December 17, 2011

Post-Game Breakdown: B’s barrel over Flyers, take over first in East

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Boston 6, Philadelphia 0

Recap: Boston jumped all over the Flyers early and never looked back. The B’s got the ball rolling just 27 ticks in when Benoit Pouliot made it 1-0. By the time three minutes had passed, Dan Paille had doubled that lead, fresh off of a convincing victory by Zdeno Chara in a bout with Jody Shelley.

The onslaught continued as Chara and Milan Lucic added power-play tallies in the opening period to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead at the break. Nathan Horton buried his ninth of the season at the 7:06 mark of the second, chasing starter Ilya Bryzgalov in the process. In the third, Tyler Seguin — replaced by Shawn Thornton on the second line during most of the frame — buried his 14th of the season and ended a four-game goal drought, making it 6-0 in favor of the Black and Gold. Seguin’s strike closed out the scoring in the win, as Boston moved up to first place in the conference.

Records: Boston 21-9-1, 43 points; Philadelphia 20-8-3, 43 points

Key Play of the Game: Chara’s goal in the first, which put Boston up by three, was immensely deflating for Philly. The Flyers were fresh off of a power-play of their own when Zac Rinaldo served a too-many-men call against his club. Just nine ticks later, a slapper from the B’s captain pretty much put this one out of reach.

Connolly’s Commendations: Speaking of Chara, No. 33 was simply magnificent in his return to the lineup. The 6-foot-9 defenseman had himself a Gordie Howe hat trick, picking up a goal, an assist and victory in a bout with Shelley in the opening frame.

Rich Peverley’s roll continued, as No. 49 picked up three assists in the victory. He now has six points in the last three contests.

How about the B’s oft-ridiculed power play? They found the back of the net three times on eight opportunities. On the flip side, Boston kept Philly fruitless on six power-play chances.

Andy Ference had himself another fine night at the office. No. 21 had an assist, was plus-1 and blocked a game-high five shots in 20:36 of TOI.

Boston’s defensive system was executed to perfection, but Tim Thomas deserved a nice golf clap, as he notched career shutout No. 30 — all of which have come in a Bruins’ uniform. He now trails Frank Brimsek by five for second all-time in team history.

Connolly’s Critiques: The only bone to pick that this scribe has is with Lucic. The hulking winger foolishly slammed Zac Rinaldo from behind after the Flyers forward sandwiched Horton in the third. It was ill-advised and there’s a good chance that league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan will lay the hammer down on No. 17.

Notes: The two teams combined for 68 minutes in penalties. Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand, Lucic and Rinaldo all received game misconducts at one point or another. Philadelphia came into the game riding a seven-game winning streak. Paille now has three goals in the last two games. The win was No. 200 for Claude Julien as coach of the Bruins.

Final Thoughts: In what was supposed to be a marquee matchup pitting the top two teams in the conference against one another, the Bruins simply ran away with this one for an unbelievably convincing victory. It’s just one game, but — as if they hadn’t already — the league must simply be in awe of how dominant the Black and Gold have been throughout their currently 18-2-1 run.

Next: The B’s will be back in action when they welcome the hated Habs to TD Garden on Monday night.