By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
A return to an under-construction TD Garden on Monday night showed that these Bruins are still under construction themselves, as the Bruins let a third-period lead slip in ugly fashion, but successfully recovered in time to defeat Brian Elliott and the Philadelphia Flyers by a 4-3 overtime final.
Now, in the Bruins' defense, this was a game that featured just two of their NHL regulars on the backend in Zdeno Chara (working his way back from offseason jaw and elbow surgeries) and Connor Clifton, but was a contest highlighted by the Black and Gold's defensive-zone miscues and carelessness with the puck that nearly caught up to them.
But before they ran into d-zone trouble, Boston actually opened the game's scoring off a straight-up beautiful goal from Jakub Lauko.
Jumpstarted on a self-pass off the Garden boards through the Flyers' Mark Friedman, Lauko found all the space needed to go upstairs and beat Elliott upstairs on what was an absolute snipe. Lauko, a 2018 third-round pick and highly excitable prospect with wheels (and then some), wasted no time in unleashing a celebration that would've made you think it was June.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 23, 2019
The Flyers tied things up just 3:12 after the Lauko strike, though, James van Riemsdyk fed Travis Konecny in the slot for a goal that beat an outstretched Tuukka Rask for an even 1-1 mark through the first period. Philadelphia's goal came on what felt like a chaotic, fast-and-loose stretch for the B's, and with Zdeno Chara unable to deny JVR's pass to Konecny.
But it was Boston's top-line one-two on the wings that got them back in front, as Brad Marchand struck to put the Bruins up 2-1, just 63 seconds into the middle frame. It would hold as the lone goal of the second period, too, as Rask turned away all 10 shots thrown his way, while Elliott managed to stop four of five Boston shots on goal.
In net for his second relief appearance against the Flyers in less than a week, Daniel Vladar was given absolutely no love when a Grade-A Philly chance bounced off his post, and then swam around the Boston net in time for the Flyers' Carsen Twarynski to clean up the garbage for the game-tying goal just 4:42 into the third period.
It actually got worse for Vladar, too, as Trent Frederic tipped what was intended to be a centering pass from Connor Bunnaman into his own net, putting the Flyers up by one by way of a power-play own-goal with 13:14 left in the third period.
The Bruins were never quite able to get their offensive game back on track after squandering their one-goal lead, and struggled to generate second-chance looks against a Philadelphia defense that was more than happy to play keepaway.
...That was until Sean Kuraly fed Chris Wagner on a two-on-one that allowed the Walpole, Mass. native to tuck a puck under Elliott and into the Philadelphia net for a tie game with just 1:46 remaining to play.
Onto overtime, Kevin Hayes had two looks on a breakaway, but was stopped by Vladar on both, and Hayes promptly took a penalty against Wagner to send Boston to the man advantage. And as the puck trickled out from under Elliott's pads, it was Jake DeBrusk who was there to knock the puck into the net and send a half-full Garden crowd home happy.
Rask played the first 40 minutes of this game and stopped 16-of-17 shots thrown his way.
The Bruins had three forwards finish the night with at least two points, as Marchand finished with a goal and an assist while Pastrnak and David Backes each finished with two helpers.
Bruins center David Krejci, meanwhile, left the game due to what the team has termed a lower-body injury. The veteran Boston pivot appeared to tweak something in a pile-up in front of the Philadelphia net in the first period.
This appears to be where David Krejci got hurt pic.twitter.com/XdLX6e2AdC
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) September 24, 2019
This is a situation worth monitoring, obviously, especially given Krejci's unfortunate history when it comes to knee injuries. Krejci is coming off a 73-point season in 2018-19, which matched a previous career-high set in 2008-09.
The Bruins are back at it Wednesday night at TD Garden against the Devils.