Wrap: Flyers Beat Boston, 4-1
The Philadelphia Flyers took a step toward moving up on the seedings for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday as they defeated the President's Trophy winning Boston Bruins, 4-1, at Scotiabank Arena. Boston had the better of play early but then the Flyers took over until the latter stages of the third period. By that point, Philadelphia was comfortably ahead.
The Flyers' fourth line chipped in a pair of goals, while the defense corps created each of the first three goals. Philly also got excellent goaltending, a strong penalty kill, and their top line more or less shut down Boston's Patrice Bergeron line for much of the day.
Michael Raffl (1st goal of the postseason), Nate Thompson (1st), Phil Myers (1st) and Scott Laughton (1st) scored for the Flyers. Chris Wagner (1st) tallied the lone Bruins goal.
Carter Hart was outstanding in nef for the Flyers, especially in the first half of the first period and the latter half of the third. He earned his first career postseason win with 34 saves on 35 shots, including 12 stops in a scoreless first period for both teams.
For Boston, veteran Jaroslav Halak substituted in goal for the unavailable Tuukka Rask. Halak did not play poorly but was outplayed by Hart. He finished with 25 saves on 29 shots.
The Flyers went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, and the kills created momentum for the team. Philly was 0-for-2 on the power play, generating pressure and a near goal (Claude Giroux hit the post on a one-timer) on the first and struggled on a late first-period opportunity that carried over into the second period.
Raffl, who assisted on Thompson's goal after opening the scoring, had to leave the game with 6:17 left the third period after his right leg went awkwardly into the sideboards as Boston's Jeremy Lauzon finished a check. Raffl had to be helped up the tunnel. Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after the game that, from ice level, it looked like a potential slew foot, but he'd need a closer look on replays. From here, it looked like just an unfortunate play that resulted in injury. There did not seem to be any intent on Lauzon's part to kick out Raffl's skate.
The Flyers won 53.2 percent of the faceoffs in the game (41-for-77). The bottom half of the lineup led the way, as Derek Grant won eight of 11 draws and Thompson went 5-for-8.
Per usual, defenseman Ivan Provorov led the Flyers in ice time. He logged 24:51.
For more on Sunday's game, including analysis, stats, and video recap, click here
POSTGAME INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
With what Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers have shown tonight why you keep them together and trust them as much as you do?
There’s no doubt both are excellent skaters. Both great size. Both young players that we put together and put faith and trust in them. Tonight they played a real solid game. I thought the first exhibition game they played was average. Tonight there was no doubt they made some big plays and made some big defensive plays. They were a big part of tonight’s win.
How do you evaluate the team’s overall performance tonight?
I thought the first period was hard for either team for whatever reason. The ice quality was a little challenging so it was hard to make plays. I thought in the second period we played extremely well. Phil’s goal right after they scored took any momentum they could have built off that goal. Then in the third period, I loved the way we started and were playing in there. We had our foot on the gas. We weren’t sitting back. The last five minutes when they pulled their goaltender. They got quite a few shots. That’s when Carter was at his best. Overall, that second and third period were real strong periods on our part.
How important is it to get production from the fourth line to stabilize the play and open the flood gates?
At this time of the year with the quality of the opposition you are seeing, whether it be in our round robin we have with Washington, Tampa and Boston or once you know who your opponent’s going to be in that first round, the quality of the opponents are so high and so good. That you know what you need is contributions from your whole lineup, whether it be defensive plays or offensive plays. Today we got big plays from Nate Thompson’s line. Big goal from Raffy. Unfortunately, it seemed like a slew foot there near the boards and he fell into them quite awkwardly there. He had played a real strong game until that point. Hopefully he will be all right for us moving forward.
Boston was technically the home team and normally you would be in TD Garden. What role do you think that will play in terms of momentum when you don’t have the home crowd advantage?
It’s tough to say. It’s new for everyone. There’s no doubt that when we scored that goal, I really felt any push they were generating or thinking of generating it took it out. It’s tough to say. As hockey players and coaches, when you are there you just focus on playing. I’m hoping our guys would have responded the same way even if it was at TD Garden.
How pleased were you with the effort against Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand, who remained scoreless?
Tonight before the game, we obviously talked about needing to do a job against that top line. Making sure we were in the right position when we didn’t have the puck. When we did have the puck, we needed to make sure we made the high percentage plays, not to feed any transition, opportunity for that skilled line to get themselves going. They had some great looks, but we got some big saves. For the most part we did a real good job against that line.
What is your take on the hit on Michael Raffl?
I looked at it quickly. I haven’t watched the replay. I looked at it quickly on the overhead just a little bit after it happened. Seemed close to being a slew foot. I’d have to see the replay again, but he fell awkwardly into the boards. We’re waiting to find out what’s exactly going on here
Scott Laughton and Nate Thompson
What did you think of the hit on Michael Raffl? Do you think it’s something serious?
SL: I didn’t see it right from the get-go. I saw it late. Obviously a weird play for him. Goes into the boards. Just a weird situation. I’ll have to watch it again and we’ll watch it again. Not really sure what happened. Just saw the end of the play and how he went in awkwardly.
NT: Yeah, it was kind of the same thing for me, too. I caught the end of it. I was out there, but I kind just saw him go down. It happened fast. I’d have to watch it again. Hopefully he’s alright.
