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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bruins v. Flyers LIVE!

BallHype: hype it up!

Here we are on a frigid evening in the northeast, ready to watch some physical hockey between the Boston Bruins (42-12-9) and Philadelphia Flyers (33-18-10) at the Hub of Hockey.

The Flyers come to Boston hoping to end a two-game skid, while the Bruins are hoping to bounce back from their 4-3 OT loss to Washington on Saturday afternoon. If you remember, Tim Thomas was asleep at the wheel when Alexander Semin blasted it by him from 80 feet away. Yes. Eighty feet.

The B's boast a rather sexy 21-4-5 record at the TD Banknorth Garden, but they are just 4-1-4 in their last nine here. It was also the Flyers who beat the Bruins last month which led to Philly going on a nice little win streak.

Some Bruins notes before we get started:

Matt Hunwick will be playing left wing tonight. He played there Saturday, recording a pair of points and looking fairly good for someone out of position. During yesterday's practice he skated on a line with Marc Savard and Phil Kessel. I like this, I like it a lot.

The Bruins and Flyers are both rumored to be interested in Derek Morris, along with any other living, breathing rearguard the NHL has to offer. (Except Hal Gill.)

Milan Lucic is once again a scratch, as he was on Saturday. Remember that beatdown he gave Mike Brown? His hand is still recovering.

Claude Julien and company are looking for a bigger performance out of David Krejci tonight after he missed a goal and then coughed away the puck to Ovechkin on Saturday. It wasn't his best day, but there's plenty of confidence that he'll be back to usual.

Lastly, tonight is the first night of Jack Bingo~! During the game as Jack Edwards says certain phrashes, I will get to mark an X off on my bingo board. I'll post the finished board at the end of the blog, after the game.

There is great satisfaction in placing the first X right through Jack's yellow-toothed grin.

Pregame

Jack gives us a fascinating fact. In a 24 game span earlier this season, Savard and Kessel combined for 23 goals and 40 assists.

That's absolutely disturbing. Then again, you've got to think that Hunwick is gonna have a ton of fun playing with these two.

First Period

Oh my god, Manny Fernandez is in net against the Flyers?


19:20 -
Andrew Ference and Scotty Hartnell are already at it, trading a couple of punches, but the gloves don't come off.

18:48 -
Scottie Upshall absolutely crushes poor Matt Hunwick at center ice.

17:12 - Joffrey Lupul sent to the box for a hook on Wideman.

Couple of long shots and forced covers at either end of the ice thus far, but nothing truly threatening.

16:00 - Chara kills Flyers captain Mike Richards. He doesn't care who leads the NHL in short-handed goals much.

15:11 - Bruins have a couple of chances toward the end of the power play, including Kobasew snapping a shot wide from the slot. Bruins were very sharp with their passing and maybe should have scored.

13:43 - Michael Ryder sent to the box for a trip. Flyers have been atrocious on the power play latelty. It was ugly against New Jersey this weekend.

11:43 - Bruins have now killed 9 of 10 penalties with Michael Ryder sitting in the box.

Come on Jack, we need some of your ridiculous catchphrases.

8:40 - Bergeron loses an edge going into the corner and is absolutely leveled by Carle.

Still no major chances from either team. There's a lot of physical play that's making this a joy to watch though.

8:06 - Niittymaki makes the first huge save of the night. Bruins cycle it around well and it skips to Krejci to the right, has a writer destined for the top half of the net, Niitty in full butterfly extends with the glove. As Jack said, "LARCENY!"

7:26 - Another Bruins power play as there's too many men of the ice.

5:35 PP GOAL 1-0 Bruins - Quick puck movement, the Bruins move it around the umbrella and Patrice Bergeron beats a well out of position Niity for the goal. Just as I was about to groan to Casey in IM about Bergeron and PJ Axelsson being on the same power play line...

Chara and Savard credited with the assists. Savard has been such a catalyst on this home stand.

3:40 - Wideman sent to the box for a high stick. Flyers have come back fierece since the Bergeron goal, strong on the forecheck and creating chances in the B's zone. This penalty kill will be a decent to test of Manny's mettle. Depending on if Philly has figured things out while up a man.

2:01 - While the Flyers are on the power play, it's important to show a graphic telling us that they have yet to allow a short-handed goal this season.

:46 - You've got to feel bad for Manny when he can't even clear it out from his own trapezoid.

And we're through one period, the Bruins up a goal. They're showing good energy and even better intensity. The Flyers are matching that intensity, plenty of great hits. There's certainly a good amount of vitriol between these two teams and it'll be great to see the gloves drop sooner than later.

Also, what gives Jack? The closest you come to with any phrase is "Larceny" but the box on your damn board is "Grand Larceny." My assumption is I can't count it and I won't. So after one period, the only thing that has an X over it is Jack's face. Smirking at me because he refuses to say any of the phrases on this board.

2nd Period

18:30 -
Hunwick looking solid on that left wing tonight. As I suspected he would.

18:11 GOAL 1-1 - Scottie Upshall ties it at one! Savard looking to pass and goes tape to tape onto Upshall who skates in alone and beats Manny under the right arm.

Looks like Savard never saw Upshall coming. Upshall snaked through traffic and just got to the puck as if it were intended for him.

16:19 - Yelle and Bitz crashing the net as Niity covers it. Hartnell comes in from behind and knocks Bitz head first into the crossbar.

