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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bruins Own the Flyers, Except for that World-Famous Choke Job in the 2010 Playoffs

I don't know what exactly it is about the matchup but I feel like at least once every season when the Bruins and Flyers meet, Boston skates away with a blowout victory. In their first meeting this season, Boston (32-15-3) destroyed Philadelphia (25-22-6) 6-1 this afternoon at Wells Fargo Center. The six goals matched a season-high for the B's (6-2 win Dec. 23 at Nashville).

The B's efficiently tore the Flyers apart with two goals in each frame and big offensive games for Jarome Iginla (2 goals, 2 assists), David Krejci (3 assists), Zdeno Chara (2 goals) and Torey Krug (2 assists). In total, eight Bruins found the scoresheet and Tuukka Rask (25 saves) set a new career-high with his 23rd win of 2013-14.

Two things that always seem to plague the Flyers came back to bite them today: bad goaltending and undisciplined play (especially in the back end). For some reason, Steve Mason got a three-year extension last weekend but if you are delusional enough to think he's a legitimate No. 1 goaltender, I don't know what to tell you.

Chara made it 1-0 just 6:30 into the game when his intended pass deflected off a Philly stick (that sounds like a gross food product) past Mason. Iginla and Krejci assisted on Chara's 10th goal of the season. With that, Chara became the eighth Bruin and second defensemen (Krug, 11) to score 10+ goals this season.

Iginla scored a backbreaking goal with 17.1 seconds left in the first period. His 14th goal of the season was assisted by Milan Lucic and Krug. I don't think it would have mattered either way but I'm pretty sure that tally shattered any confidence that Philadelphia had going into the intermission.

Sure enough, Reilly Smith scored at 6:59 of the second period on a breakaway. His team-leading 16th goal of the season (tied with Brad Marchand) came on a backhander that went off the post, off Mason's back then barely over the line before the Flyers could get to it.

Bergeron ended Mason's outing with a goal at 13:10 off of his juicy rebound. Marchand assisted on Bergeron's 13th goal of the season.

Claude Giroux was about the only Flyer with any pride and not surprisingly, he scored their only goal-a power play strike at 7:55 in the third period that cut it to 4-1. I can see why Team Canada passed him over. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Iginla answered with a power play goal 26 seconds later and Chara added his second of the game as well less than a minute later (both came on a double-minor for high sticking on Nicklas Grossmann).

Boston's brief tour of the Tri-State area concludes on Monday (7, NESN) against the Islanders (21-25-8, 8th in Metropolitan Division), who have played well lately but have still been one of the biggest disappointments in the NHL this season. John Tavares is playing at an MVP level, Kyle Okposo should be on Team USA and Thomas Vanek hasn't skipped a beat since getting traded from Buffalo but New York's defense and goaltending are terrible hence their under .500 record.

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