How much emphasis was on keeping Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron scoreless?
SL: I think our guys did a good job, especially Coots's line playing against them. We had some guys filter in and play throughout all night. I thought we did a good job. They are a dangerous trio. It’s tough. They are so good on the power play and good five-on-five in the zone. I felt we were aware of it. I thought we did a real good job in the second and third period of staying over top of guys and not giving them too much space so our D could pinch on the wall. I thought we did a good job of that and Coots’s line.
Carter didn’t look like a 21 year old in goal tonight. Were you guys not concerned that he would not look ready or be ready to perform?
NT: I know I’ve been here for a short time but he doesn’t look 21 to me. He’s pretty poised, even off the ice. He carries himself well beyond his years. He’s a true pro. He reminds me a little bit of a goalie I used to play with in Montreal and you guys know who I’m talking about. He’s our backbone back there and he was really good tonight for us.
What was your evaluation of play in the three zones, especially during that third period
SL: I thought we did a really good job of having a three guy high and making it hard for them to exit the zone. Our D did a good job of breaking out pucks and making it hard for them to forecheck. I thought we probably could have done a better job of shooting some pucks in some areas. The execution will come. I thought we worked pretty hard and made it hard on them on the lines.
How important was Phil’s goal tonight? What’s your evaluation of the defensemen, particularly those young guys that you have?
SL: It was huge. They scored to get one back. I thought we did a good job of that all year pretty much. Not letting it affect us. Coming at teams and coming right back. Our D have been really, really good for us this year, especially on breakouts. We work on it a lot in practice. It made in easy on the forwards. We just have to find the right spots and they are breaking out pucks clean. We do a lot of work in practice for it. We got to continue to execute it in the game.
Nate, how does it feel to get your first goal with the Flyers in the first playoff game for them? And you were the first one to stick up for Raffl, is that what you are going to bring in the playoffs?
NT: For the first part of the question, it’s always nice to get a big goal. It was a heck of a play by Raff. Just try to get it on net. Hopefully I can chip in with some big goals as we get going along here in playoffs. And that’s been part of my game since I turned pro. I’ve always been a guy that sticks up for his teammates. I think any guy on this team, just from the short time I’ve been here, every guy on this team would do the same thing. It’s good to see. We have a tight knit group. We’re going to try to keep this thing going.
Carter Hart and Phil Myers
Did you feel nervous out there in your first playoff game or just treat it like another game?
PM: At first, maybe before the first shift, I was a little nervous. Then it just became like any other game. I kind of got zoned out there and making plays. Felt good out there. I think it was a good team win. Hartsy shut the doors for us and we took care of everything else. It was a good team win. We’ll take it and move forward.
CH: I agree with Phil. Once you get out there and start playing, the game really slows down. Obviously it’s a little different playoffs. We don’t have fans. Maybe that make it a little bit different. When the game’s going, when the puck drops, it’s all the same. You got to just prepare and execute and play you game.
Phil was this game sort of a showcase what you and Sanheim can do when you are on in a game?
PM: We were clicking today. We were just making plays out there. I think we were calm and composed with the puck. We had a lot of poise. Like I’ve said before, we’ve been together in the Flyers organization for like five years. We played together in Allentown. We played together this year. I think we have a lot of chemistry. We have a lot of similarities in our games. It’s fun playing with him. I’m looking forward to just go through playoffs with him and take this head on.
Did it feel like the first penalty kill was a stabilizer and momentum turner?
CH: Our special teams tonight was really solid. PK was awesome. They didn’t generate a lot, especially the first couple PKs. I don’t think they really got any chances. Definitely a big momentum swing when we can kill off some power plays, especially with how lethal their top unit can be. I thought our PK was really solid tonight.
PM: Like Hartsy said, I think our penalty kill has been good all year. Honestly the first one was huge. We took that, built off of it and we move forward. Obviously it helped us out in the game there.
What has been behind that mindset of not letting a goal affect you and why has it been so effective?
CH: I think just the first shift after a goal’s score, no matter we’re scoring or they score. That first shift right after they score is really huge. For us to retaliate like that with Mysey’s snipe of a goal there, that’s huge. That really kind of kills any momentum they have when they score.
Phil, what do you have more pride in, that goal that you scored or keeping their top line off the scoresheet?
PM: Obviously, taking their top line off the scoresheet. The goal’s a bonus. I’m a defenseman. My job is to stop the other team’s top players. The goal’s just a side bonus. I had an opportunity and I took it. I’m glad it went in and I could chip in offensively.
Can you talk about the lift you guys got today from the fourth line
CH: I thought our fourth line was rolling tonight. Raff opened up with a really nice goal. Then [Nate Thompson] with the side snipe there. They were flying. I think all four lines were clicking and that’s huge. You don’t ever want to see anybody go out of the game there at the end with Raff. I hope he’s going to be okay. I thought they were really solid for us tonight.
PM: Like Hartsy said, I think the fourth line played a hell of a game. They did their job in our zone. They chipped in on the scoresheet as well. I think we have a lot depth. I think all of our four lines played great. Personally, when I go out there, it doesn’t matter who is out there. I have full confidence in everybody. Just shows how much depth that we have. It’s awesome when all four lines are clicking like that.