The Boston Bruins were 15 seconds away having to look in the mirror and face the fact that they had given the teams chasing the Eastern Conference’s last playoff spot more life, having blown two points at home.
Instead, they looked at Brad Marchand scoring on a deflected Dougie Hamilton shot for a power-play goal, seconds before the end of regulation; and then they looked at him again in overtime, scoring the game-winner at 3:52 to beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2.
It was a game equal parts ripping and head-on-desk mistake-riddled. The Wayne Simmonds penalty that led to Marchand’s game-tying goal was weaker than mild sauce. Gregory Campbell’s failure to gain the red line earlier in the period, giving the Flyers an offensive zone draw that led to their go-ahead goal? Stupefying.
Then, in overtime, Michael Del Zotto – praised earlier for his shot-blocking prowess in the game – drops down to deflect a shot on goalie Steve Mason’s doorstep, and Marchand’s backhander goes off both of his skates and over the netminder for the game winner.
Hey, thanks for the help, sir!
The Flyers leave Boston with a charity point, giving them 69 on the season to the Bruins’ 74. It’s a biggie, as the two teams have completed their season series. It’s also a biggie in that the Flyers had a chance for a regulation win against Boston, trailing the Bruins 30-25 in non-shootout wins.
Boston, meanwhile, goes from a zero-points scenario in which the Florida Panthers would have a chance to tie them in points later tonight to one in which they’re four up on the Cats with two games in-hand. The hard-charging Ottawa Senators are now five back, but they now have a game in-hand.
Great win for the Bruins, despite their best efforts to lose it. (Although Tuukka Rask’s stick-save on a Jakub Voracek overtime breakaway might be one of the biggest for the season.) Hard one for the Flyers, who once again see Steve Mason play brilliantly and not get him the win.