That’s certainly one way–and possibly the best way–to respond to call-outs from the coach and noticeable defensive difficulties as of late. For the Boston Bruins, the third line was excellent and Tuukka Rask shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 in his first appearance against Philly since the historical collapse of Boston in the 2010 playoffs.
Tyler Seguin scored a sweet power play goal to get the scoring started in the first period and did so from that same bad angle Steven Stamkos used that one time. But then, not even 90 seconds later, Chris Kelly nabbed his second of the season with a great pass from Jordan Caron, who was inserted onto the third line with Rich Peverley and Kelly. The entire third line was named NESN’s star of the game.
The Merlot Line even put up a goal when Daniel Paille scored with about five minutes left to go in the first period. So, unlike in recent games when Seguin’s line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand shouldered most of the offensive load, this game saw a more balanced variety of scoring.
That would end up being all she wrote in terms of goal-scoring with the Bruins scoring three goals on five shots taken. But before the final buzzer sounded, there were two whole periods where the team could’ve made the same mistakes that doomed them earlier in the week. They could’ve faltered defensively and allowed the Flyers to get into the game.
So many things could have gone wrong–but they didn’t and now the Bruins remain a perfect 4-0-0 in matinee games. Yes, they’ve won every single matinee game this season, something that seems farfetched compared to their record in afternoon showings last year.
In the second, Shawn Thornton took exception to a huge hit Zac Rinaldo put on Johnny Boychuk and had a short fight with him, earning the takedown and the cheers from the home crowd. But late in the third period was when Seguin gave Rask some help in keeping the Flyers from scoring, earning what Andy Brickley thought were the loudest cheers and applause from the TD Garden crowd in the whole game:
After the game, coach Claude Julien sounded satisfied with how the Bruins’ defense looked today, but did add a note of caution:
He is, of course, completely right. The defensive side of the Boston game was great today, perhaps in great part so the team could help Rask win over a team that broke Bruins’ fans hearts three years ago and get an early 26th birthday present.
Now the Bruins will head on the road for the next two games against the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins, which also happen to be back-to-back. These games would be great opportunities for the team to have more good defensive showings and give Julien more cause for praise.