B’s blitzed in Philly
Swayman has his worst night, yielding five goals on 24 shots
PHILADELPHIA — Poor puck management and shaky goaltending usually produce some unpalatable results, and the Bruins got exactly that in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.
Rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman had the roughest night of his young career, giving up five goals on 24 shots, while some of the skaters in front of him gave equally unsightly performances, especially on the back end.
“(Swayman’s) not going to be perfect every night and he clearly wasn’t tonight. Not his best. We needed some saves there when we broke down,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “Our breakdowns were bad in front of him. It wasn’t a lot of quantity, but high quality. Mistakes from the back end, it’s losing hockey, is what it is. That’s how you lose games. You do dumb things and good teams come back at you and they finish and that’s what happened.”
Cassidy tweaked his back end, flipping Matt Grzelcyk up to the top pair with Charlie McAvoy and, playing a lot of shifts with the top line, the group of five controlled play when they were on the ice. It’s a strategy Cassidy said he’ll employ again when he feels the size matchup will allow it. But the two bottom pairs did not hold up their end.
After the B’s had erased a 3-1 deficit late in the second period, the Flyers seized the game with three unanswered goals in the third. The slide into oblivion commenced quickly, just 58 seconds into the last period.
Mike Reilly coughed up the puck on a rush through the neutral zone, putting a pass on Joel Farabee’s stick and the former BU Terrier immediately counter-attacked on an odd-man rush with Cam Atkinson. Brandon Carlo could not keep Farabee’s crossing pass from getting to the former BC Eagle and, though Taylor Hall made a good effort to backcheck to prevent Atkinson from getting a good shot off, Swayman could not get over in time to stop the sliding puck for Atkinson’s second of the night.
“I thought the guy just had a good stick,” said Reilly. “I feel like I’d make that play definitely most of the times. But (Farabee) had a good stick, he jumped on it. … I don’t think it was too risky. I just didn’t make the play.”
The Flyers regained their two-goal lead at 11:27 on a shot that, on a good night, Swayman would have had, even though it was a quality chance. From the high slot, Travis Konecny beat Swayman cleanly past the glove to make it 5-3. Sean Couturier added an empty netter to finish it off.
Though the B’s had a big shot advantage (40-25), they never led and were on the chase all night. The hosts took advantage of some over-aggressiveness by the B’s to strike first.
After some heavy Bruin pressure, Derek Forbort was a tick slow to the puck on a pinch attempt along the left boards and Derick Brassard sent Atkinson off on a 2-on-1. With Connor Clifton back, Atkinson decided to keep it and beat Swayman with a wrister that broke through the rookie’s glove at 8:08.
The B’s evened it up at 16:48 with a fourth line goal. Tomas Nosek fed Trent Frederic in the high slot in good shooting position. Frederic’s shot did not make it through to goalie Martin Jones, but it hit a leg in front, then squirted to the left of the net where Karson Kuhlman was to pop home the easy goal at 16:48.
But the B’s could not get out of the period without a deficit, as bad decisions started to mount.
It started with the B’s on the attack, when Flyer defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen buried Charlie Coyle with a big hit against the end boards and then pitchforked him to the ice.
Coyle got up in an unhappy mood. Eventually he took a tripping penalty behind the Flyer net at 18:25 and, with 8.9 seconds left in the period, the Flyers cashed in with Farabee collecting the loose change for the goal.
Some more sloppy Bruin play led to a 3-1 Flyer lead at 1:58 of the second period. Keith Yandle tried to set up James van Riemsdyk on a long bank pass off the end boards but when van Riemsdyk caught up to it, he didn’t have much more of an option than to just fire a bad angle shot. That shot, however, produced a fat rebound off Swayman, which went right to Scott Laughton in the slot. Beating Jake DeBrusk and Nick Foligno (who left the game with an upper body injury and will be re-evaluated on Thursday) to the spot, Laughton buried it past Swayman for the two-goal lead.
That Bruin deficit would not last the period.
The B’s got one back at 8:38 on Hall’s first of the year. Charlie McAvoy collected a loose puck along the boards and, catching Ristolainen on a bad change, sent the speedy left wing off on a clean breakaway. Hall made it look easy, scooping the puck over Jones’ glove shoulder to make it 3-2.
McAvoy again figured largely in the tying goalie with just under a minute to play in the second. The defenseman took the puck in deep in, swung out on the left side and put a shot on Jones. David Pastrnak grabbed the rebound and tried to jam it home, but it squirted over to Brad Marchand on the left side and he buried his third goal of the season with 59.4 seconds left in the second to send the game into the third deadlocked at 3-3.
The mistakes kept coming in the third, however, Swayman was not able to absolve his teammates of those miscues and the B’s very much earned their first loss of the season.
Said Swayman: “It stings right now. I’m glad it got out of the way early. I have a lot to learn from it and we’ll move forward from here.”