For most of the season, lack of secondary scoring and an inconsistent power play have been the Bruins’ most concerning issues. Neither was a problem Saturday.
Tyler Seguin scored a power-play goal in the first period. The third and fourth lines, centered by Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell, followed up Seguin’s strike with five-on-five goals.
With a yawn, Tuukka Rask turned back 23 shots as the Bruins claimed a 3-0 shutout against the lifeless Flyers.
“There’s no mistake about it that our top two lines have been doing all the scoring for us,” said Kelly. “It was nice to contribute, my line and Soupy’s line, not necessarily to give them a night off, but relieve some of the pressure. We can’t rely on them each and every night to produce.”
A successful two-game homestand (the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs, 4-2, on Thursday) was a must.
The Bruins play six of their next eight games on the road, including a back-to-back set against Ottawa and Pittsburgh on Monday and Tuesday.
The Bruins clobbered the Flyers with three goals in less than three minutes.
Uncharacteristically, the Flyers didn’t respond with any of their regular snarl. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia’s most dynamic twosome, combined for zero shots on goal. Youngsters Luke Schenn, Sean Couturier, and Matt Read didn’t threaten offensively.
“When they got that 3-0 lead, we needed a better response,” Giroux said. “I think we’ve got to put this behind us and get ready.”
The Bruins’ defense had a part to play in that.
“Today was probably the first day I felt much better about our game without the puck in our defensive zone,” said coach Claude Julien. “We didn’t give them much. They didn’t have a ton of scoring chances.”
For most of the game, neither Ilya Bryzgalov (25 saves) nor Philadelphia’s defense was particularly leaky. But the Flyers’ first-period buckle was all the Bruins needed.
The outburst started after Kimmo Timonen was nabbed for hooking. On the power play, David Krejci lost an offensive-zone faceoff to Giroux. But Krejci picked off Andrej Meszaros’s clearing attempt, and immediately went on the counterattack by playing give-and-go with Dougie Hamilton.
After taking a return pass from Hamilton, Krejci connected with Milan Lucic down low. Lucic sent a no-look, backhand dish to Seguin at the left circle. Before Bryzgalov could recover, Seguin snapped the puck into the net at 11:53.
“We had identified that option there that would be open for us if we did it quick enough,” Julien said. “As much as [Krejci] made a great pass, Looch was in the right place and did the right play quickly to allow that pass to go through.”
At 13:28, Kelly scored his second goal of the season. After taking a pass from Jordan Caron, Kelly fired a fast-moving shot past Bryzgalov to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins capped the barrage at 14:11.
The Flyers looked like they were in good shape. Couturier started a breakout by carrying the puck out of the defensive zone. But Shawn Thornton was in the right place to strip Couturier of the puck.
“I guess he tried to put it through me, and I got enough of it to keep it,” Thornton said. “I just threw it in an area where I knew Soupy was going to.
“I was trying to make a pass, but I knew I was getting hit. I just put it in an area where he could get it. He made the unbelievable play to [Daniel Paille], then Paisey had the great finish.”
Thornton knew he was in Schenn’s crosshairs, but he held his ground and dished the puck to Campbell before Schenn flattened him.
Once Campbell hunted down the puck, he spotted Paille sprinting toward the net. Campbell flipped a backhand pass to Paille, who tucked the puck behind Bryzgalov to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
Earlier in the week, the Bruins also had a three-goal cushion. On Tuesday, they smoked Washington with three straight goals, but the Capitals roared back to swipe a 4-3 overtime win.
On Saturday, the Bruins made sure not to gag away another 3-0 advantage.
“To be up, 3-0, clamp down defensively, and not give them anything is extremely good,” Johnny Boychuk said. “Especially because their power play is one of the top power plays in the league.
“I think our PK was doing a good job killing those penalties. It really helped everybody out, especially Tuukka playing the way he did again.”