By Jenny Masters
Sean Couturier’s third-period goal broke a tie and the Flyers picked up a critical 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Brian Elliott stopped 30 shots, and Philly moved within four points of Boston for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NHL’s East Division. The Bruins have two games in hand on the Flyers with Philly having 16 games remaining. The two teams have completed their regular-season series.
Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere added goals in the victory, only the second in eight contests against Boston this season.
“It’s about gaining momentum and confidence and trying to string together those segments where you’re winning a lot of games,” said Konecny, who also added an assist. “As far as how we’ve been playing, we’re not super surprised. It’s how we’ve been wanting to play all year and how we know we can play, and now it’s just coming together and things are starting to happen for us.
“We just got to stick to the same way we’ve been playing, the same plan, and regroup and come back and be ready to play again.”
Patrice Bergeron and Jack DeBrusk scored for the Bruins. Jeremy Swayman stopped 20 shots in the Boston net.
“Obviously, they had a lot to play for,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We had a few breakdowns and they converted on them.”
Couturier broke a 2-2 tie just under seven minutes into the third, converting off a Joel Farabee pass to the right of the net and capitalizing on a fallen Swayman in the Boston crease for his 12th goal of the year.
That was enough for Elliott and the beleaguered Flyers’ defensive corps, which clamped down on the Bruins power play. Boston entered Saturday’s game with a 10-for-20 mark against the Flyers on the power play this season. Philly held the Bruins scoreless in four tries.
“The ability to get in lanes, have good sticks and force them into plays that they don’t really want to make, I thought we were really strong in that area,” Elliott said. “It’s something we’ve been stressing for a while now. I think we’ve been getting better and better.”
Boston opened the scoring early in the first period when Bergeron capitalized on a turnover behind the Philadelphia net and whipped a one-timer past Elliott. It was Bergeron’s 16th goal of the season and his eighth in eight games against the Flyers.
Philly answered quickly when Konecny pounced on a deep rebound from a Robert Haag shot and put it into the empty left side of the net to tie it. Late in the first period, Konecny threaded a nifty pass to Gostisbehere, who tipped it past Swayman to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead.
Boston tied the game midway through the second period when DeBrusk beat Elliott from the open area just above the crease.
“There’s no time for excuses right now,” DeBrusk said. “We’re trying to rally around each other. This is a playoff push and it is the most exciting time of the year.”