By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Powered by four goals, some sensational overtime play from Tuukka Rask, and a beauty of a Jake DeBrusk shootout tally, the Bruins did the once unthinkable and improved to 2-0 in the shootout in 2021 by way of a 5-4 final over the Flyers.
Now, to say it had been a while since the Bruins last scored an even-strength goal would have been an understatement.
Trapped in a brutal cold spell to begin their 2021 season, the Bruins’ five-on-five drought to begin 2021 almost hit the 160-minute mark before Jack Studnicka finally put the Bruins on the board less than a minute into the third period of Thursday’s head-to-head with the Flyers. In addition to this being the first goal of Studnicka’s NHL career, Studnicka’s tally ended what was actually a 267:38 game between even-strength goals for the Bruins, with the last one before Studnicka came with David Krejci’s game-tying goal in the third period of Boston’s season-ending, double-overtime Game 5 loss to the Lightning.
(If you were surprised, you weren’t alone. The TD Garden goal horn was about five seconds late to the red light as well.)
The Bruins built off Studnicka’s score, too, as it was a spin-and-shoot from third-line center Charlie Coyle that knotted things up at 2-2 just 1:09 after the Black and Gold’s first tally of the evening.
Charlie Coyle ties it.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 22, 2021
Good play by Craig Smith to keep that puck in. pic.twitter.com/oyHSjFoziV
It was the guns blazing start to the third period that came with an intermission call to action from their bench boss.
“Great to see them respond,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the win. “What was said in the room [during the second intermission] is that we’re too easy to play against offensively. We discussed a couple of ways we can get better, harder to play against, and in a little forceful manner so the message gets across.”
But the good times were short-lived, or so you thought, with an ugly Travis Sanheim redirect through Rask just five minutes and seven seconds later, which left the Bruins chasing for the second time.
A power play opportunity put the Bruins back in striking range, and Nick Ritchie capitalized to bring the Bruins back even, and a Brandon Carlo bomb less than two minutes later gave Boston their first lead of the evening.
James van Riemsdyk countered for one final punch back, however, with the power-play finish that sent this game to overtime, and the Bruins to their third overtime in four games this season.
And before DeBrusk’s aforementioned shootout winner, the Bruins were saved by those Rask stops, with a beautiful stop on Philly’s Jakub Voracek and then a pad-stop on Dorchester’s Kevin Hayes in the three-on-three session.
Rask finished with 22 saves and stopped all three shootout shots for his second win of the season, while the Flyers’ Carter Hart took the loss behind a 39-of-43 performance.
Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk suited up after exiting Monday’s loss to the Islanders early with an undisclosed injury and logged 19:11, and appeared to avoid further injury trouble on what was a scary-looking corner collision with the Flyers’ Scott Laughton in the second period. Grzelcyk did not appear in the overtime though, but that was with the Bruins looking to prevent Grzelcyk from putting himself in a bad spot and any additional discomfort.
The Bruins and Flyers will have a rematch at TD Garden on Saturday night.