Flyers’ Win Streak Comes Crashing Down Against Boston

17 Dec

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It had to end sometime, but the Flyers’ seven-game win streak didn’t just flame out. It crashed and burned. And burned. Then it burned some more. In a penalty-laden affair, the Flyers were embarrassed by the Boston Bruins 6-0 and relinquished first place in the conference to the Northeast Division rival. It was their worst loss of the season.

It was never pretty for the Flyers. Boston scored on the first shot of the game, a deflection for Benoit Pouliot that really handcuffed Ilya Bryzgalov. His day didn’t get any better. He allowed four first-period goals and another in the second period. He allowed five goals on 20 shots before Sergei Bobrovsky came in to relieve him.

As much as Bryzgalov struggled, his defense didn’t help him much. They allowed the Bruins to get in position for screens and weren’t much help clearing the puck out of the crease, let alone the bodies in white jerseys. When Bryzgalov is off his game, he gives up big rebounds. On Saturday afternoon, the Bruins got to those rebounds first.

The five goals came on two deflections, one screen letting a Zdeno Chara slapshot from the point through, and another two deflections. But Bryzgalov didn’t get any help offensively either.

The Flyers shot 31 pucks at Tim Thomas and couldn’t solve him. The workload was actually less than the 37-year-old faced in his last game when he made 47 saves against Ottawa.

But wait, there’s more bad news. In the first period, Sean Couturier got hit in the back of the head by a Kimmo Timonen slapshot and didn’t return to the game.

Without him and down four goals, the Flyers struggled to get anything going. Jody Shelley tried to get them going, fighting Zdeno Chara after the first goal was scored. It was Shelley’s first fight of the season, and a valiant effort, but before many punches could be thrown, Chara’s massive reach took both players to the ice.

Scott Hartnell fought Johnny Boychuk to no avail. Zac Rinaldo was boarded by Milan Lucic in the second period and took out his frustrations on Nathan Horton. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Rinaldo got the better of the much bigger, 6-foot-2, 229-pound Bruin.

No fight, no shot, no power play could spark the Flyers. They were 0-for-6 on the man advantage. Conversely, the Bruins were 3-for-8. There were 26 total penalties in the game, as referee Stephane Auger’s arm was constantly in the air.

Often times, a big streak will end with an ugly loss and Saturday’s certainly qualifies as such. The key for the Flyers will be to jump right back on the winning track. So far, they have survived despite a rash of injuries, but if Couturier is out for an extended period of time, that feat becomes even more difficult.

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