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Five Third Period Goals Lead B’s Past Flyers, 7-5

As an elbow pad goes flying, Boston Bruins left wing Shawn Thornton, right, fights Philadelphia Flyers left wing Jody Shelley during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

With the help of seven different goal scorers on the night, the Bruins powered their way past the beasts of the East, the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night at the Garden, winning a wild, back-and-forth affair, 7-5. Five third period goals helped the B’s erase three different one-goal deficits, on their way to their third straight win. For those of you lucky enough to watch this whole game, it was arguably the most entertaining 60 minutes of hockey the Bruins have been involved in all season long. I wouldn’t say the best played 60 minutes… just the most entertaining 60 minutes.

The Flyers got on the board first when Scott Hartnell connected on a swing, batting the puck past Tim Thomas from behind the goal line. The puck ricocheted off Thomas and into the net for the 1-0 lead. Boston evened the score on a 5-on-3 chance later in the period, when the captain, Zdeno Chara lit the lamp on a screaming slapper from the right point to tie it up heading into the first intermission.

Patrice Bergeron continued his recent hot streak, scoring just 45 seconds into the second period to give the B’s their first lead of the game, connecting on his 14th goal of the season and sixth goal in his last five games. But the Flyers scored twice in the final five minutes of the period, with Nikolay Zherdev scoring on a breakaway and center Jeff Carter whipping one past Thomas from the left side to gain a 3-2 advantage for Philly.

Then came the third period, when the scoreboard operator really had to earn his salary. The B’s regained the lead within the first two minutes of the final period, with Mark Recchi knocking home the game-tying goal, followed by a Michael Ryder tip-in. The seesaw swung back in Philly’s direction though, with the Flyers scoring twice within 53 seconds. Danny Briere delivered a rebound past Thomas for his 23rd goal of the season to knot the game back up at four a piece, then former Bruin Sean O’Donnell gave the Flyers yet another lead when he wristed a shot by Timmy for his first goal of the season.

From there, it was all Black and Gold. Rookie Brad Marchand scored the equalizer for the B’s, firing a wrister that beat Flyers goalie Brian Boucher to even the score. Another rookie, defenseman Steve Kampfer, scored the eventual game-winner, on a shot from a tough angle on the right side, tucking the puck into the top left corner to give Boston a 6-5 lead with just 1:14 remaining. The Flyers had their chances in the final minute to even the score, but eventually a Gregory Campbell empty-netter with seven seconds left to go sealed the deal on this one… a huge 7-5 victory over the Eastern Conference’s top team.

For Boston, it’s generally the play of their defense and their outstanding goaltending that delivers victories. But on a night where Tim Thomas didn’t bring his “A” game, seeing the offense turn it on and earn this team a big two points in the standings is a welcome sight, indeed. 13 goals in their last two contests… not too shabby for a team that has been without their leading goal scorer, Milan Lucic, for that stretch.

The B’s still have two more games left on their current homestand, next hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they beat in Steel City on Monday night, 4-2. Sidney Crosby missed that game with a concussion, and is likely to be out of action again Saturday afternoon.

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