They scored on a power play. The Flyers not only killed penalties, Jori Lehtera tied the game in the second period with a short-handed goal, only their third this season.
The Flyers outhustled, outworked, even outlucked a team that had rest, home-ice, and the momentum of a four-game winning streak on its side, even if three of the Bruins' better players were sidelined by injury and suspension. Alex Lyon's steady play in goal belied his coach's lack of trust.
This was the kind of game that can spring a slumping team, and yet it ended as the four previous ones had, the Flyers on the wrong end of a 3-2 score, beaten by Brad Marchand's second-chance goal with 22 seconds left in the game, muscling out Sean Couturier after Lyon had made the original save.
It was the fifth time in their last eight goals allowed that the score came within the last two minutes of a period.
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It was a wild first-period, indicative of two well-rested teams, not one. The Bruins had not played since a 6-5 overtime victory over Detroit on Tuesday night, and the Flyers, who finished so tepidly in their 5-2 loss to the Penguins the night before, unleashed all that stored-up energy. They created turnovers, Wayne Simmonds drew a four-minute major when Kevin Miller clipped his toothless mouth with his stick, and Jake Voracek, from a sweet between-the-legs feed from Nolan Patrick, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 38 seconds into the first period.
And then came the kind of errors that seemed to doom their season in November and have threatened to do so in March. With plenty of time to flip the puck from his own zone, Patrick was instead stripped near the blue line, and the 20 seconds of mayhem that followed, punctuated by a few sprawling saves by Lyon, resulted in a Rick Nash goal at 9:14.
Brian Gionta, who was signed by the Bruins after unretiring to captain the U.S. Olympic team, scored on a breakaway at 19:34 of the first period to give Boston a 2-1 lead, negating the Flyers' 16-10 shot advantage, and the feel-good nature of their period. That goal began with Simmonds getting tripped by Tommy Wingels while he had the puck in the offensive zone, and was compounded when the defense pair of Brandon Manning and Radko Gudas lost track of the 39-year-old sniper.
The Flyers regained some momentum with a strong second period, highlighted by Jori Lehtera's short-handed goal at 7:21 that trickled through the pads of Tuukka Rask, who had not played in a week because of an injury. It was Lehtera's third goal of the season, but his second this month.
When the second period ended, the Flyers had outshot their rested hosts 26-17, and outhustled them, and were tied at 2.