By: Mark Harriman, Editor
BOSTON (January 13) –The Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers stood toe-to-toe like two heavyweight prizefighters in a wild and wooly three rounder over on Causeway Street tonight. And it was Steve Kampfer who delivered the knockout blow with 1:15 remaining in the third period in Boston’s 7-5 victory.
Brad Marchand mucked the puck out from behind the Philly net and found Kampfer over beyond the right circle and the rookie defenseman drilled a wrister past Rhode Island native Brian Boucher to break a 5-5 tie and finally swing the momentum back in Boston’s direction.
Kampfer also had two big hits on Philly in the third period when it counted most. “I’m not going to lie. I was a little mad that we had the lead at the beginning of the third period,“ Kampfer admitted after the game. “So, I think, personally, I thought something needed to change.”
The official scorer called Kampfer’s an unassisted goal, but Marchand deserves credit for fighting hard to keep it away from Philly and find his teammate, who had a perfect line to Boucher.
Gregory Campbell added an empty netter on a rebound off the pipes with seven seconds left in the game to ensure that the Flyers would stay down for the count.
This game featured just about every type of goal and counter punch you could imagine, including five lead changes and seven total goals in the third period. It even came with an undercard, thanks to the fisticuffs between Shawn Thornton and Philly’s Jody Shelley less than three minutes into the game.
“It was great. A lot of guys chipped in tonight,” Mark Recchi offered in the locker room later. “We competed, we got down and then we came back. We got down again, we came back. We showed a lot of character and it was a good win against the top team in the league right now. So we just have to continue to play like this and clamp down a little bit on the defensive side.”
Philly and Boston traded goals in the first period, with the former grabbing and early 1-0 lead on an infield pop-up that found Scott Hartnell’s stick on Tim Thomas’ glove side at 3:37.
The latter tied it up with just under two minutes remaining in the period with a two man advantage when Marc Savard had a flash of brilliance with his stick handling and found Zdeno Chara waiting over on the right boards, who slapped one past Boucher.
Boston took a 2-1 lead 45 seconds into the second period when Patrice Bergeron found his own little looper a la Hartnell’s. But Philly netted the next two to take a 3-2 lead going into the second intermission.
Then the figurative slugfest began in earnest, as if Ali and Frazier were feeling each other out in the first 40 minutes.
Recchi put one in by virtue of a crazy carom off the glass that caught Boucher behind the net. Tied 3-3.
Adam McQuaid took the puck off the boards and tossed it onto Michael Ryder’s stick. 4-3 Boston.
Tim Thomas came out of the crease to block a shot and Danny Briere put a flucky rebound into a suddenly wide open net. Tied 4-4.
The Flyers’ Sean O’Donnell put one over Thomas’ left shoulder at 7:41. Philly 5-4.
Brad Marchand aced a centering pass from a diving Recchi. Tied 5-5 with just over 9 minutes remaining.
“Even though I thought defensively we might have been a little sloppy, or not as good as we have been, we still battled hard and we still found some ways to score goals and at the end of the night, that’s all you can ask for,” coach Claude Julien said in his post game presser, very pleased to come away with two points the hard way.
The Bruins’ seven goal barrage tonight capped off a seven period run –well, actually six periods and about four minutes dating back to the win at Pittsburgh on Monday night- where they outscored their opponents 17-5.
Coming into tonight’s matchup, Boston has outscored their opponents by a 50-22 margin in the third period this season. And after this slugfest, make it 55-24, for a +31 differential that is tops in the league for any single period.
As dizzying as the third period was, Chara summed it all up perfectly.
“You have the lead, lose the lead, tie the game. Then the other team got the lead and we tied the game and then, you know, we got the lead going into the third period and then they tied it, they got the lead,” the Boston captain recapped. “Just going back and forth, really, like, ‘Okay, who’s going to get the next one coming and then control it?’”
Follow that? If you didn’t, no one will blame you after this one.