By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Bruins winger Peter Cehlarik scored two goals and training camp invite Lee Stempniak totaled three points as the Bruins wrapped up the road portion of their 2018 preseason with a 4-3 final over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
Matched up against the Flyers’ Brian Elliott, it was the 23-year-old Cehlarik that first got the Bruins on the board, as he tucked a rebound off a Stempniak look through Elliott just 4:15 into the first period.
And in what finished as a first period that favored the Bruins in shots by a 13-8 mark, a point shot from Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo beat Elliott cleanly, as Cehlarik battled with Flyers d-man Andrew MacDonald to provide the perfect screen.
Cehlarik did receive credit for this distraction, of course, with a secondary assist, while Stempniak picked up the primary helper for his fourth assist in the last two games, and the Black and Gold carried a 2-0 edge into the first intermission.
On the kill in the middle frame, a shorthanded breakaway tally from Chris Wagner was enough to make it 3-0, while Stempniak scored his first goal of the preseason 2:05 into the third period to make it a four-zip edge for the B’s.
Down by four, the Flyers began to generate some offensive momentum, and scored three goals in 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
But Bruins netminder Daniel Vladar, who was downright under siege for the final two periods of play (the Flyers outshot the Bruins 29-15 from there) continued his strong preseason, with stops on all but three of 37 shots thrown his way.
The Bruins will now wrap up their preseason with two straight home games beginning Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings and concluding Saturday afternoon against the Flyers.
Notes and nonsense
– This sounds insane, but the Bruins almost have too many players.
Camp invite Lee Stempniak now has one goal and four assists in his last two games, and Cehlarik’s net-front ability is something the Bruins could certainly use, especially with the offseason departure of Rick Nash. Unfortunately for both these players (and the Bruins), they play on the wing, where the Black and Gold seem relatively loaded with capable players.
– One of the things you had to love from this game was the offensive-zone patience from two of the Bruins’ NHL-caliber defensemen (Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk). Boston’s first goal came as a result of Grzelcyk surveying his options and finding Stempniak all alone, and the second goal came with Carlo roaming the blue line and firing a wrister through traffic.
I think in the case of both players, the Bruins have asked for more offensive consistency.
Now, in the case of Carlo, that’s tough to come by when he’s asked to be beyond a stay-at-home presence when on a pairing with Torey Krug. But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wants to at least know that Carlo is thinking about taking offensive chances. Grzelcyk, meanwhile, needs the results like you saw tonight to take his game to the next level as a fringe second-pair talent.
As a quick aside, Grzelcyk saw over eight minutes of five-on-five play against Claude Giroux on Monday night, and you can’t tell me that that wasn’t Cassidy gauging the level of competition that he can play the second-year NHLer against come October.
– Hard to find many possession wins for the Bruins tonight considering the way the Flyers turned the heat up on the Bruins for the final 40 minutes of play. But one player that seemed to hack it against an NHL-heavy Philly group? Trent Frederic, who won 7 of 11 faceoffs and finished with a plus-2 in 15:18 of time on ice. I’m still not sure if he’s done enough to bump Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson out of a spot, but the gap should be narrowed after tonight’s performance, even if it’s just by a little bit.
– ‘Gritty,’ the first mascot in Philadelphia Flyers history, made his debut tonight — and boy did it not disappoint. A seven-foot tall creature with googly eyes, ‘Gritty’ got off to a hot start with an on-ice tumble.
i regret to inform you things are not off to a great start for Gritty. pic.twitter.com/PuCuCuXPTY— Autumnal Blinn (@NHLBlinn) September 25, 2018
I’m officially on board with a whole season of this.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.