Three straight days of productive practices at least put the Flyers in position to challenge one of the NHL’s hottest teams on Thursday night but one of their problem areas – namely taking penalties and failing to kill them – proved their undoing.
The Flyers put up a gutsy fight with the Boston Bruins, yet two of three David Pastrnak goals were scored on power plays and the Flyers fell at TD Garden in Boston, 3-2.
Philadelphia’s winless streak reached six games (0-4-2).
One of the Flyers’ worst first periods of the season gave the Bruins just the momentum they needed to carry the action through to the finish.
A Pastrnak power-play goal, completing a hat trick, while the Flyers were two men short gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead at 16:45 of the second period. The second penalty was taken by Max Willman.
The Bruins raced to a 2-0 lead on a pair of early goals by Pastrnak. The first came at 1:51 when he managed to get a shot past goaltender Carter Hart. The second came during a Boston power play at 5:27. Pastrnak was set up by Brad Marchand, who entered the game with eight goals in his last four games.
Philadelphia finally got on the board at 8:02 of the second period. With the Flyers on a power play, Cam Atkinson managed to tip Ivan Provorov’s shot past goalie Tuukka Rask, making his first start since last June due to offseason surgery on his hip.
Then Joel Farabee tied the score off a nice give-and-go with Cam Atkinson at the 15-minute mark.
The slow start ultimately did the Flyers in. Boston had seven shots on the board before the Flyers finally got one on Rask.
Interim head coach Mike Yeo gave the impression his team gave Boston all it could handle but still can’t seem to put together a consistent 60 minutes.
“You want to go out there and you want to establish some momentum, you want to make sure you win your battles,’’ Yeo said in reference to the Flyers’ slow start. “You want to win the one-on-one battles right off the hop. The first (Boston) goal, we had some one-on-ones we didn’t win. Not just the start, but every shift through the course of the game, you have to treat like it’s going to be the difference in the game.’’
Travis Sanheim just returned from COVID protocol, so this was his first game action and, like the team, looked a little sluggish at the start.
“They (the Bruins) played last night so maybe they had a little more jump early on,’’ said Sanheim, mindful that Tuesday’s postponement of the Carolina game left the Flyers without game action since last Saturday. “Our execution wasn’t there, we were a little sloppy. It ended up costing up that first goal. When you give a team that good on the power play a chance, they’re going to capitalize.’’
Atkinson did not give the Flyers’ first period a high rating.
“That was probably our worst period in a long, long time,’’ he said. “I’m not sure if it’s the time off, guys haven’t played in a long time, coming off protocol but no excuses. We did the exact opposite of what our game plan told us to do. A slow start for us.’’
>Giroux named to All-Star Game
Claude Giroux was named to next month’s NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas as the Flyers’ representative to the Metropolitan Division roster.
It will be Giroux’s seventh All-Star appearance. The only Metropolitan Division player topping that is Alex Ovechkin, who will be appearing in his eighth.
Also, Atkinson is the Flyers’ designated “last man in.’’ He can be named via fans’ voting.
>Emotional visit for Hayes
Kevin Hayes made his first appearance in his hometown of Boston since the death of his brother, ex-NHL player Jimmy Hayes last August from a drug overdose.
It was an emotional day for Kevin. At the morning skate he visited with his nephew, Beau (Jimmy’s son), who is two years old.
“He was my biggest supporter,’’ Kevin said of Jimmy. “It’s not a relationship that a lot of people have. We grew up in Dorchester, a little blue collar town. It’s a town where everyone kind of has your back. We both made the NHL and it was cool to see little kids wearing Hayes jerseys.’’
Pastrnak’s second power-play goal gives him 75th of his career. That moves him past the legendary Bobby Orr on the Bruins’ alltime list. . .The Flyers’ Zack MacEwen tried to get the Flyers fired up by starting a fight with Tyler Lewington. . .Marchand had a hat trick in the Bruins’ previous game. It’s the first time Boston has had back-to-back hat tricks in 40 years.