Rask, Bruins blank Philadelphia
BOSTON - Last Tuesday night in Washington, the Boston Bruins scored three goals in the first period but wound up blowing the lead and falling in overtime to the Capitals.
Saturday at home, Boston ripped off three goals in a 2:18 span on three first-period shots in a row. Another 3-0 lead. And this time there was no collapse as the Bruins cruised to a 3-0 victory over the struggling Philadelphia Flyers.
"We talked about it after the second (period) a little bit," Tuukka Rask said after stopping 23 shots for his second shutout of the season, the 13th of his 59-win NHL career. "We need to learn from those and we played a pretty solid third, despite those couple of penalties. But they happen."
The Bruins won their second straight and improved to 16-3-3, while the Flyers dropped to 11-14-1 (4-10-0 on the road) with their third straight loss. That led to a team meeting after the game.
Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille all beat Ilya Bryzgalov in that burst and that was it for the scoring. Rask had it easy through two periods and then had it a bit tougher in the third, when Seguin also bailed him with a hustle save after Rask was trapped out of the net.
"That was Tyler? I thought it was Dougie (Hamilton)," said Rask, who also had one shot hit a post in the period. "It was great. He was telling me he would have caught the guy when I sprinted out of the net, but it's good to see he's got my back and he's got those goalie skills, too."
The Bruins moved at least temporarily back into first place in the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference (the Montreal Canadiens play at the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night) and also improved to 49-1-2 since the start of the 2011-12 season when leading by three goals at any point in a game.
Seguin converted a power-play pass from Milan Lucic on his team's third shot, at 11:53 of the first period. It was his eighth goal of the season and third in two games. He also has scored five times in his last five contests.
The just-recalled Jordan Caron set up Kelly alone in front at 13:28 and Gregory Campbell did the same for Paille 43 seconds later, making it goals from three different lines (the first time that has happened since Feb. 26). It was Kelly's second goal of the season and Paille's fourth.
Boston is 9-1-1 against Philadelphia in their last 11 meetings. But back in 2010 it was the Flyers who stormed back from being down 3-0 in the playoffs to eliminate the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Rask was the goalie then and this was his first game against Philadelphia since that Game 7. It also saw the Bruins grab a 3-0 first-period lead before losing.
"It's in the past and as I've said before, we won the whole thing the year after," Rask said. "Things happen in hockey and for a goalie, if you start thinking that certain matchups are better for you than the others, you've lost half the battle. It was just a game, like any other."
Asked if he wanted to face the Flyers again sooner than Saturday instead of watching Tim Thomas, Rask said, "Not really. I won three games in that playoff series too. Too bad I just lost the last four, but it's hockey and things happen in hockey. "
After the Bruins took the big lead Saturday, the rest of the game was fairly bland. But in the second period, Zach Rinaldo hit Johnny Boychuk hard in the corner and Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton went right at Rinaldo. He knocked the Flyers' tough guy to the ice with two hard right hands.
Bryzgalov was sharp after the three-goal barrage, stopping all 23 shots the rest of the way. He had 25 saves total.
The point by Seguin gave his line (with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand) 15 goals and 38 points in the last 10 games. The Bruins are 8-1-1 in those 10 games.
And the Flyers needed a meeting.
"It's always good when you have a meeting," said Claude Giroux. "You want to make sure everybody's on the same page, and that's what we did."
Notes: Rich Peverley's assist on Kelly's 99th career goal marked Peverley's 200th NHL point. ... Last year, the Bruins had the top five players in the NHL in plus-minus. Coming into Saturday's game, Bergeron was tied for first at plus-17, while Seguin (plus-16) and Marchand (plus-15) were sixth and 10th, respectively. Bergeron led the league last year at plus-36. ... Rask turns 26 on Sunday. ... The Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night, while the Bruins are at the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday and Tuesday. The Flyers, Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning are the three NHL teams that have never swept the Bruins in a season series. ... The Bruins got Chris Bourque through waivers and sent him to Providence. They recalled Caron, who made his season debut for the big club and played well. ... The Flyers were coming off a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh, which rallied from a 4-1 deficit to win. ... Veterans Mike Knuble (Flyers) and Jay Pandolfo (Bruins) were both healthy scratches. Between them, they have played in 2,139 NHL games, counting playoffs. ... Philly's Harry Zolnierczyk served the second game of his five-game league suspension for his hit on Brad Richards of the New York Rangers.