Bruins Produce "Complete Game" in 6-1 Win over Flyers
PHILADELPHIA - In the visiting team locker room at the Wells Fargo Center, following the Bruins' 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, Head Coach Claude Julien finished up speaking with reporters.
Tuukka Rask, clad in his suit, was patiently waiting in front of the stalls on the other side of the room.
Once Julien's media availability ended, the bench boss laughed. "The more important guy's over there, guys," he gestured over to his netminder with a smile.
Rask had pulled off a 25-save performance in the win, and seemingly effortless games like this for the goalie often mean a strong effort in front of him.
And that's exactly what produced a smiling Julien postgame: a team effort that ended with the Black & Gold's second six-goal game of the season.
"Yeah, it was great," Rask told the gathered reporters who had shifted to him. "Really kept it going the whole 60 minutes. I think the first period was the most even, both teams had chances, and we ended up scoring. And the good thing is, that we never let our guard down, we just kept pushing and getting more goals."
The netminder had to be on his toes, though, right from the start, with a few quick chances from the Flyers. After that, the Bruins' work in all three zones took over, and Philadelphia couldn't push back hard enough.
"I thought, right from the drop, every single guy was ready to go," said Jarome Iginla, who notched two goals (and his 95th multi-goal game) amidst a four-point game. "And it was a fun game to play, for sure."
Iginla started off the game with a setup to Zdeno Chara on the power play, 6:30 into the first period. The Captain got some luck, with the puck bouncing off the skate of Braydon Coburn and right into the back of the net.
Then, with just 17.1 on the clock left in the opening frame, Iginla wristed in his first goal of the game from the top of the right circle, after Milan Lucic had picked up Torey Krug's simple ring around the boards to keep the puck alive in the zone.
"As a group, our focus was really the forecheck and I thought it was good tonight," said Iginla, who logged a shift of 2:02 in the first, because of that sustained time in the Flyers' zone.
"Playing them, we definitely talked about having respect for their offense and trying to play in their zone instead of ours, and I thought zone time, we had a great forecheck as a group, and sustained, and to be able to get chances off of that."
"Some days, they don't go, but tonight, we were able to find ways to make them go."
Iginla wasn't the only one finding ways into the back of the net. At 6:59 into the second period, Reilly Smith chased down a puck lobbed through center ice by Patrice Bergeron, poked the puck to cause havoc, and backhanded it past Steve Mason as he was losing his balance to make it a 3-0 lead.
"From the back end, all the way out - we're doing a good job in the defensive zone and in the offensive zone," said Smith, who highlighted the consistency built during the team's past four games. They've picked up seven of eight points in that span.
"Timely goals are huge and I think that's one thing we're doing a great job at right now."
Flyers Captain Claude Giroux would get his team on the board with a power-play goal in the third period, but the Bruins took advantage of a double-minor assessed to Nicklas Grossman for high-sticking Jordan Caron in the face (Caron had slotted in the lineup on the fourth line, after Ryan Spooner couldn't play due to illness. Daniel Paille moved up alongside Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg).
Iginla pulled the trigger on his one-timer from the sweet spot of the left faceoff circle on the power play that ensued. Just 55 seconds later, he walked in from the left half wall, the bouncing puck magnetically attracted to his stick, and fed Chara with a slick cross-crease pass from behind the goal line for the defenseman's 11th of the season.
"It was a really good game for our team, from all the way out," said Iginla. "That was a complete game, and felt good."
"You know, we had a [four-day] break and we were trying to make the most of it and come out and have some energy to start the game."
The Bruins now have nine players above 20 points, and eight in double digits with goals. They operate best when they're spreading the wealth.
"The more you can spread the scoring around, the tougher team you are to defend against, so it's important that we get that," said Julien. "There are teams, as you know, that have the one guy that leads the way, and you have to shut him down. It makes it a lot tougher for them to win. So we like the fact that we're well-balanced and the scoring is spread out."
"When you're doing that, everyone's moving their feet and moving the puck and there's a lot of nice plays, and good shots," said Dougie Hamilton, who made his return to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion. "So I think everyone's going to say that was fun, and hopefully we can keep doing that."
When you're having fun and everyone's contributing, it translates to a happy, smiling, modestly confident locker room.
That includes the head coach - and a casual, cool Rask.
"Great example of that, I think," said the netminder, of their team game. "When you get that nice lead, then you can roll four lines and you don't have to overload the top lines too much. Spoons [was out] so we had to mix the lines a little bit and never slowed us down, it was great to see."
"Great effort. Team effort."