PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Boston Bruins made the most of a few shots.
The Bruins scored three goals on just five shots in the second period and needed only 12 shots to get their first four goals. They finished with a season-low 18 shots.
“The shots are an indicator, but they are not a complete indicator of play,” Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought the scoring chances we generated were some high-quality ones and we were able to capitalize on them.”
Sami Kapanen and Simon Gagne scored for Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia. The suddenly struggling Flyers have lost four straight and five of six and trail NHL-leading Carolina by four points. They’ve lost three in a row at home since returning from an 8-2-1 road trip.
Philadelphia was without leading scorer Peter Forsberg, who has a groin injury. Four other regulars remained out: captain Keith Primeau, defensemen Eric Desjardins and Joni Pitkanen and goaltender Robert Esche.
“We need to get back to what we were doing good,” Gagne said. “We need to figure out what we’re doing wrong.”
Green gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead. He picked up a loose puck from the boards following an errant pass, skated across the ice and lifted a sharp backhander past goalie Antero Niittymaki.
Bergeron made it 2-0 with a power-play goal just 1:21 into the second period.
Kapanen’s goal cut it to 2-1 a few minutes later. Mike Rathje’s slap shot from the boards hit Kapanen’s stick and slid by Thomas.
But the Bruins regained their two-goal lead when Sturm and Bergeron executed a give-and-go during a 2-on-1 break. Sturm one-timed Bergeron’s cross-ice pass past Niittymaki for his 16th goal.
Thomas kept it 3-1 by stoning Jon Sim on a point-blank slap shot, and Green scored again to make it 4-1.
“Keep it simple and try to play it not like it’s any old game because let’s face it, it’s not any old game for me,” Thomas said. “It’s more important that that.”
Gagne’s 32nd goal in the third cut it to 4-2. Wayne Primeau scored on a nifty breakaway in which he eluded a defender and one-handed a shot into the net to cap the scoring.
Niittymaki, who made his 17th consecutive start, has struggled lately. The rookie has allowed 19 goals during Philadelphia’s losing streak.
“I don’t think he’s played as well as he has and he’ll be the first to admit that,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It’s unfortunate because he carried us when Esche got hurt.”
Esche, out since aggravating a groin injury Dec. 15, could return in a backup role Saturday at Pittsburgh. Pitkanen, who had surgery for a sports hernia in December, is expected back against the Penguins. Forsberg is day to day. ^Notes: Chris Therien played in his 747th game with the Flyers, passing Joe Watson for fourth on the team’s career list and the most for a defenseman. He trails Bob Clarke (1,144), Bill Barber (903) and Brian Propp (790). … Boston G Andrew Raycroft was scratched because of a leg injury. He backed up Thomas in the previous two games. … Bruins LW Sergei Samsonov played in his 500th NHL game. … Boston is 11-2-2 when Green has a point. … The Bruins had 19 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to Phoenix on Dec. 11.