BOSTON -- Everything was going the Flyers' way.
The edge they held over the Bruins for more or less the entirety of the first 55 minutes. They had an edge in shots and obviously on the scoreboard, they were certainly the more physical team. The Flyers were feeling pretty good about their chances.
"We just wanted to finish the job, keep it simple and try not to put them on the power play," said Dan Carcillo.
A dodgy tripping call on Kimmo Timonen(notes) put the Bruins on the power play with 3:52 to go in the game, Mark Recchi(notes) leveled it just 1:34 later to force overtime and Marco Sturm(notes) scored soon after a Danny Briere(notes) penalty ended to lock up a 2-1 overtime victory.
"I think the way we finished the game was obviously encouraging for our team," said Claude Julien. "For a while there I didn't know if they were going to ever find out how these fans were going to react if we scored a goal.
"You look at the clock and there's a little over five minutes left and we still haven't scored a goal. I think that was kind of going through my mind to be honest with you. And when we scored that goal, it seemed to build a little bit of momentum."
Prior to that, the best Bruins chance was a shorthanded slap-shot from center ice by Sturm that squirted through Michael Leighton's(notes) pad and hit the post. But if your team plays a game so comprehensive that the closest your opponent comes to scoring is a fluke, then you have to be happy with that kind of road effort. The only problem was they couldn't turn their dominance into anything more than a single goal, and you don't win too many NHL games like that.
"We had some more great chances again in the third and we've got to capitalize on those," said Chris Pronger(notes). "We had a number in the second period that could have made it more than a one-goal difference and before they scored the game-winner we had a couple good whacks at it and just weren't able to get it in the net."
At least part of that, though, was Tim Thomas(notes) standing on his head behind a defense that seemed almost eager to turn the puck over at the attacking blue line, particularly the pairing of Zdeno Chara(notes) and Dennis Wideman(notes) which had a horror show of a day.
It might have been an unfair result for the Flyers, but they seemed to accept that they at least got the point out of it. Considering the multitude of odd circumstances and mitigating factors, it wasn't all bad.
"I thought we played a good game and had a lot of chances, and it's unfortunate that it ended that way. A couple of questionable calls, and they capitalized," said Carcillo. "It was a cool experience and it sucked that it ended that way, but it was still a great day."
Sturm's OT winner was a dream goal
The lead-up to overtime and Marco Sturm's walk-off game-winner certainly foreshadowed a moment that would make Big Papi proud.
"I think everybody on our bench wanted it so bad," said Thomas.
"I saw, like, two guys go at him a little bit and that's why I just tried to go to the net," Sturm said. "He made a nice play for the tip-in."
The pass from Bergeron was right where it needed to be. Sturm just reached out and poked it past Leighton for the second time in the game, only this one found the back of the net.
"That's, I think, what I dreamed of this morning," he said. "I definitely take that goal, it's probably going to be my most memorable goal ever, and I'm going to enjoy it."
Syvret lucks into first goal
Speaking of memorable goals, Danny Syvret(notes) had three assists but no goals in 43 games coming into the Winter Classic. That all changed in the second period, on what even he admitted was a fluky play.
"Of all my attempts on net, I wouldn't have thought that was going to be the one that went in," he said.
But his goal, which came at 4:42 of the second period and broke the ice on what had been a rather dull game.
It came because Scott Hartnell(notes) drew the ire of known hothead Tim Thomas by making contact with him on the way through the crease. Thomas responded by shoving him hard in the back with both hands, and falling comically out of position.
"I sort of caressed it, bit of a fade-away shot," said Syvret. "Threw it on net and I think he was more worried about Hartsy in front of the net and trying to clear him out than expecting a shot on net, but it found it was into the back of the net, so that's good for me."
And while the goal wasn't pretty, it was at least interesting, which is a reasonable substitute.
Great day for Thomas
Apart from the gaffe on the Syvret goal, you gotta think Timmy Thomas is feelin' okay about his New Year's Day.
Two points, 24 saves, and confirmation that he would indeed be headed to Vancouver to represent his country in the Olympics.
"This will go down as one of the most memorable days of my life and my career," said Thomas, who has also played in six World Championships. "Winning and the way that we won and then being named to the Olympic team I've been waiting 30 years for this (but) I feel like I have been waiting my whole life for this."
Thomas, who found out in the morning before the game, said he tried to control his emotions so he wasn't "blubbering on national television."
Carcillo doesn't get his man, but earns decision in first Winter Classic fight
So much for no staged fights.
"We were kind of laughing and smiling at each other in warm-ups so I kind of figured it would happen," he said.
And so it was that at 12:01 of the first period Thornton and Carcillo took part in the first fight in Winter Classic history, and Carcillo earned the clear decision. But Thornton wasn't his intended dancing partner.
"I actually asked Begin first and he said no, so he came up to me and I said, ‘Let's do it.' Might as well. Why not?" Carcillo said. Thornton was more than willing to go, as is his wont.
Thornton was once again not especially happy to be talking about the fight (he said he'd been hearing about it for six months), but said, "He was out there, he asked a couple other guys and I don't think, really, it's anybody else's job to have to do that with a guy on their team that has the same role as me. I went and obliged, I suppose."