BOSTON -- Few NHL clubs dare come into TD Garden and bang bodies with the Bruins. The Flyers, however, do it to anyone and everyone. There is no backing down from physical play.
And Saturday’s matinee was no different as Craig Berube’s club matched the Bruins in the hitting department but still lost, 5-2, as the Bruins clinched first place overall in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins came into the game with 111 points while Pittsburgh had 103. The Flyers have lost four in a row.
Johnny Boychuk’s point shot broke a 2-2 tie at 13:54 of the third period. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff from Vinny Lecavalier back to point. Ray Emery was screened and it was all net on the shot.
In an attempt to generate some goals, Berube mixed up all of his lines except the top unit, and Vinny Lecavalier was back with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds.
Emery made his second start in three games and played well with 37 saves.
Simmonds ended the Flyers’ scoreless drought at 165:01 in the second period with a power-play goal at 14:36 to make it a 1-1 game. But the Bruins regained the lead 19 seconds later when Milan Lucic stick-tapped for a pass from David Krejci. Lucic buried a one-timer from the high slot. He was later credited with Boston's fourth goal, originally given to Torey Krug.
The game went into the third period 2-2 thanks to Jay Rosehill’s turnaround chance in the slot. Rosehill has two goals on 10 shots this entire season. He’s played just 31 games.
The Flyers came into the game having gone 130:25 without scoring a goal. It ended in the second period (165:01) on Simmonds’ power-play goal.
The Flyers controlled play for much of the first period, outshooting Boston 5-1 at one point. By period’s end, the Bruins had made a bit of a push and scored at 15:46. Boston had three uncontested shots on Emery in front of Mark Streit and Nick Grossmann. Krejci scored on the third shot off a rebound from Loui Eriksson.
The Flyers were 1 for 3 on the power play. The Bruins were 0 for 1.
Flyers got an early power play, but it was just more of the same. No shots from the point, no really good scoring chances, and too much passing around of the puck. Their second power play early in the second period was even worse -- no shots as Boston cleared the puck three times.
The Flyers did tie it at 1-1 at 14:36 of the second period on Simmonds' tough backhander from an near-impossible angle. The Flyers' power-play went 0 for 14 over parts of five games.
Quickly after the Flyers' second power play, Brayden Schenn fired a shot off the right post on a rebound from Simmonds' original shot. If that goes, it’s a 1-1 game.
Simmonds wanted everyone to know the drought was over. After he scored, he pounded his gloves triumphantly on the glass.
Saturday marked Sean Couturier’s 200th game in the NHL.
Rosehill won his first-period fight against Shawn Thornton.
Also in the first, slightly earlier, Zac Rinaldo drew a penalty after a tough, clean hit on Lucic, who wanted to drop gloves with him. Lucic is in another weight class entirely. Smartly, Rinaldo didn’t oblige and took the power play instead.
Rosehill scored was Nov. 9 against Edmonton.
Defensemen Hal Gill and Erik Gustafsson; forwards Tye McGinn and Steve Downie (whiplash). All healthy but Downie.
Bruins legend Derek Sanderson dropped a ceremonial first puck before the game. … The Flyers host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.