After the second period, the Bruins appeared dead.
The team hadn’t scored a five-on-five goal in 11 (!!!) periods and eroded any momentum after a strong period with careless penalties. The untimely gaffs ultimately resulted in both Flyers’ goals up to that point.
All of that changed when Jack Studnicka potted his first career NHL goal, outmuscling his defender in the crease and putting the black and gold on the scoreboard. Minutes later, Charlie Coyle used superb body position to spin and fire a rocket past Carter Hart. Tie game.
The Bruins had seized all the momentum; if fans were in attendance, the roof might have blown off of TD Garden.
Just as soon as things were headed in the right direction, a puck deflected off the skate of Travis Sanheim slid past Tuukka Rask and tilted the ice back in favor of the Flyers.
Nick Ritchie capitalized on the Bruins’ next power play, finding space netfront after a loose puck. Patrice Bergeron, a savant as the bumper on the power play, was able to slide Ritchie the puck through a mass of bodies. Less than two minutes later, Brandon Carlo smashed home his first of the season to give the Bruins the lead.
Brandon Carlo gives Boston the lead. 4-3 game. pic.twitter.com/gaAkdNHvJj— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 22, 2021
Matt Grzelcyk perfectly sets this play up, gliding down to the top of the circle and drawing all three Flyers’ forwards towards him. After a quick pump-fake, the Boston University product rotated to his left and found Carlo, who uncorked a scorcher past Hart. Tie game again.
After a listless second period, the Bruins’ attack had come alive for four third-period goals. Energy abounded from the group, as the forwards were hard on pucks and attacked the dirty areas. There was a night and day difference from the first several games of the season. That being said: a minute and ten seconds later, James van Riemsdyk notched his second goal of the game, because the hockey gods clearly love chaos.
In overtime, Tuukka Rask stood on his head — that’s about all that needs to be said.
What a stop from Rask in overtime. pic.twitter.com/l8z5oMVMv7— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 22, 2021
Rask made two game-saving stops, first denying Jakub Voracek on the doorstep. A mixup in coverage allowed the Czech forward to have his own personal island in front of Rask, but Rask was up to the task of bailing out his team. Later, Rask showcased incredible lateral movement, stonewalling Kevin Hayes off of a nice cross-ice pass from Voracek.
Jake DeBrusk with the shootout winner. pic.twitter.com/e1gNJsHeHv— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 22, 2021
The Bruins, who are notoriously snake-bitten in shootouts, are now 2-0 in the contest of uncontested breakaways this season. Rask made easy work of all three Flyers’ shooters, while Jake DeBrusk showcased his silky mitts to ensure a Bruins’ victory. For DeBrusk, this must have felt great: he admittedly starts each season on the wrong foot, so to cap off a hard-fought comeback will surely give him confidence going forward.
With many bemoaning the lack of offense through the first several contests, the Bruins were able to get the monkey off their backs with a white-hot third period. Studnicka recording his inaugural NHL goal sparked the team, as if the flood gates had opened. The Bruins played with confidence, no longer overthinking plays or making an extra unnecessary pass.
Let’s see if the Bruins can continue their momentum into their Saturday clash, where they again will host the Flyers.