The Boston Bruins (7-1-2, 16 pts) and Philadelphia Flyers (7-2-2, 16 pts) will battle it out again for first place in the East Division tonight (7:05 PM ET, (NESN, NBCSP, NHLN, TVAS, Sportsnet), at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
After another thrilling third period comeback and a 4-3 overtime win on Wednesday, the Bruins will try to sweep another two-game set from the Flyers after taking two from them at TD Garden last week. Since that Flyers sweep two weeks ago, the Boston Bruins are 3-0-1 and they haven’t lost in regulation since they fell to the New York Islanders 1-0 on January 18. The Bruins are 6-0-1 over that span.
Tuukka Rask (4-1-1, 2.57 GAA, .888 save percentage) will get his second straight start for the Bruins and there are no expected lineup changes for the visitors. The Flyers, however, will turn to Brian Elliot (3-0-0, 2.22 GAA, .932 save percentage) between the pipes after Carter Hart took the loss on Wednesday.
– Since David Pastrnak returned from offseason hip surgery last Saturday, he has five goals and two assists in three games. He has 19 shots on goal and three of those went in Wednesday for his ninth career hat trick. While his ‘Perfection Linemates’ Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron weren’t quiet by any means when Pastrnak was out for the first seven games of the season but Bergeron exploded for a four-point night Wednesday, assisting on all three Pastrnak tallies and scoring the overtime winner.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy loves watching his top forward trio and he’s not about to fix something that’s far from broken.
“It’s nice to watch when they are on,” Cassidy said following the win Wednesday. “Honestly, the question is do we need to get some other guys going? Do we need to break them up to help other guys? Listen, we’ve debated it back and forth and I’m sure we will as the year goes on. But right now let’s just enjoy it.”
– With another third period comeback win on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins have now come back in the third period three times and won and four times to gain a point. While there is no doubt their no quit mentality is a positive sign, they’re not about to rest on their comeback laurels.
“I think we’re definitely not satisfied,” Bergeron told the media following the Bruins’ gameday skate on Friday. “You’re definitely happy with the leadership in there and the resilience that we showed to get back in games. I think we’re always in games, which is a good sign, and we don’t quit, but that being said, we’ve definitely talked about making sure we play for the full length of a game.
We do have some good starts but maybe we need to find ways to put teams out by getting a second and third goal. …or a first goal to start games. I think that would be something that would definitely make a difference. Like I said, we like our fight or our will to not give up but we don’t sit on that; we’re not satisfied. We know that it can’t happen every time because it’s gonna hurt us at some point.”
– The Bruins went 3-for-4 on the powerplay Wednesday and are now 12-for-34 on the man advantage. The Bruins powerplay is fifth-best in the league with a 35.3 success rate. The Bruins penalty kill was perfect Wednesday as they killed off both Flyers powerplays. The Bruins PK has now allowed seven powerplay goals on 45 powerplay attempts against them. Their 88.9-percent success rate is second only to the 89.7 success rate of the Colorado Avalanche. With the Avalanche out of commission for at least a week, there’s a good chance the Bruins penalty kill will be the best in the league soon.
– Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) is day-to-day and forwards Jake DeBrusk (lower-body) and Jack Studnicka (undisclosed), as well as, Ondrej Kase (upper-body), are on injured reserve. DeBrusk and Grzelcyk have been skating for the last three days and could be nearing a return.
– Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere certainly didn’t appear to stabilize the Flyers blue line Wednesday when he got turned inside out by David Pastrnak on Pastrnak’s first of three goals but the folks at Broad Street Hockey seem to think otherwise.
– 2020 Selke Trophy Award winner Sean Couturier (ribs) remains on injured reserve but has been skating with the taxi squad the last three days. Forwards Morgan Frost (shoulder) is also on the IR list and out indefinitely while forward Wade Allison (unfit to play) remains on injured reserve too but is listed as day-to-day.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Chris Wagner
Anton Blidh – Sean Kuraly – Anders Bjork
Extras: Par Lindholm
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Connor Clifton – Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril – Kevan Miller
Extras: John Moore
Philadelphia Flyers Lines
Claude Giroux – Nolan Patrick – Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom – Kevin Hayes – Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk – Scott Laughton – Joel Farabee
Michael Raffl – Connor Bunnaman – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim – Philippe Myers
Erik Gustafsson – Justin Braun