Thanks to three first-period goals, the B’s took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room after 20 minutes, less than a week after they blew the same lead in a game against the Washington Capitals. There would be no relapse and thus no such collapse on Saturday, though, as Boston held on to win 3-0.
All in all, it’s a good win for the Bruins, a win that returns them to the top of the Northeast Division standings. It wasn’t necessarily impressive or too dominant, but it’s a win nonetheless.
Tuukka Rask, making his first appearance since Tuesday and his first against the Flyers since Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, made sure the B’s didn’t blow this lead. Rask stopped all 23 Philadelphia shots he faced for his second shutout of the season, the 13th of his career.
However, the goalie wasn’t going to look back — on either collapse.
“I mean it’s in the past and as I’ve said before we won the whole thing the year after,” Rask said. “Things happen in hockey and for a goalie if you start thinking that certain matchups are better for you than the others then you’re lost half the battle so it was just a game like any other.”
Of course, it’s not like Rask was tested all that much Sunday, either. The Flyers had just 12 shots through two periods, and had only a handful of scoring opportunities. Their best chance may have come in the third period on the power play, but Jakub Voracek rang the goalpost on an unsuccessful try.
The goalie gave credit to his teammates for limiting the chances, and Claude Julien agreed that the defensive effort was improved after some lapses that helped lead to losses to both Washington and Montreal.
“Today was probably the first day that I felt much better about our game without the puck in our defensive zone,” he explained. “We didn’t give much. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances, and obviously we got two tough games — Ottawa, who’s playing extremely well, still, and Pittsburgh on the road. We’ll need that kind of game to win those.”
The offense was stagnant for much of the afternoon, but for two minutes and 18 seconds in the first period, the B’s simply couldn’t miss. Boston scored on three consecutive shots in a 138-second span, and that was more than enough against a hapless Flyers team that held a team meeting following its third straight loss.
Even more encouraging was where the scoring came from. The first goal, scored by Tyler Seguin, came on the power play. And while the Bruins have been leaning heavy on the first and second lines of late, the bottom two lines both chipped in with goals on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Caron jump-started the third line with an assist on Chris Kelly‘s goal in the first period. Then all three members of the fourth line got a point on Daniel Paille‘s goal just seconds later.
“There’s been no mistake about it, that our top two lines have been generating all the scoring for us,” Kelly said. “It was nice to contribute — my line and [Gregory Campbell's] line — to not necessarily give [the top two lines] a night off, but relieve some of the pressure because we can’t rely on them each and every night to produce.”
That’s going to be key for the Bruins coming up. They start a treacherous stretch of five games in seven days on Monday, and if they want to come out of that atop the standings like they are right now, they’re going to need even more of what propelled them to victory Saturday.