BOSTON — A strong start Wednesday night preceded yet another lackluster home-ice finish for the Boston Bruins.
On the heels of consecutive wins away from TD Garden, Boston led the Philadelphia Flyers by two goals in the third period but could not hold on in an eventual 5-4 overtime loss.
David Krejci continued his torrid point-scoring pace, and Patrice Bergeron, playing just hours after the birth of his first child, contributed a goal and an assist, but it was not enough as the Bruins fell to 0-3-1 at home this season.
It did not take either offense long to settle in.
The Flyers earned an early scoring chance on a rare bad turnover by Krejci, and Jimmy Hayes, Torey Krug and Bergeron all tested Philadelphia netminder Michal Neuvirth in the game’s opening minutes.
Sandwiched between Krug’s and Bergeron’s bids was the game’s first goal. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask saved Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s initial shot but couldn’t kick aside Bellemare’s backhanded followup.
Exactly four minutes later, it was Boston’s turn. Brett Connolly did the honors, firing a juicy Patrice Bergeron rebound past Neuvirth for his first goal as a Bruin.
After Sam Gagner zinged a wrist shot past Rask to put the Flyers ahead 2-1, the Bruins’ top-ranked power-play unit went to work. With Claude Giroux in the box on a high-sticking double minor, Bergeron batted in a rebound to tie the score once again.
It was Bergeron’s NHL-leading fourth power-play goal of the season, and his third in Boston’s last two games.
Things took a negative turn in the period’s final moments, however, as Bruins winger Zac Rinaldo was assessed a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct for a high, late hit on Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier.
Rinaldo, playing against his former team for the first time, logged just 2:56 of ice time before being ejected.
The Flyers began the second with a five-minute power play and a new goaltender, but substitute Steve Mason initially fared no better than Neuvirth.
It took just two shots on goal for the Bruins to beat Mason, with Chris Kelly deflecting a Loui Eriksson shot past him for a shorthanded goal.
Hayes then stretched Boston’s advantage to 4-2 by sneaking a poor-angle shot underneath Mason’s pads. The tally was the local Bostonian’s first on home ice this season.
Krejci, who was skating without usual linemate Matt Beleskey (upper body injury), picked up another assist on Hayes’ goal, upping his league-leading point total to 11.
The second half of the period was largely uneventful, save for a brief scuffle between Brad Marchand and Luke Schenn that was broken up before either party could throw any real punches.
David Pastrnak nearly potted an insurance goal seven minutes into the final frame but was denied thanks to an excellent effort by Mason. Officials reviewed the play but ruled the puck did not cross the goal line.
The no-goal proved costly for Boston. Giroux scored less than two minutes later to cut the Flyers’ deficit to one, and Wayne Simmonds followed with a top-shelf snipe that tied the game at four goals apiece.
Neither team could push across a fifth goal in regulation, resulting in the Bruins’ first overtime game of the regular season.
Ryan Spooner was whistled for holding at the 1:26 mark of the extra session, giving the Flyers a 4-on-3 power play for two minutes. They needed just 33 seconds, as Giroux fired a one-timer from the left circle past Rask to end it.
The Bruins travel to Brooklyn for the first time this Friday for a date with the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images