Not a ton of entertainment early, but with Boston taking the first two penalties, it’s lucky that no disastrous start materialized. Tuukka Rask was SUPER sharp to start and, on his birthday, good on him for coming to work dialed in.
The second powerplay for the Flyers was also fruitless; they’d totaled four shots on the two advantages. Credit where it’s due to the penalty kill units of Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly, and Par Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom (with a pinch of Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand during the first PK).
That was it for the first. Boston otherwise had little to report, beyond some pretty strong forechecking to close out the frame.
The remaining power play yielded nothing, and in fact gave up several odd-man rushes FOR PHILLY’S KILL. Unforgivable. The rest of the second was an exercise of turn-it-over-less-than-them. Boston generally failed to sustain pressure.
Reading back through the play-by-play list in NHL’s GameCenter, you’d think you had watched a peewee game. Giveaway this, turnover that, takeaway here... sure, it’s a fast game, but puck control was not at a premium for either team.
Even when Boston received a power play late in the second, Boston STILL gave up what would have been a 2-on-0 rush before Charlie Coyle made a great laid-out play to stop the cross-pass.
Huge swing of momentum for the Bruins there.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 11, 2020
Charlie Coyle has a puck slip past him and Philly gets a 2-on-1 shorthanded look, but Coyle dives to break up the feed.
Grzelcyk scores just about a minute later. pic.twitter.com/jzXlZJ4pbc
A moment later, by the grace of Gryz, Boston was able to tally one on the tail-end of the advantage to give themselves the leg up heading into the third. Matt Grzelcyk put it home.
Matt Grzelcyk strikes first on the power play 1-0 Bruins pic.twitter.com/yS1wthWfA4— Jamie Gatlin (@JamieGatlin1217) March 11, 2020
This frame started off very run’n’gun, with rushes in both directions but solid passing-lane defense and rebound control by Boston to prevent most real scoring chances.
As the period wore on, though, the Bruins were able to apply a good amount of pressure. Amazingly, and obviously still without their second defensive pair, it was not a dump-and-chase forecheck attempt, but rather a strong neutral-zone trap and good pressure to the outside by Boston’s defense and the last forward back.
Late in the frame, things opened up quite a bit; Philly wove together a few strong rushes and cracked Boston’s neutral zone D. Just outside of five minutes to play in the game, Bergeron faked the pass to Pastrnak with a deft stickhandle and shot the puck between Philly defenseman Travis Sanheim’s leg and stick, and PHI goalie Carter Hart saw little of it. 2-0, Bruins, and Boston was afforded the luxury of forcing play towards Hart.
In the closing minutes, Claude Giroux was able to get a distance shot on net and Chara barely missed an empty-netter from 180 feet away, as did Coyle. A post deflection and some quality defense helped the B’s close out this game with a quality win.
A close game throughout, the Bruins were able to contain well, had faith in their birthday-boy goaltender, and played a solid overall game. One more on the road against the Buffalo Sabres before they’re back home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday!