The Philadelphia Flyers entered Wednesday night’s game with the fewest points in the NHL, but the Boston Bruins sure had their proverbial hands full with them.
Sean Couturier posted a hat trick as the Bruins fell 4-3 to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. It was the Bruins’ second straight loss after an overtime defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, and the third in their last four games.
Peter Cehlarik (twice) and David Pastrnak had the goals for Boston, while Oskar Lindblom accounted for the Flyers’ non-Couturier tally.
Jaroslav Halak turned away 15 shots for the Bruins, while Philly netminder Carter Hart made 39 saves.
The Bruins fell to 26-16-5 with the loss, while the Flyers climbed to 18-23-6 with the win.
Here’s how it all went down:
B’S CLAIM EARLY ADVANTAGE
The Bruins got on the board early and added to the advantage to go into the break up 2-1.
With Jori Lehtera in the penalty box at 4:14 for tripping Brandon Carlo, it didn’t take the Bruins long to convert. Torey Krug skated down the wing and threw a beautiful no-look pass cross-ice to Pastrnak at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Pastrnak one-timed the puck, which deflected off Hart and into the net at 4:39 for an early tally.
The Bruins doubled their advantage later in the period, thanks again to a deft pass.
As Jake DeBrusk skated along the left wing and to the bottom of the face-off circle, he pivoted and slid a puck across the slot to Cehlarik in the opposite face-off circle. Cehlarik — who was recalled from the AHL on Tuesday — finished the one-timer at 9:12.
It was Cehlarik’s first goal of the season and second of his career.
The Flyers wouldn’t go into the break scoreless, however.
Claude Giroux gathered a loose puck right at the blue line, and turned and found Lindblom. After a heavy first touch, Lindblom secured the puck in the left face-off circle and wristed Philly’s first goal past Halak on his short side.
FLYERS GRAB LEAD
The Bruins saw their lead wiped away, and by the end of the middle 20 minutes they were trailing.
The Flyers found the equalizer less than six minutes into the second period.
Jakub Voracek unleashed a shot from the point, and as it sailed toward the net it just barely redirected off the stick of Couturier, but it was enough to sneak it past Halak at 5:32.
Just over a minute later the Flyers took the lead, thanks again to Couturier.
With the Bruins on the penalty kill, Sean Kuraly got a chance at a shot on a 2-on-1, but was denied by Hart. The Flyers got possession and began the transition, with Couturier finding Giroux as they skated into their attacking zone. Giroux then hit Wayne Simmonds with a pass at the right face-off dot, and Simmonds quickly hit Couturier on the doorstep, and the 26-year-old tipped it past Halak.
The Bruins got an opportunity on the power play late in the frame, with Lehtera receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for an egregious boarding of Ryan Donato. Boston couldn’t convert by the time the horn sounded, but 1:48 remained on the advantage to begin the final frame.
COUTURIER SECURES HATTIE
In the final period it almost felt like the Flyers were begging the Bruins to score. Entering the game, Philadelphia was fourth-worst in the league on the penalty kill, while the B’s were second-best on the man advantage. But despite the Flyers spending 5:48 of the third period in the penalty box, Boston couldn’t find the tying goal to force overtime.
The Bruins had a prime opportunity to level the score to begin the period, but couldn’t make good use of the remaining 1:48 on the Lehtera major. They got another opportunity shortly thereafter when Philly was penalized for too many men on the ice at 3:39, but they couldn’t cash in on that chance, either. Scott Laughton served two minutes when he hooked Pastrnak at 12:00, but Boston couldn’t find a goal in that opportunity.
All those missed opportunities caught up to the Bruins, as Couturier secured his hat trick at 15:53.
As Couturier dashed through the attacking zone and into the left face-off circle, he wristed a shot that went just under Halak’s pad and sent the arena into a frenzy.
The Bruins didn’t totally lie down, however. With 1:06 left in the game and their net empty, Boston pulled back within one.
Brad Marchand threw a puck on net from the far edge of the right face-off circle, and Cehlarik was on the doorstep to redirect it past Hart.
The Bruins emptied their net again but couldn’t tie it up.
The Bruins will return home for a tilt with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET.
This Bruins Wrap is presented by Plainridge Park Casino.