13:50 - Nice work by the B's, Krejci works it around the back of the net, Wideman takes a slap shot that deflects all around, falls to Blake Wheeler who can't get the backhander up high enough and Niitty is able to save and cover.

13:03 - During the pause in play, Chara knocks Hartnell to the ice with a quick rabbit right, Coburn tries to get involved and the refs are there to break it up before it goes too far. This was after Hartnell took Bitz into the crossbar and then left his feet to take out Ryder.

So Chara's in the box for roughing and delay. Hartnell's in the box for a couple of minutes as well. Flyers back on the anemic power play. The Bruins outshot the Flyers 1-0 on the last Phily power play.

11:55 -Fernandez "fungos" it out of the air. That's close enough to "Mid-Air Fungo Job" for me. Let's mark us our first X since Jack's face.

9:35 - "D to D for Stuart." Another X. Jack is on a roll!

8:42 - Expert left wing Matt Hunwick into the box for a high stick. Time for another Flyers non-power play.

6:30 - The Flyers are once again killed off, despite Mike Richards creating a couple of chances for his side. They can't snap off the pass, or a Bruin is there to tangle up the puck before it gets to Manny. Yet another good kill for the B's.

5:13 - Hartnell takes about 15 steps into Michael Ryder in front of the Flyers bench and is right called for boarding. It's a B's power play.

4:26 - Jeff Carter (first mention!) skates in two on one and Manny stops the wrister.

2:36 - Bitz rings the iron and the puck falls straight down! Niitty doesn't see it, but falls back onto it for a cover. So close to a Bruins lead here.

Brickley's mic has died. Jack Edwards is alone. I am scared.

After two periods, shots are dead even at 17. I've got the feeling the Flyers got the best of that period, they seemed more physical (maybe mostly Hartnell) and they seemed to have more energy. The Bruins played intensely, but there seemed to be some lethargy sinking in on them. Bitz's ringer off the post was their best shot along with Wheeler's backhand.

Savard has given the puck away a couple of times, including Upshall's goal. Let's see the turnovers and sloppy play cut down, bring up the tempo and get the lead back.

Intermission grammatic fun with Mike Millbury: "They need to stay physically without crossing the line."

Third Period

19:47 -
Random, I think tech guy comes on the air a bit, and then says "I gotta get back to my Jack Bingo card." Jack Bingomania is sweeping the New England area. Catch it!

Now say the damn phrases, Jack.

18:18 - Wing to wing! Jack gives me hope.

17:38 GOAL 2-1 Flyers - Simon Gagne! Andrew Alberts blasts it from the point and Gagne makes a beautiful deflection, knocking it onto the ice and under Manny's glove.

16:36 - I don't know if it's the Flyers being "physically" without going over the line wearing on the B's, or if they don't care that much at the moment.

14:40 - "Ference bangs him." We'll take it as an X for "he bangs him."

14:17 GOAL 3-1 Flyers - Former Bruin Mike Knuble! The Flyers making things happen with the chip in. Worked down behind the net, pushed out in front to Knuble in the slot who fires it past Fernandez.

Not looking good for the B's now.

13:03 - Hartnell sent to the box. Shocking. Bruins need to score a goal here.

9:20 - Nothing doing for the B's. Lots of sloppy passing. Flyers not doing so much either, game has gotten mired down a bit. Seems as if the Flyers are out to simply kill off the last nine minutes here.

6:51 - Coming a bit to life now, the Bruins force a face-off to Niitty's right.

4:48 - Flyers just hanging back in layers and dumping it over the heads of the Bruins and taking their sweet time. Bruins are showing some urgency in the offensive zone however, they need to put more shots in on Niitty, but the Flyers are actually looking strong in defense for a night.

4:28 - Kobasew being sent to the box for an ultra-rare holding the stick penalty. I'd say things are looking dire now.

3:35 PP GOAL 4-1 Flyers - Simon Gagne's second! Bruins trying to create chances even short-handed, Richards has it back in the zone, slips it across for Gagne, Manny has already dived in the opposite direction and Gagne simply puts it past him.

1:53 - Brick surmises that the Flyers simply wanted it more in the third period. I agree wholeheartedly.

1:30 - Jeff Carter sent to the box for hooking. The Bruins looking for three goals int he last 90 seconds.

:41.7 PP GOAL 4-2 - Stephane Yelle! Mark Stuart rips a terrific wrister from the point, deflected perfectly and in by Yelle.

That's all the Bruins are going to get though. In a game where they performed extremely well in the first period, fairly well in the second, they completely and utterly gave up in the third. They were overpowered and outmatched by the Flyers over the course of the last 25-30 minutes of the hockey game and certainly didn't deserve any points with their effort tonight. Like Brick said, Philly showed that they clearly wanted this more.

It's almost as if the Bruins didn't show up on the ice in the third. There were chances here and there, but the Flyers defended well, collapsing and layering themselves, not letting the B's get anything through.

What started as a sparking homestand with a dozen goals in two games, has now seen an OT loss and a listless third period in a 4-2 loss to the fourth place Flyers.

I'm sure Claude's going to have some harsh words for his boys after this one. They started to look more like they did in that woebegone road trip than they did just a week ago.

How'd Jack Bingo go? Not so well, Jack disappointed us all and audio difficulties throughout the third period made it difficult. Here's the board anyway:


Jack's gotta do better for us against the Coyotes on Thursday.

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