The Boston Bruins survived a bruising encounter to emerge with a 6-5 shootout triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday as two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams treated spectators to a thrilling roller-coaster ride.
David Krejci and Tyler Seguin both scored in regulation and the shootout, while Tim Thomas held the Flyers to one goal in the tiebreaker to ensure the Bruins caught up with the New York Rangers at the top of the East standings.
Thomas, who finished with 33 saves, stopped Wayne Simmonds’ final attempt to end the game.
In a wild and physical see-saw struggle, Boston went 3-1 up in the first period, only to see their lead disappear when Scott Hartnell exploded for a hat-trick in the second.
Hartnell’s first three-goal game since 2008 gave him 25 goals this season, but it was not enough to earn his team the victory.
“You’ve got to be able to nail games down when you’re up a goal,” Hartnell told reporters. “Especially against an offensive team like the Bruins. We didn’t do it tonight.”
Krejci and Gregory Campbell responded to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead early in the third, before Maxime Talbot netted the game-tying goal for Philadelphia, his second of the game, midway through the third.
Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic also added scores for Boston, who lost a heavyweight overtime battle to the Rangers on Saturday, but rebounded to meet their latest challenge.
“It’s good,” Lucic said of the Bruins’ ability to earn points against a pair of tough opponents. “Two teams that are on top of the league and the Eastern Conference, two teams that have played well all season. It’s great that we were able to get one yesterday and get that shootout win here today.”
The Flyers (28-14-5) had been dominated in a 6-0 defeat to the defending Stanley Cup champions the Bruins (31-13-2) on Dec. 17, but Sunday’s matchup was decidedly more competitive.
The game featured 36 penalty minutes in the first period alone, including a pair of fights that set the tone for a nasty grudge match.
Claude Giroux had three assists and Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 32 saves for the Flyers.
Sunday’s other results:
‧ Penguins 4, Capitals 3
‧ Ducks 3, Avalanche 2