It took ’em until the eighth and final game of their 2021 season head-to-head, but the Flyers emerged victorious over the Bruins in regulation Saturday by a 3-2 final at the Wells Fargo Center.
Up 1-0 early in the first period behind Patrice Bergeron’s 16th goal of the season (and his eighth in as many games against the Flyers this season), the Bruins found themselves in a 2-1 hole through 20 minutes behind goals from Travis Konecny and a power-play tally from Shayne Gostisbehere within a 5:55 stretch.
Travis Konecny draws a penalty and then sets up Shayne Gostisbehere for the score. pic.twitter.com/ukYPmxSOGT— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) April 10, 2021
The Bruins answered in the middle frame however, thanks a Jake DeBrusk top-shelf blast through Brian Elliott, and entered the second intermission in a 2-2 draw with the Flyers and with momentum seemingly on their side.
Jake DeBrusk ties things up with his fourth goal of the season.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 10, 2021
2-2 game. pic.twitter.com/ghwbExqOEX
But it took just one over-aggressive push from Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman for the Flyers to pounce, as Swayman jumped out of his crease to challenge a potential Joel Farabee shot only to see Farabee slide the puck to his right and to Sean Couturier for a wide-open look at the Boston net. And Couturier did not miss en route to his 12th goal of the year.
“His style is to be aggressive, and it’s worked out for him to this point,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Swayman’s style. “I don’t mind him being aggressive. He’ll learn what he can and can’t get away with. He’ll find his groove in that regard, and we’ll just have to allow him to find the time to do that.”
The Bruins would have a pair of power-play opportunities after the Couturier strike — Kevin Hayes was whistled for an iffy-at-best crosscheck moments after the go-ahead goal and Ivan Provorov was called for a trip with 8:15 remaining regulation — but the Bruins failed to beat Elliott on the man advantage or at all in a 10-shot third period.
It finished as a 30-of-32 performance for Elliott, while Swayman took his first NHL loss with a 20-save performance.
The Bruins lost another defenseman in this contest, too, as Matt Grzelcyk was knocked out of play in the first period with an apparent upper-body injury. Grzelcyk has already missed 13 games this season, and the Bruins did not have an update on the 5-foot-9 defender after the loss, with Cassidy noting that he’s simply day-to-day for now.
It sets up the Bruins for what will be a seriously shorthanded group Sunday night against Washington, as the Bruins will have Grzelcyk to an injury report already featuring Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy, and with Kevan Miller (coming off a long absence due to knee discomfort) expected to sit out as it’s the second leg of a back-to-back.
Barring a call to Providence, the Bruins have Jarred Tinordi and Jack Ahcan on deck as potential options for Sunday.
With the win, the Flyers moved within four points of the Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East Division, though it’s worth mentioning that the Bruins do have two games in hand.
The Bruins will head home for a Sunday night meeting with the Capitals.