BITTER BIRDS
The Flyers Beat the Bruins in a Wild 9-Round Shootout
By Adele Tippett Last night’s game against the 12-10-0 Boston Bruins started with the 10-10-3 Flyers leading at the end of the first period for only the fifth time this season. It began with a miss from Michael Raffl on a wide open net. It didn’t take long for the Flyers to gain possession and come back with a bullet from Shayne Gostisbehere that Bruins goaltender Tukka Rask blocked. Raffl, not catching a break, received a slashing penalty, sending the Bruins to a power play. Steve Mason came up huge, effectively aiding in killing the penalty and saving two incredible shots on a 2-on-1 earlier in the period. Not long after the penalty, Flyers regained control which led to a top-shelf goal from the no longer healthy scratch, Michael Del Zotto. Raffl, after a shaky start, is the one who draws a slashing penalty, sending the Flyers on a power play. With good pressure from the the first unit, it was captain Claude Giroux who snuck the puck behind Rask with a dirty one-timer, bringing the score to 2-0 with less than five minutes left. Mason ended the period saving 19 shots compared to Rask’s nine. The second period started with a power play on a high-sticking penalty. The Flyers couldn’t get past Rask, despite the good pressure from the first and second units. Travis Konecny continued to dazzle with his swift stick skills and ended up maneuvering through three Bruins before getting a shot in on Rask. Nick Cousins, a pleasant surprise this season, was all over the ice making smart plays despite the trouble the Bruins were causing in the neutral zone. A roughing penalty called against Chris Vandevelde led to a Bruins power play, which was cut short on a makeup call thanks to Andrew Macdonald, who drew a tripping penalty. With it now a 4-on-4 hockey match-up, Pierre Edouard Bellemare, the Flyers best penalty killer, continued to make the Bruins power play ineffective. With a few minutes left in the second period, Cousins received a tripping penalty and the Bruins were, yet again, on the power play. Mason stood on his head, ending the second period with the Bruins still scoreless. The Flyers were 1-or-4 so far on the power play in this game and the Bruins are 0-for-3 to this point, an impressive showing for the Flyers. In the third period, Mason continued his stellar performance. A lot of traffic and a re-direction in front of the net led to the Bruins getting their first point of the night. After their first goal, the Bruins continued to push, putting the pressure on Mason. Cousins, who received a penalty in the second period, received another one for tripping, while the Bruins received one for embellishment. The Bruins ended up sneaking the puck through Mase, tying the game 2-2. A rush for Jake Voracek was cut short by an interference penalty which led to a penalty shot for the Flyers. Rask, hovering above the blue paint, matched Voracek’s moves and it was an easy save for the goaltender. Giroux then drew a roughing penalty against the Bruins, sending the Flyers into their fifth power play of the night. Unsuccessful, the Bruins kill the penalty, only to be given their own power play, the Bruins fourth of the night. The Flyers killed it and the game went to overtime tied 2-2. Overtime started with Giroux, Voracek and Gostisbehere, unsurprisingly the strongest line in overtime. Mason came up with a couple huge saves for the Flyers and kept them in the game. With two minutes left, the Bruins had five shots on goal where the Flyers have zero. After the net got knocked down from behind, Wayne Simmonds and Bruin Brad Marchand both receive 2 minutes for roughing with 1:07 left in overtime. Mason, undoubtedly, the first star of the night, had a phenomenal glove save, keeping them in the game. Overtime ended with both goaltenders putting on tremendous performance until the end. In the fifth round of the shootout, Voracek scored one for the Flyers pushing them ahead by one; Mason up against Brad Marchand let his shot slide in. Thanks to Mase standing on his head and keeping the Flyers in the game, in the 9th round, Gostisbehere in his second shootout of his NHL career, scored on Rask. Mase up against David Backes robbed him of the top right shot and the Flyers won 3-2 in overtime. The Flyers overall played a strong game, but it was Mason, with 47 saves and facing 49 shots that made sure the Flyers came out with the win. Despite some misplays, the Flyers showed that they are a team to be on the lookout for, one shootout at a time.