Bruins rally past Flyers for 5-4 shootout win in home opener
Jake DeBrusk scored the lone goal in a shootout and the Boston Bruins won their home opener with a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
In a wild game, the Flyers (3-1-1) led 2-0 and 3-2 but the Bruins (2-1-1) scored four times in the third period on goals by rookie Jack Studnicka, Charlie Coyle, Nick Ritchie and Brandon Carlo.
James van Riemsdyk scored twice for the Flyers, who also got goals from Claude Giroux and Travis Sanheim. Jakub Voracek had three assists, Kevin Hayes added two and Carter Hart made 39 saves.
DeBrusk flipped a shot over Hart just under the crossbar for the game-winner.
Tuukka Rask made a glove stop on Giroux to end the shootout. Rask turned aside 22 shots in regulation and overtime.
"He was lights out in the overtime and shootout," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Last year we couldn't win a shootout to save our lives and this year we've won two of them. Go figure."
Carlo scored Boston's fourth goal of the third, beating Hart from the left point with 4:42 left to give the Bruins their first lead. But the Flyers tied it on van Riemsdyk's second goal of the game 1:10 later, a wrister from the right circle on the power play.
Rask made the highlight save of overtime, sliding across to rob Hayes with his right pad.
"I actually said (on the bench), 'I wouldn't want to go up against Tuuks in a shootout,'" said Studnicka, who scored his first NHL goal. "He's so calm in there."
Voracek's shot from the slot deflected off Sanheim's right skate and in just over five minutes after the Bruins rallied with two goals 70 seconds apart early in the third period to tie it 2-all.
Ritchie's power-play goal tied it again with 6:38 left in the third.
"We gave the puck away too much in the third. We kind of let them back in the game instead of keep playing our game," Voracek said. "We should have put the game away in overtime. We had three or four Grade-A chances, but unfortunately Rask stopped them."
Studnicka sliced it to 2-1 just 57 seconds into the third period. It was Boston's first 5-on-5 goal of the season.
"It was a big one for us there," Ritchie said.
Coyle's turnaround shot from the left circle tied it.
Playing their first home game in TD Garden since March 7, the Bruins created the atmosphere of an opener - as best they could without fans - by introducing their coaching staff and players, including those who were sidelined and dressed in suits.
"We knew that they would come out hard; this was their first home game," Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Sometimes games unfold like this. Our power play found a way to tie the game up and we got a point out of this and it's onto the next game."
The last time the Bruins played at the Garden they were rolling with the NHL's best record. Since then, they lost in the second round of the playoffs to eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay and saw Zdeno Chara, their 14-year captain, leave via free agency to sign with Washington.
Todd Angilly sang a socially distanced version of the national anthem that was taped outside the home of Stephen A. Cipolla of Somerville, a 42-year season-ticket holder who died recently from complications of COVID-19.
SOUNDS AND SIGHTS
Music blared - as usual - during stoppages, but with the empty black seats as a backdrop it was the sounds of sticks, pucks banging off the boards, calls for passes and even a few complaints about penalties that echoed around the arena.
Flyers: Face the Bruins again Saturday night in their second of a four-game road trip. The final two will be in Newark, New Jersey, against the Devils.
Bruins: Saturday's game against Philadelphia will be their second of a three-game homestand.