As Seen on NESN –Andrew Ference’s first goal of the season, late in the third period of Saturday afternoon’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the TD Banknorth Garden, couldn’t have come at a better time.
His goal led to a 3-2 overtime victory for the Boston Bruins. Aaron Ward scored the game-winning goal in overtime, and Tim Thomas made 24 saves for the win.
The Broad Street Bullies found themselves on Black & Gold turf for the final match-up of the season between the Bruins and the Flyers.
The Bruins showed no fear, though, and played physically early in the first period.
At about three minutes, Shawn Thornton took on Riley Cote in a nasty bout. Both men earned five minutes in the box for their efforts -- and give Thornton the victory on points.
Derian Hatcher dove to the ice to block a shot by P.J. Axelsson at 7:53 and had to be helped off the ice after Martin Biron made the save.
A shot by Glen Murray at 8:03 pinged off the post of the Flyers net, evoking a groan of disappointment from the crowd in the Garden.
Dennis Wideman spent some time in the penalty box with 11:45 left to go after being called for hooking, giving the Flyers the first power play of the game. But Thomas and the rest of the B’s kept Philly from scoring and even got some chances themselves during the two minutes.
The Black & Gold earned the first goal of the game when Chuck Kobasew took a rebound off a shot from Marco Sturm and tossed it past Biron with 7:39 remaining. The goal, his 21st, gave Kobasew a new career season-high.
Philly went on the man advantage again when Phil Kessel was called for holding with 7:06 to go but, once more, failed to make anything of it.
Then, Mark Stuart sent the B’s down a man for the third time in the first 20 minutes with a holding penalty at 16:43.
After he came out of the box, with under a minute remaining, Stuart sought revenge on Scott Hartnell after he and a teammate smashed Kessel into the boards.
Stuart stuck up for his fellow Bruin but was given a two-minute roughing penalty, as was Hartnell, as the buzzer sounded.
Just 32 seconds into the second, the Black & Gold earned a four-on-three advantage for two minutes as Kimmo Timonen was called for interference.
Then, with the B’s on the five-on-four man-advantage, Timmy made a clutch stop just to the right of his net on a shorthanded shot by Braydon Coburn at 2:15.
At 6:09, Boston went on the power play again when Michael Knuble earned a holding penalty, but the Flyers penalty kill kept them from even taking a shot.
Back at even strength, Mike Richards batted the puck over Thomas’s right shoulder and into the net at 9:14. The game-tying goal went under review, but the on-ice call remained.
Philadelphia took advantage of that momentum, and while Thomas was protecting the left side of the net, Daniel Briere, stationed at the right goalpost, pushed the puck into the other side and put the Flyers up 2-1 with 7:35 remaining in the second.
Some action in the Flyers end of the rink in the last few minutes of the period gave the B’s numerous chances to tie the game, but Philly still led as the teams left the ice after 40 minutes of play.
However, an end-of-period scuffle in the Bruins end between Ward and Scottie Upshall would put both players in the box for high-sticking to start the final 20 minutes of play.
The Black & Gold found themselves on another early four-on-three power play when Jaroslav Modry was called for tripping at 1:07.
A near-goal by Sturm at 1:25 led to an incredible save by Biron, who, missing a stick for the moment, swept the puck off the goal line with his glove.
Thomas had his chance to show off when a two-on-one in favor of the Flyers forced him to make a glove save, snapping the puck out of the air, followed by two more great saves around the four-minute mark.
Boston continued to play desperately, and Thomas kept the Flyers at bay, but, in the other end of the Garden, Philly and Biron did the same.
A pass from Milan Lucic gave Glen Metropolit a shot with 6:41 remaining, but Biron clamped down and kept the puck out of net.
A shot by Vladimir Sobotka around the 14-minute mark was saved by Biron, but Thornton took another shot, and a scrum in the Flyers end ensued where Coburn attacked Sobotka, and Thornton jumped in to protect his teammate. The referees broke it up, and play continued with both teams at full strength.
After a save by Thomas in the other end, a similar situation occurred when Ference took a punch from Hartnell.
In play unrelated to the recent spats, Ference was called for tripping with 4:43 to go, but the score remained 2-1 through the B’s penalty kill.
Thomas made a nice save on a breakaway shot by Jeff Carter with just under two minutes remaining and another save when Richards took a shot about 20 seconds later.
As the clock ticked down to the end, it looked like the Flyers would win in 60 minutes, but the Bruins weren’t about to let that happen.
Ference came through in the final seconds of regulation – with 27 seconds remaining, to be exact – and scored his first goal of the season to tie the score, sending the game into overtime and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
It became a game of three-on-three 27 seconds into overtime when Coburn and Sturm were called for roughing.
Murray just about had the game-winning goal at 34 seconds, but Biron made an amazing save, robbing the B’s of the game for the moment.
A breakaway shot at 2:06 by Carter forced Thomas to make a similar save and keep the game going.
Aaron Ward, however, came through for the Black & Gold about halfway through overtime, scored the game-winning goal at 2:17.
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