Postgame Video by Tim Rosenthal
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas’s shutout streak against the Philadelphia Flyers was snapped, as were the hopes of Bruins fans eager for revenge as the Flyers skated away with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Bruins Saturday night at the TD Garden. The Bruins first game in Boston against the Flyers since their epic collapse in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last May was highlighted by stellar goaltending but plagued with missed opportunities.
Before left-winger James van Riemsdyk scored at 18:39 of the second period, Thomas hadn’t given up a goal to the Flyers since Danny Syvret scored at 4:42 of the second period of the Winter Classic at Fenway Park. It was the first time in the last five games the Bruins failed to score first.
With the loss the Bruins fell to 4-8-3 when allowing the first goal.
“I saw it, I knew it was going glove,” Thomas said. “But then I never got to see it again. It hit off my glove and went in.”
Thomas was magnificent in saving 31 of 33 shots. None of his 31 saves were bigger than his diving effort that pushed the puck wide during the brisk overtime period.
As the “Timmy Thomas” cheers rained down from the rafters of the Garden, Thomas hustled to the near boards to recover his stick. Thomas’aggressive goaltending kept the Bruins in the game while Boston’s offense remained anemic and squandered chances in the first two periods.
At 5:08 of the second period Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid and Flyers left-winger Jody Shelley were streaking for an icing touch-up. After an unnecessary hit by Shelly left McQuaid woozy on the ice, the Bruins fans expressed their discontent for the hit with “Flyers suck” chants. Shelley was given the exit. The Bruins were given a five-minute power play.
“Obviously I wanted to come back,” McQuaid said. “Guys always wanted to come back.”
But the Bruins were unable to come back.
The ensuing Bruins power play was marred by multiple off side whistles and hesitation. When the Bruins had opportunities the either missed the net or were denied by the impenetrable force that was Flyers goalie Brian Boucher on this night. It was one of two missed power play opportunities.
Boucher saved 35 of 36 Bruins shots; the blemish came in the third period, a period in which the Bruins seem to be at their best. Nathan Horton’s tying goal at 9:43 extended the Bruin’s NHL leading third-period scoring differential to plus-24, but the inconsistency throughout the other two periods and overtime cost Boston the win.
“Yeah, I mean, I think we had an opportunity here tonight to get that extra point,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It was there for the taking.”
With three seconds left in overtime, Thomas watched as three Flyers came towards the net and watched as Flyers captain Mike Richards’ shot sailed through his five-hole for the game-winning goal.
“You know it was three on one, they’d been passing instead of shooting all night,” Thomas said. “When he did shoot he got it off really quick. He didn’t telegraph it, let’s put it that way.”
On a night where the Bruins lost a familiar face in Marco Sturm they also lost to a familiar foe. Thomas’ record fell to 14-2-3 as the Bruins fell to 1-1 against the Flyers on the season. It was a tough way to reach the midpoint of a very successful month of December.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve picked up 10 out of 12 points.” Julien said. “I think any team around the league would be happy with that. We still felt that those two points we let go, we had an opportunity to get them… Again, we are striving for excellence and sometimes you want a little bit more.”