Bruins Wrap: B’s Drop Round-Robin Opener With Sleepy 4-1 Loss To Flyers


August 2, 2020

The hope for the Boston Bruins was Thursday’s exhibition game was nothing more than a meaningless aberration. And while the time for panic has yet to arrive, there wasn’t much of an improvement for the Black and Gold in their playoff opener Sunday.

The Bruins turned in another largely listless effort in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round-robin matchup for each team as part of the Stanley Cup playoffs seeding round for the Eastern Conference’s top teams.

Here’s how it all went down.

Neither the Bruins nor the Flyers had played a real, meaningful NHL game in the four months leading up to Sunday. While it wasn’t the worst hockey you’ve ever seen, the signs of rust were evident early.

Players looked like they had good legs, but the hands just weren’t there. It’s also unclear how much the ice conditions affected play early.

A scoreless first period wasn’t without scoring chances, though. While Boston outshot Philly 12-6, the Flyers had the two best scoring chances. The first came when James van Riemsdyk slipped in the slot behind Boston defenders but was stopped point-blank by Jaroslav Halak. Minutes later, on the penalty kill, Halak got a little help from the post when Claude Giroux rang the iron on a blistering shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.

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It took more than 25 minutes, but the Flyers struck first when Michael Raffl beat Halak with a nifty little backhander. Raffl got that chance because of the Bruins’ inability to clear the zone.

The Flyers didn’t wait long to pad their lead. Less than four minutes after Raffl’s tally, Nate Thompson increased Philly’s advantage to two with a shot that might have deflected off the shoulder of B’s defenseman Jeremy Lauzon. If the puck didn’t hit Lauzon, he might have been screening Halak anyway, as Thompson’s shot beat the Boston netminder over his left shoulder.

The Bruins finally got on the board late in the second period and looked destined to build some momentum heading into the dressing room. Chris Wagner found the back of the net, shoving one by Carter Hart on a wraparound attempt that cut the Flyers’ lead in half.

BUT … 
That one-goal deficit lasted all of eight seconds. On the ensuing faceoff following the Wagner goal, the Flyers pushed the lead back to two when Philippe Myers rifled one by Halak to make it a 3-1 game after two.

Things went from bad to worse in the third period for the Bruins, as the Flyers didn’t wait long to pad their lead. Scott Laughton put the game out of reach with a textbook wrist shot, picking the corner up above Halak’s left glove hand. Laughton took advantage of a 2-on-1 break that originated after Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo tried to pinch down on a puck at the Philly blue line. Carlo couldn’t make the play, though, and the gamble led to the odd-man rush that produced the goal.

The B’s try to get back on track as round-robin play continues.

The Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning square off in Toronto on Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 4 p.m. ET.

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