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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Name the Game, the Bruins Will Probably Beat You at It

The Bruins continue to find ways to come away with two points almost every time they lace up their big boy skates. This afternoon at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, they outlasted the Flyers 4-3 in a shootout. Boston (52-17-6) won its franchise record ninth straight game on the road thanks to Tuukka Rask's (career-high 49 saves) superhuman effort and the shootout winner in the fifth round by none other than Reilly Smith.

Boston improved to 2-0 this season vs. Philadelphia (39-27-8) with one game left on Saturday at TD Garden. The Bruins have picked up points in 16 games in a row (14-0-2) and if the Flyers want to feel better, they can be happy they weren't blown out 6-1 like on January 25th.

It was a throwback game in some ways as Vincent Lecavalier scored two goals for Philadelphia and former Flyers great Andrej Meszaros bagged a goal for his new team. Some things like bad goaltending for Philly are timeless though, right Steve Mason (27 saves)? Lecavalier was demoted to the fourth line with the scrubs but he still managed to beat Rask at 5:25 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

5:18 after that, Meszaros tied it at one with a blast assisted by Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton. Meszaros' seventh of the season was his second as a Bruin. Ageless Kimmo Timonen-Rask's Finnish homeboy-gave Philly another lead at 19:18. His one-timer was the result of a gorgeous backhand saucer pass (or sauce as the kids say) by Jakub Voracek.

Many teams would be rattled by that but not our Bruins who potted two goals in the second to go ahead 3-2. That power play machine Zdeno Chara tied it at 5:44 on a backhander assisted by Jarome Iginla and David Krejci. Chara's 17th goal of the season was also his team-leading 10th power play goal of the season which trails only Shea Weber (11) for defensemen.

Patrice Bergeron fooled Mason with a quick turnaround shot at 11:05 that went under him and I'm sure he'd like to have back. It was the seventh straight game with a goal for Bergeron, his 27th of the season was assisted by Smith and Matt Bartkowski. Playing in the second leg of a back-to-back, the B's ran out of gas big time in the third as the Flyers outshot them 17-6. Still, it looked like Boston would escape in regulation but Lecavalier tied it with 25 seconds left and Mason off for an extra attacker.

Philadelphia bombarded Rask some more in overtime (8-1 shots advantage) but he stood tall as any Vezina Trophy favorite should. Bergeron scored in the first round of the shootout and Claude Giroux matched that in the second round. Nobody else could beat Rask or Mason until Smith ended it in the fifth round.

Boston started 2-0 on this four-game road trip. After a few days off, they'll be back at it in Detroit (35-26-14) on Wednesday (8, NBCSN) followed by a visit to Toronto (36-32-8) on Thursday (7:30, NESN). Seven more games left in the regular season for the Bruins (two at TD Garden and five on the road).

UPDATE 3/31: Bergeron was named the NHL's second star of the week.

UPDATE 4/1: Krejci is sick and Soderberg's wife is expecting a baby so Ryan Spooner was recalled from Providence on an emergency basis.

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