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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 21: Michael Raffl #12 of the Philadelphia Flyers defends Nick Ritchie #21 of the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden on January 21, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

by Nat Marlowe

In their first road game of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Boston Bruins in a shootout last night by a score of 5-4 at TD Garden.

The Flyers were slow once again to open the game and spent most of the first period in their own zone. Even though the Flyers allowed 14 Bruin shots in the opening frame, Carter Hart didn’t face too many quality shots. However, Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask only faced three Flyer shots for the entirety of the first period. Nothing commanding at all from a Flyers team that is supposed to have some of the deepest forward lines in the entire NHL despite losing Sean Couturier, Morgan Frost, and Phil Myers to injury.

The Flyers finally got their offense rolling six minutes into the second as Claude Giroux potted his first goal of the season on the powerplay from the left-wing circle. Ivan Provorov just barely kept the puck onside to dish it to Giroux who snuck the puck by Rask’s stick shoulder on the short side. Late in the second, the Flyers incorporated a terrific East-West play, as Kevin Hayes made a slick cross-ice pass to Jakub Voracek, clearing it by four Bruin players. Voracek immediately tossed the puck to James Van Riemsdyk who was directly in front of Rask, and was able to tip the puck in for his second goal of the year. For Voracek, it was his 700th NHL point, and moved into 5th all time in Flyers assists at 396.

The Flyers limited the Bruins scoring chances and only allowed four shots on goal in the second period. Unfortunately, Flyers defenseman Mark Friedman who made his season debut got tangled up with notorious pest Brad Marchand, and slammed his face down on the ice. Friedman was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons, as he was bleeding from his face, yet head coach Alain Vigneault said he is OK.

While Carter Hart stopped all 18 Bruin shots in the first two periods of play, it would all crumble in the third as the Flyers defense hung him out to dry. The Bruins hadn’t scored 5-on-5 in their first three games of the season, yet the Flyers allowed three 5-on-5 goals in the third period alone. Bruins centers Jack Studnicka and Charlie Coyle scored back-to-back goals just over a minute apart for their first goals of the season to tie the game. For Studnicka it was his first career NHL goal as he got right into Hart’s crease to accept the puck from David Krejci and fight it past Hart. Meanwhile, Charlie Coyle spinoramaed the puck, eluding defenseman Travis Sanheim and created a shooting lane from the left-wing hash marks to score the tying goal.

While Sanheim scored off the rush retaking a 3-2 Flyers lead, the Big Bad Bruins would once again rally with goals from winger Nick Ritchie on the Powerplay, and defenseman Brandon Carlo at 5-on-5. The Bruins hadn’t scored at 5-on-5 in their first three games of the season, yet the Flyers allowed three 5-on-5 Bruin goals in the third period alone. The Flyers spent way too much time in their own zone as they allowed 22 shots in the third period. Luckily, the Flyers went back on the powerplay, and James Van Riemsdyk tied it up deflecting Voracek’s shot again.

In 3-on-3 overtime, the Flyers defense stepped up, as they blocked several Bruins shots to finally give Carter Hart some relief. However, Tuukka Rask made several tremendous saves to extend the game to a shootout. Boston’s Jake DeBrusk would score the lone shootout goal in the second round earning the 5-4 Bruins victory. However, with earning one point in the shootout loss, the Flyers hold the top spot in the Mass Mutual East Division.