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Flyers collapse in third, lose again to Bruins
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BOSTON -- Craig Berube is seeing a pattern -- and it’s alarming.
It might be just two games, but that’s enough to give the Flyers' coach some pause about what has become of his hockey club.
The Flyers used to own third periods. Need a goal? No problem. Need a big defensive play? It’s there. Need to win a crucial faceoff? Done.
None of that happened Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, as the Flyers lost their fourth straight, 5-2, to the Bruins after going into the third period tied, 2-2 (see Instant Replay).
The third period used to be when the Flyers ratcheted up their game, but during this losing skid, it's when they’ve wilted.
“The third period wasn’t very good, in general,” Berube said. “We didn’t come out and initiate anything in the third. We were in our end the whole period.
“I thought the same thing last game [against Columbus]. We have to initiate in the third period. With the game on the line, tied. I thought we competed hard up to then and were in good shape. You can’t sit back and let teams come at you.”
The Bruins came in waves the final period, generating too many odd man rushes.

For 40 minutes, the Flyers were right there with them, too, doing what few teams are capable of doing in Boston -- matching the B's hit for hit. The Flyers even ended their scoring drought after 165 minutes and one second.
They battled back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to go into the third tied thanks to a Jay Rosehill goal, if you can believe that.
Then they went limp again, just as they did against the Blue Jackets on Thursday.
“These points are huge for us and it’s an even score with a period left, we should be the team that wants it more,” Rosehill, the Flyers’ enforcer, said. “It’s a pretty big letdown. We had a lot of odd-man rushes. … A big letdown.”
Boston had 22 shots in the third period while goalie Ray Emery, who played well with 37 saves, was having to make far too many saves on uncontested shots.
“We haven’t been as sharp as those games a few weeks ago when it seemed every shift we were on,” Scott Hartnell said when asked what has changed since late March.
“Seems like when we haven’t paid the price or played within the system. It’s a bad penalty, or they get great chances and the momentum shifts. You can really tell when we have four lines going together in the system. Last couple games have not been that way.”
When a team isn’t scoring, its confidence and swagger in the third period can disappear, and that’s happened to Berube’s club. The Flyers mustered a puny eight shots that last period.
“Our line has to be playing the best every night,” Hartnell said, referring to himself, Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux. “Not that we’re feeling pressure, but we have to make things happen. We’ve been getting opportunities. They gotta go in the back of the net -- plain and simple.”
Berube changed up his lines, moving Vinny Lecavalier back with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds to accommodate Rosehill on the fourth line and “to get some second-line scoring,” he said.
Ironically, the game-winner at 13:54 of the third period came when Lecavalier lost a faceoff draw to Patrice Bergeron back to the point where Johnny Boychuk’s one-timer found the net.
The Flyers immediately collapsed, as Milan Lucic added his second goal off yet another odd-man rush to make it 4-2.
“We’ve been impatient with our game and we need to trust our system,” Giroux said. “When we do that, we’ll win some games.”
Giroux admitted not scoring has robbed the Flyers of confidence right now.
“You try to do different stuff when it’s not going in,” he said.
The Flyers could have clinched a playoff berth with a win here and one Sunday against Buffalo, plus losses from Toronto and New Jersey (in regulation). Now they will have to go into the final week of the season to clinch a spot.
“Every game is a must-win,” Giroux said. “There’s a lot of teams behind us trying to make the playoffs. We’ve played good enough to be in this position and we can’t forget that. We have to remember we’re a good team. … We've done a lot of good things year.”
Deadly Dozen
The Flyers finished their “Deadly Dozen” stretch of games against playoff contenders at 6-4-2, earning 14 of 26 possible points. Not enough to clinch a playoff berth. Yet.