Flyers, bringing the total through 40 minutes to 38 to just 18 for the Bruins.
The third period got off to a slow start all around. There wasn’t much in terms of pace and there were only three shots on goal between both teams through the first eight minutes or so.
Marchand brought the game back to life with a shorthanded goal off of a feed from Jeremy Lauzon. The goal was the 29th career shorthanded goal for Marchand, his third point of the game, and 18th goal of the season. Lauzon’s assist was his fourth of the season, while Connor Clifton’s was his fifth. This performance marked the third multi-point game in his last five for Marchand.
Kevan Miller and Travis Konecny got tied up in the corner to Swayman’s left not too long after the goal. They both received two-minute minor penalties as a result, Miller for cross-checking and Konecny for slashing with 10:01 to go. A 4-on-4 ensued for the next two minutes, but neither team could take advantage of the extra room to work with enough to score.
Sam Morin was called for roughing with 6:48 remaining, giving the Bruins a prime opportunity for an insurance goal. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they couldn’t make it two for two on the night on the power play and even-strength play resumed.
Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault called a timeout with 1:57 remaining. With Hart pulled for the extra attacker, both teams mucked down low in close proximity to Swayman for quite some time. Bergeron ended up with the empty-net goal after all of the mucking to give him the hat trick.
The goal brought Bergeron to 15 on the season, while Marchand’s assist was his third of the night, 27th of the season, as well as his fourth point. Chris Wagner added the secondary assist for his third helper of the season.
The empty netter put a bow on a 40-save victory for the first of Swayman’s NHL career. The Bruins outshot the Flyers eight to four in the third period, bringing the final total to 42 to 26 in favor of the Flyers. It wasn’t the cleanest victory ever, but the Bruins moved 20-10-6 as a result with wins in three of their last five games.
Final Score: 4-2 Boston