It took until the extra session, but the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Boston Bruins on Monday night. The term “must-win” gets thrown around a lot, but this game was one that the Flyers truly needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
This is a massive week for the Flyers, and they were able to get a win that they needed.
“There’s no doubt that –– we talked about it before the game –– we needed this win,” Alain Vigneault said after the game.
The Flyers took an early 1-0 lead, but fell behind 2-1 in the second period. They came back in the third period to tie the game on the power play before Travis Sanheim scored to win it in overtime.
“Coming back in the NHL when you’re down after two is extremely hard, it’s a tough league. Coming back against the Bruins is probably an even bigger task with the veteran group that they have there and the experience. It’s a challenge,” Vigneault said.
“Our power play came up big for us at the right time. Tomorrow, both teams are right back at it. Both teams need to win, it’s going to be another hard-fought game. It’s not going to be easy,” AV continued. “They’re going to be ready and we’re going to be ready, and it should be an exciting game.”
Two points in the first of two
In the first game of a home-and-home, the Flyers gained an important point on the Bruins. They still trail by three points, and the Bruins have two games in hand, but the two teams finish their home-and-home tonight before meeting again on Saturday afternoon in Boston.
The games this week are incredibly important for the Flyers if they want to climb back into the playoff picture and potentially be buyers at Monday’s trade deadline. They were able to get a point on Saturday in a fairly even game that Claude Giroux and Carter Hart took over.
The Flyers weren’t the clear-cut better team on Monday night, but it was a much more structured effort in a hard-fought game.
“I think we’ve actually been really happy with the way we’ve been playing games. We’ve been doing the right things and sometimes not getting rewarded for it,” said Travis Konecny, who broke a 12-game goal drought to open the scoring.
“I think tonight’s just a big game for us knowing where they’re at and where we’re at in the standings and what’s on the line every single night. We answered tonight the right way, coming out playing hard and it’s just a really good effort by everybody tonight.”
Bouncing back from rock bottom
Due to a shortened schedule that was even more condensed in March because of to COVID postponements, the Flyers had their first back-to-back days off on Thursday and Friday. Since then, their game has looked much better.
After hitting rock bottom, the Flyers used those days off to reset and get ready for the home stretch before the trade deadline. It couldn’t have come at a better time for a floundering Flyers team.
“We knew it was a big game coming in. Obviously a pretty big goal,” Sanheim said. “Needed to get the two points, would’ve loved to get it in regulation, but we got the two points nonetheless. It was a good team win. Felt good to get that one.”
A win in regulation would’ve given the Flyers a chance to tie the Bruins tonight, but it was still an important point.
“It’s a huge extra point we got there,” Sean Couturier said. “We’re battling for a playoff spot, they are as well, so it was a hard-fought battle, and good thing we came on top there.”
One of the things that plagued the Flyers in March was inconsistency. They would put a solid effort together, and perhaps even get a win, but then fall flat the next game. They’ve now gotten points in two straight games thanks to two pretty good efforts.
Keep it up to catch the Bruins
They’ll need to keep that up heading into the second half of the home-and-home.
“It’s going to be another battle tomorrow night,” Brian Elliott said. “We gotta bring that same intensity and persistence. When we play well, that’s the type of game that we win.”
Elliott got his first start since allowing four goals on 16 shots in Wednesday’s loss in Buffalo. He was solid in net, making 27 saves on 29 shots in the win.
It’ll be Carter Hart between the pipes on Tuesday. He returned from a hard-working week of practice with confidence and a smile on Saturday night. The Flyers didn’t pull out the win for him, but it was evident that Hart was locked in. Hopefully, that can continue for the rest of the season.
The Flyers won on Monday night, but it won’t matter if they don’t follow it up with the same type of effort on Tuesday night.
The Flyers and Bruins will face off at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.