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The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins played four nail-biting games during last season, with each team winning two and each scoring 12 combined goals apiece. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that 60 minutes of hockey was not going to be enough to settle the score between these two Cup hopefuls Thursday night. It turns out 65 minutes wasn’t going to cut it either, as the two squads remained knotted at 3, heading into the shootout.
It wasn’t until the third round of shooters when Philly’s Claude Giroux flipped one past Bruins’ rookie netminder Tuukka Rask, giving the Flyers the upper hand. Boston’s Michael Ryder had the chance to tie it and take it to a fourth round, but his wrister clanged the left post, inches away from keeping the B’s alive. Instead, the Flyers served Boston a 4-3 shootout loss at the Wachovia Center, keeping the B’s from enjoying their first winning streak of the young season. Boston falls to 4-4-1.
The scoring began midway through the first period, when Philadelphia’s top defensive pairing struck first blood. Off a pretty feed from linemate Matt Carle, veteran Chris Pronger drove home his second goal of the year, giving the Flyers the early 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, new Bruins defenseman Derek Morris’s slapper on the power play evened the score.
The Bruins took their only lead of the game 7:36 into the middle frame, as Matt Hunwick worked one through traffic for his third goal of the season, giving Boston a 2-1 advantage. The lead was short-lived though, as just over a minute later, Philly’s Darrell Powe lifted a forehand shot past Rask to even the score yet again. Ex-Canadian Arron Asham helped Philly regain a one-goal advantage from the right faceoff circle, but before the period’s conclusion, Boston’s Steve Begin wristed one past Ray Emery, sending the game into the second intermission tied at 3.
While scoring chances were plentiful, the third period went scoreless for both teams. The same could be said about the 5-minute overtime session, which would send the game to the shootout, ultimately won by the host Flyers.
Boston, who was finishing up the second half of a back-to-back, has to be content with taking three out of the possible four points over the past two games, especially with Philly’s squad so well rested coming into the game, having only played once in the last 11 days. These two teams will next face off against each other in the outfield of Fenway Park at the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
Boston will try to get back on track Saturday night when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators.