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Philly Flies Past Bruins in Winter Classic Preview, 3-1

Vladimir Sobotka

A maximum effort in the final 20 minutes led the Flyers past the Bruins tonight at TD Garden 3-1, in a game that proves why NHL hockey is the toughest sport to bet on. Coming into tonight’s game, Boston was by far the hotter team, winning 8 of their last 11, while Philly had been reeling, losing 8 of their last 10. But that’s why they play the games. Three unanswered goals by Philly in the third period proved that the more desperate team was the hungrier team, giving Philly’s new coach Peter Laviolette his second win as a Flyer.

The game went scoreless until the second to last minute of the second period. That’s when Boston’s Vladimir Sobotka was able to tip in a puck flung to the slot by Shawn Thornton, giving the B’s a 1-0 advantage. Earlier in the first period, Sobotka had a would-be goal waved off by the officials. The puck clearly got past Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, but officials ruled that the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the line, ruling instead that the net had moved off its moorings. This was just the first of several missed calls by what was a very weak officiating crew in this game.

The officials’ effort game-wide was pretty low, but the effort of the Bruins in the final 20 minutes was even lower. Philadelphia completely outhustled the Bruins in the third, getting to the puck quicker, winning the necessary battles to earn the win. It was the highly touted James van Riemsdyk who knotted the game at 1-1 early in the third, lifting the puck over Boston’s Tim Thomas. It was the first goal in the last 13 games for van Riemsdyk, the former #2 overall pick of the Flyers back in 2007.

Philly’s Kimmo Timonen took care of the rest from there on in, first giving the Flyers a 2-1 advantage on a slapper from the blue line that was deflected by Blake Wheeler, past Tim Thomas’ right side. Boston had their chance to even the score late after a Scott Hartnell high-sticking penalty to Mark Recchi, but instead, Timonen flicked the puck the length of the ice for a shorthanded goal that iced the win for Philadelphia, in come-from-behind fashion.

The loss marked the first this season where Boston blew a game in which they led after two periods. It was also the first win for Philly on the opposite end of that statistic, coming back from a two-period deficit for the first time this season.

Boston will take the next three days to right the ship before heading out on a 3-game road trip that begins Friday evening in Chicago with an Original Six matchup against the Blackhawks. That game will be followed by two roadies against divisional opponents, up in Toronto Saturday and Ottawa next Monday.

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