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Thomas, Lucic help Bruins upend Flyers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Boston Bruins are gradually returning

to their midseason form.

Tim Thomas made 45 saves for his career-high 32nd win, Milan

Lucic scored two goals and the Bruins held off the Philadelphia

Flyers, 4-3, on Sunday night for their third straight victory.

Dennis Wideman and Mark Recchi also scored, David Krejci added

three assists, and Zdeno Chara had two assists for the Eastern

Conference-leading Bruins, who snapped a five-game road losing

streak Saturday night with a 7-5 victory in Toronto.

Asked if the team was getting back where it was defensively when

it won ten straight games and 15 of 16, Thomas said, "I think

it's a step in the right direction.

"Offensively we were opportunistic and scored some big goals and

we're getting that part of our game together," Thomas explained.

"We're making steps forward in the other direction. but I don't

think anybody thinks that we're completely there. I think it's a

step in the right direction."

Thomas was especially effective midway through the second period

when he thwarted a Philadelphia two-man advantage for 1:52 and

made a brilliant stop on a shot by Scott Hartnell. A few seconds

later, he denied Mike Knuble's attempt from the doorstep.

"It's frustrating," Hartnell said. "It would've put us right

back in the hockey game. It was probably a big motivation shift

on their part."

"It was really good to come out of this weekend with four

points, no matter how you get them," Thomas said.

Claude Giroux, Mike Richards and Simon Gagne scored for the

Flyers, who had won four of their previous five games.

Antero Niittymaki, making his first start in seven games, made

27 saves for the Flyers.

"Ready to play, moving side to side, and timing and stuff like

that I was a little rusty," Niittymaki said. "But I've felt a

lot worse."

Giroux put the Flyers ahead at 4:56 of the first period, scoring

from the side of the net after taking a pass from Arron Asham.

Boston then scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead.

"I think our forecheck tonight was better than what we've seen

in a long time," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "We were much

better defensively, obviously, and had much fewer breakdowns.

We're establishing ourselves as a four-line team again."

Lucic teamed with Michael Ryder on a 2-on-1 rush to tie it at

10:39.

After Wideman scored with a slap shot through a screen with the

Bruins holding a two-man advantage at 13:55, Lucic added his

second goal at 17:54, scoring from inside the left circle.

Krejci picked up his third assist of the period on the play.

"We wanted to come out hard," Lucic said. "We got the momentum

on our side and we just controlled the second and third period."

Richards made it 3-2 with 2:11 left in the second period when he

redirected Ryan Parent's long slap shot for his 29th goal.

Recchi reached around Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn to

poke in a rebound of a shot by Chuck Kobasew at 4:21 of the

third period.

Skating with the extra attacker, Gagne scored on a goalmouth

scramble with 1:12 left in the third period to bring the Flyers

closer.

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