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Bruins Postgame: Boston Bruins Inch Past Florida into First Place



Goals by Charlie Coyle, Johnny Beecher and Jake DeBrusk less than three minutes apart early in the third period gave the Boston Bruins a 5-2 lead that they would barely hold in a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at TD Garden. Late in the second period, Coyle scored the only powerplay goal of the night.

After the Flyers closed the gap with goals from Nick Deslauriers and Morgan Frost 62 seconds part to make it a one-goal game, Danton Heinen scored the eventual game winner with 2:59 remaining. There would still be nervous moments when Joel Farabee scored his second goal of the game with 2:04 remaining in regulation time.

The win was the Bruins’ 40th of the season (40-14-15) and inched them past the 45-19-4 Florida Panthers, who lost 5-3 at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the battle for first place in the Atlantic Division and, most likely, the top seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Panthers still have a game in hand.

It was the second straight loss for the 34-26-8 Flyers, who cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Here’s your Boston Hockey Now Bruins postgame:

GOALTENDERS DUEL DOWN THE DRAIN: Felix Sandstrom and Jeremy Swayman would like to have that third period back. Through two periods, Sandstrom, who started the season fourth on the Flyers’ depth chart, had allowed but two goals on 20 Boston shots, while Swayman had allowed two goals on 18 Philadelphia shots. That all went out the window in the third period when the Bruins (mostly early) and the Flyers (mostly late) combined to score seven, third-period goals, all at even strength. Boston’s early-period surge completely changed the complexion of the hockey game from nailbiter to blowout, and the Flyers’ late-game push changed it back to nailbiter.

THE BEECHER IS BACK: Johnny Beecher, sent back to Providence (AHL) earlier this season, scored a goal and skated almost three minutes of his 14:59 ice time on the penalty kill. Perhaps mGOost importantly, Coach Jim Montgomery used Beecher for crucial, late-game defensive-zone faceoffs. He was only 5-3 on the dot for the game but performed well in the clutch.

BELIEF ON BROAD STREET: Coach John Tortorella has generated belief and a better brand of hockey from many of the same players who preceded him in Philadelphia. Yes, there have been personnel improvements and reinforcements, plus the return to health for Sean Couturier, but this is definitely Tortorella’s team. Make no mistake about it. It’s hard to imagine Rick Tocchet, an in-season replacement in Vancouver, won’t win the Jack Adams as NHL Coach of the Year, but Tortorella has done a masterful job bringing back a work ethic and winning attitude to Philadelphia.

GRAND RECEPTION: James van Riemsdyk was honored before the game for recently reaching the career 1,000-game mark. JVR played 527 of his 1,004 NHL regular-season games with the Flyers and 413 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The tributes and gifts included some from the Flyers’ Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton.

When Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic (2) took the Bruins to a fast 3-0 on the Flyers in Game 7 of their 2010 second-round playoff series, Philly coach Peter Laviolette called timeout and just told his team they were still in the game and just try to get one goal. With 2:48 remaining in the first period, van Riemsdyk scored Philadelphia, and the Bruins were never able to stop the momentum shift that ended their season after a 3-0 series lead.

NEXT UP: The Bruins continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday night against Ottawa and on Thursday against the N.Y. Rangers.

Boston Bruins Lineup


Brad Marchand – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk

James van Riemsdyk – Pavel Zacha – David Pastrnak

Danton Heinen – Trent Frederic – Morgan Geekie 

John Beecher – Jesper Boqvist – Justin Brazeau


Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy

Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo

Parker Wotherspoon – Andrew Peeke


Jeremy Swayman

Linus Ullmark

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