By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
One exhibition game wasn't enough to knock four months of rust off the Bruins' blades, as a sluggish effort saw the Bruins drop their first game of their round-robin tournament, 4-1 to the Flyers.
This wasn't the start from the Bruins, however, as the B's came out with a strong burst, and fired 12 shots on the Flyers' Carter Hart in the opening 20 minutes of play. The Flyers, meanwhile, were able to land just six shots on Jaroslav Halak, and the 35-year-old Halak came up with a beauty of a sliding stop on Philly's lone strong chance of the opening period.
But the ice flipped in the second period, with the Flyers broke through on a Michael Raffl goal that had the Bruins pinned in their zone for entirely too long, and it was a Nate Thompson knuckler that made it 2-0 at the 9:31 mark of the period.
With shots at a premium against the Flyers' Hart, the Bruins would finally answer before the end of the period, with a Chris Wagner net-front putaway with 1:09 remaining in the middle frame.
Chris Wagner gets the #NHLBruins on the board with a gorgeous play. pic.twitter.com/IbgvvYbJTH
It felt like a mountain of pressure coming off the Black and Gold, but it was short-lived, with the Flyers' Phil Myers ripping a look through Halak just eight seconds later, giving the Bullies a two-goal edge through 40.
And the third period did not come with a pushback from the Bruins.
In fact, the Bruins saw their deficit increase to three on a Scott Laughton strike through Halak at the 4:07 mark, and Boston didn't land their first shot of the third until Jack Studnicka's wrister landed on Hart's pads at the 9:39 mark of the period.
The Bruins were gifted a power play to bring themselves back within striking distance midway through the period, but failed to land a shot on goal over that two-minute stretch. Their best chance would have come on Torey Krug's set-up pass to David Pastrnak in the 48-goal scorer's wheelhouse, but Pastrnak opted for a slap-pass attempt towards Hart's far post instead of a shot.
It was about as ugly as it could get for the Bruins.
And that lack of urgency and energy following the first intermission was really where the game was lost for the Bruins.
After an energetic start, the Bruins landed just eight shots on goal in the middle frame, and only seemed to get through to Hart in the final frame with the game decided. The lack of production from Boston's Perfection Line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand remains an issue as the trio continued to look out of sync, too, and finished with just one shot at five-on-five play. Boston's power play, meanwhile, went 0-for-3 on the man advantage.
Stepping in for an ill Tuukka Rask, Halak finished with 25 saves on 29 shots in the a effort, while Hart stonewalled the B's and turned aside 33-of-34 shots by the afternoon's end.
In addition to Rask, the Bruins remained without deadline additions Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase. Forward Par Lindholm and defenseman John Moore made up the team's other notable healthy scratches.
The Bruins will return to action for their second round-robin tournament game on Wednesday against the Lightning.