When the Philadelphia Flyers were on 24/7 a couple of years ago, hockey fans learned that the Flyers’ win song when they got back to the dressing room after a victory was Mac Miller‘s “Knock, Knock.” The Bruins were in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon, but they didn’t knock — the B’s just blew the Flyers’ doors off.
The B’s gave one of their best showings of the year in their first matchup of the season with their longtime rival. Boston dump-trucked the Flyers 6-1 and have now won three of its last four. The five-goal rout may have been the Bruins’ most complete effort of the season. That claim may be hindered a little bit by the fact that it appeared as if “playing a hockey game” was No. 3,239 on the Flyers’ list of things they wanted to be doing on Saturday afternoon.
The Flyers were hapless, sure, but the Bruins took full advantage of that. There was little, if anything that the B’s could complain about. Boston’s six-goal outburst tied their biggest offensive showing of the season. The power play scored three goals. The first line — keyed by four points from Jarome Iginla — was dominant. Patrice Bergeron had arguably his best game of the season. Tuukka Rask was solid. And on, and on, and on.
The Bruins rewarded their coach’s decision to cut back on the workload this week as well. Boston had four days between its win Monday over Los Angeles and Saturday’s win over the Flyers. During that stretch, Claude Julien gave the Bruins two full days off. They got back to work Thursday and Friday and came out looking refreshed against Philadelphia.
“It’s definitely right up there [among the team’s best games of the season],” Iginla told NESN’s Jamie Erdahl after the game. “Right from the first shift we were into it and every line was ready to go. You don’t get many breaks during a season and when you get it, you want to make the most of it. You also want to show the coach you can handle it. We were fortunate to get a couple of good days off from the ice and a couple of good days of practice.”
Perhaps the Bruins’ most encouraging development from the blowout win was the breakout performance of Iginla and the rest of the Bruins’ first line. Iginla, David Krejci and Milan Lucic had combined for just two goals and four assists since Jan. 7, a seven-game stretch. The club’s top line combined for two goals and six assists on Saturday alone. Most of that came from Iginla who totaled four points with two goals and two assists.
Three of those points — a goal and two assists — for Iginla came on the power play. The Boston power play was fantastic against a Philly team that entered the game with the league’s fifth-ranked penalty kill. The B’s ended up potting three power-play goals, including two in a span of 55 seconds in the third period to put the game away. It’s also probably not a coincidence that the B’s looked better with the man-advantage on the same day Dougie Hamilton returned to the lineup. When Hamilton was out with a concussion, Zdeno Chara had to man the point on the second power-play unit. With Hamilton back, Chara was able to go back in front on the first unit. That paid immediate dividends as Chara scored two power-play goals and was on the ice for Iginla’s power-play tally as well.
The Bruins were in a very enviable position on Saturday, and they took full advantage of it. They have seven games left before the Olympic break, and if they can continue to build on the way they’re playing right now, they’ll enter their next break in a very, very good spot.
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