BOSTON – It took the Boston Bruins just over 2 minutes to turn a scoreless tie into a 3-0 lead.
The first-period scoring outburst was more than enough offence for the Bruins in a 3-0 shutout over the slumping Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Boston played one of its best defensive games of the season, limiting Philadelphia to 23 shots as Tuukka Rask picked up his 13th career shutout despite not seeing the puck during several long stretches as his teammates controlled play at the other end of the ice.
“We took their time and space away a lot of times and didn’t give them second chances,” said Chris Kelly, whose goal with 6:32 left in the first period put Boston up 2-0.
Tyler Seguin had just given the Bruins a 1-0 lead of the game when he scored on a power play with 8:07 left, his third goal in two games.
Kelly followed that with a wrist shot from the slot, then Daniel Paille finished the flurry by beating Ilya Bryzgalov on a breakaway with 5:08 still to go in the first. The goals came in a span of just 2:18 and the Bruins remained in command the rest of the way.
“I think we only had one shot in the first 10 minutes, but I didn’t think that we were playing poorly,” Kelly said. “The shots aren’t always there. We seemed to get rolling after that and I thought we played a pretty consistent game.”
Boston got goals from three different lines and the six assists came from six players.
Rask stopped the shots that came his way sporadically and got some help from Seguin, who cleared a loose puck after Rask misplayed it while charged out of the crease to avoid a breakaway.
“I think I saw pretty much every puck,” Rask said. “It’s never easy whenever you don’t see that much traffic. It’s kind of mentally tougher to stay sharp.”
The Bruins also managed to hang on to a 3-0 lead, the same cushion they had Tuesday at Washington before the Capitals rallied to win 4-3 in overtime.
There was no rallying for Philadelphia, which lost its third straight exactly one week after reaching .500 for the first time this season.
“After 1-0, we stopped competing,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
The Flyers held a closed-door team meeting after the game. Philadelphia was coming off a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday, going scoreless in the final two periods and blowing a 4-1 lead. The scoring drought reached five periods on Saturday.
“They scored a goal and we never recovered. We never responded to it,” Laviolette said. “We were looking for a response from last game and that wasn’t the response we were looking for.”
Bryzgalov stopped just three of the six shots he faced in the first period, but regained his composure and was the primary reason the game didn’t turn into a rout. Bryzgalov kept Philadelphia within reach with saves on some great scoring chances for the Bruins, who outshot the Flyers 28-23.
The Bruins scored on their first power play when Milan Lucic backhanded a pass across the crease to Seguin, who hit the open net and put Boston up 1-0 with 8:07 left in the first period. It was Seguin’s eighth goal of the season.
Kelly got free in the slot for another wrister with 6:32 left for his 99th career goal and it took less than a minute for the Bruins to strike again. Shawn Thornton forced a turnover at the blue line and set up Paille’s breakaway goal with 5:49 left in the first that put Boston up 3-0.
“Our guys stuck to the game plan,” coach Claude Julien said. “We looked more like the team that had those leads in the past. We had a little glitch there for a couple of games. We’re hoping to turn the page on that.”
Bryzgalov was pulled Thursday after allowing four goals against Pittsburgh.
Laviolette left Bryzgalov in this time despite his struggles in the first period. His teammates didn’t help him much Saturday with sloppy defence in their own end and the Bruins capitalized on it for their second and third goals.
Bryzgalov was sharper in the second period—and the Flyers needed him to be as Boston outshot Philadelphia 13-7 in the period.
Notes: Rich Peverley had an assist on Boston’s second goal, giving him 200 career points. … Seguin has five goals and three assists in eight career games against Philadelphia. … The Flyers are 0-9-0 this season when trailing after the first. … The Bruins have outshot their opponents in all but six of 22 games this season. … Julien has 244 career wins as coach of the Bruins, one short of tying Milt Schmidt for second in team history.