PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins rained 47 pucks on goal. Tuukka Rask was perfect on the 19 pucks he could see, including a third-period penalty shot by Jakub Voracek. David Krejci, still searching for his touch 23 games into the season, landed a season-high eight shots on net.
“Overall, I don’t think our game was bad at all,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
But the Bruins were reminded, after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, that it does not take long for 2 slam-dunk points to turn into just 1.
The Flyers struck twice on Rask within a 92-second span in the first period. Neither goal sat well with Julien.
Michael Del Zotto fired a long-distance puck through a tangle of bodies to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 13:56, moments after a pair of turnovers by Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid.
Then at 15:28, with Austin Czarnik in the box for slashing, Voracek fired a cross-ice pass the Bruins penalty kill should have closed off that Claude Giroux one-timed past Rask to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins rallied with two third-period goals. But Steve Mason slammed the door in the shootout, turning back eight of nine Bruins (Brad Marchand was the only one to score). At the other end, Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere slipped pucks past Rask to give the Flyers the extra point the Bruins wanted.
“What they got was something we inflicted on ourselves,” said Julien. “From the penalty kill, but also the first goal we gave them was bad puck management. We didn’t feel like we were playing badly. But we had to try to minimize those kinds of mistakes. This is a team that really thrives on turnovers. They’ll take advantage and capitalize on them early in the game. We got better. We stuck with it.”
Mason (45 saves) was the star for most of the night. In the first period, Mason slammed the door shut 19 times, including back-to-back sparklers on Ryan Spooner and Colin Miller to close down an odd-man rush. In the second, Mason punched out a close-range Krejci shot to keep the Flyers ahead by two goals.
The Bruins finally found some holes on Mason in the third. After a puck glanced off Andrew MacDonald’s stick in the Flyers zone, Krug jumped off the blue line to support the attack. Krug wheeled around the Flyers and went low at the right circle before looking for help. He got it in to Krejci, who found open space in the high slot. Krejci one-timed a knuckler that slipped under Mason’s left arm at 4:26, cutting the Flyers’ lead to one goal.
The Bruins tied the game at 5:44 during four-on-four play when Nick Cousins was called for tripping and David Pastrnak was sent off for diving. Krug was in the middle of the action again, this time hammering a slap shot on goal. Mason kicked out Krug’s shot, but couldn’t steer the rebound out of danger. Marchand won a race to the puck and banged in the rebound, tying the game at 2.
“That’s when he’s at his best, jumping on loose pucks and making some plays,” Krejci said. “He was doing a lot on both goals. So it was good to see him out there moving his feet, creating some chances, making things happen. That’s when he’s at his best. It showed on those two goals.”
The Flyers had a chance to regain the lead later during the four-on-four sequence. Voracek slipped behind the defense for a breakaway bid. Joe Morrow closed on Voracek and prevented the wing from getting a clean shot on goal. Voracek was given a penalty shot, a borderline call that made Julien hold his head.
But Rask allowed his team to stay tied by holding his ground. As Voracek approached, he saw no openings on Rask, who turned back the sharpshooter’s bid with his blocker.
“It’s a mental thing,” Rask said. “You try and stay on your feet as long as possible and make him do the first move. It’s not easy, especially in that situation when it’s your first shot in the period.”
The Bruins had the better chances in overtime. While Rask turned back Giroux’s one-timer, Philadelphia’s only OT bid, Mason saw six shots fly his way. Krejci ripped off a close-range snapper, but Mason snatched the center’s shot with 24.1 seconds remaining.
“Being down two goals going into the third period and coming back the way we did, it’s frustrating that we didn’t win,” Krejci said. “But hopefully it’s going to give our team a boost heading into the next game and give us more confidence.”