The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers experienced a picturesque environment at Lake Tahoe on Sunday. Upon sunset, the Bruins took over.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad faced another deficit after Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee answered David Pastrnak’s first goal of the game a mere 34 seconds in. Charlie McAvoy — a culprit of a broken stick prior to Couturier’s tally — evened things up with a blast from the point.
The Bruins never looked back after Pastrnak put them ahead for good with his second of the evening just 46 seconds into the second period. They created further separation against a shorthanded Flyers bunch after Charlie Coyle, Trent Frederic and Nick Ritchie lit the lamp in a 1:39 span late in the middle stanza.
Pastrnak completed the hat trick — his second of the year against the Flyers — 4:21 after James van Reimsdyk’s power play tip in late in the third.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad not only grabbed the lead — again — but extended it. They didn’t need to pull out any come-from-behind theatrics on this night. Instead, the Bruins, wearing their reverse retro uniforms for the first time this season, enjoyed the day’s festivities from donning 1990’s wardrobe on the way to the rink to the final buzzer of a 7-3 victory.
“Our guys were really into it,” Cassidy said. “They had a lot of fun playing the game tonight, and I think it showed.”
Here’s what we learned from Boston’s third outdoor hockey win in franchise history.
Upbeat Pastrnak tricks Flyers again
Pastrnak wasn’t finished celebrating Boston’s latest outdoor triumph before his media availability. As he was dancing to the postgame playlist, a PR rep pulled him aside before the track switched to ‘Barbie Girl.’
The upbeat Pastrnak, with 113 points in his last 82 games, didn’t shy away from his colorful wardrobe and personality during his postgame Zoom conference. Who can blame him for that following another outstanding performance?
“We were listening to Barbie Girl before you guys asked me to do media,” Pastrnak joked. “I was kind of dancing with these glasses out in the locker room then you guys ruined it and I had to go answer questions. So I missed the Barbie girl song.”
Pastrnak’s loose attitude resonates throughout a locker room of diverse personalities. On the ice, he had another trick up his sleeves with his second three-goal outing against the Flyers this season.
He scored his latest hatty through different means. It didn’t matter if the sun glared in his eyes at the start, whether dusk settled in the middle or whether he capped off his performance in darkness. Pastrnak found unique ways to light the lamp.
Pastrnak started his outing finishing a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand flanking him a mere 34 seconds in.
His highlight reel outing continued when he went top shelf on Carter Hart with an impressive no-look shot.
The impressive night from the dynamic Czech playmaker ended when he fired home his patented one-timer past Brian Elliott off John Moore’s feed.
Pastrnak reunited with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on Sunday. They picked up right where they left off after Cassidy separated the trio in Thursday’s loss to the Devils.
But Pastrnak and his fellow linemates didn’t have to carry the team singlehandedly. The secondary scoring department also chipped in during one of Boston’s more well-rounded efforts this season.
Secondary scoring quickly creates separation in middle stanza
The Bruins dominated the Flyers in every statistical category. Yet, they found themselves clinging to a one-goal lead in the second period despite allowing a mere three shots on net to the Flyers in that 20-minute span.
That all changed in a mere 99 seconds, beginning with Coyle’s third goal of the season at 16:14. The onslaught continued with Frederic’s first career goal 33 seconds later and ended when Ritchie tipped in Moore’s power-play blast from the point at 17:53.
The Bruins dealt with makeshift units on the second, third and fourth lines as David Krejci stayed in Boston to nurse a lower-body injury. It’s not like they were unfamiliar with one another. Ritchie’s chemistry with Coyle and Craig Smith blossomed in the early portion of the season. DeBrusk and Bjork — skating with Jack Studnicka on the third line — worked together with various centers in the past. Frederic’s physicality gave Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner another dynamic to work with on the fourth line.
The second, third and fourth lines accumulated eight points on three goals and five assists against the Flyers. They’ll need more of that scoring depth in the long run.
Defense steps up after Lauzon’s injury
The Bruins already had to deal without the services of two left-shot defensemen in Matt Grzelcyk and Jakub Zboril. They lost their other left-shot blue-liner from opening night in Jeremy Lauzon just 34 seconds into his only shift on the top pair with Charlie McAvoy.
Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo provided the Bruins with the usual stability on the right-side in Lauzon’s absence. Moore and Connor Clifton, paired together on the third defensive unit, remained assertive as their ice time increased. Urho Vaakaninen, in his first NHL game this season, remained poised in the outdoor setting.
“They stepped up,” Cassidy said of Boston’s defensive core. “It was addressed in the first period that we would need help from the forward group as well, especially on the breakouts and the scrum pucks below the goal-line…we needed to do our jobs on the walls, so we don’t get stuck for an extended period of times in our end, and I thought the second period was terrific in that regard.”
Together, Boston’s defense allowed 19 shots on net. They had a couple of hiccups along the way, including an instance where McAvoy broke his stick leading to chaos in front of Tuukka Rask on Couturier’s tally and a makeshift pair of Clifton and Carlo trailing Farabee following a crazy carom off the boards leading to his eighth goal of the season.
McAvoy and company more than made up for those miscues with their stout defensive effort. The blue-liners also provided timely offense — beginning with McAvoy’s first-period equalizer — combining for a goal and five assists.
Cassidy didn’t have any update on Lauzon’s status afterward. The Bruins will have a defensive reinforcement in Kevan Miller when he rejoins the team for their next three-game trip to New York.
The fifth-year Boston bench boss may have some difficult decisions when his D core returns to full health. On Sunday, the seventh (Clifton), eighth (Moore) and ninth (Vaakanainen) defensemen on the depth chart gave Cassidy something to ponder over.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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