Surging Bruins tip Flyers in shootout

Posted March 30, 2014, at 3:57 p.m.
Last modified March 30, 2014, at 5:36 p.m.
Boston Bruins right wing Reilly Smith (18) celebrates his game-winning shootout goal with center Chris Kelly (23) and left wing Milan Lucic (17) against the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Bruins defeated the Flyers, 4-3 in a shootout.
Eric Hartline | USA Today Sports
Boston Bruins right wing Reilly Smith (18) celebrates his game-winning shootout goal with center Chris Kelly (23) and left wing Milan Lucic (17) against the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The Bruins defeated the Flyers, 4-3 in a shootout.

PHILADELPHIA — While the road to the Stanley Cup will likely go through Boston in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins are doing just fine on the road.

Right winger Reilly Smith scored the decisive goal in a shootout and the Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on Sunday afternoon for a team-record ninth straight win on the road.

Center Patrice Bergeron and defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andrej Meszaros scored goals for Boston, which has not lost in regulation since March 1. The Bruins are 15-0-1 since and 52-17-6 overall.

“We’ve kept telling ourselves to keep pushing and establishing some consistency in the last stretch,” Bergeron said. “We’ve been doing that and we have to keep that going. Our schedule has been on the road for basically the last month, so we’re used to it now and we feel fine on the road.”

The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division on Saturday and have an 11-point lead over Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier’s second goal of the game tied it with 24 seconds left in regulation.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen also scored a goal for Philadelphia after Lecavalier got his 400th career goal to open the scoring.

The Flyers (39-27-8) are tied with the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with eight games remaining. The Rangers played at Edmonton later Sunday night.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had 49 saves plus four in the shootout to claim his 100th career victory in the NHL.

Bergeron and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux scored in the five-round shootout before Smith beat goalie Steve Mason to win it.

Bergeron gave the Bruins their first lead, 3-2, on his 27th goal with 8:55 left in the second period. His turnaround, no-look shot went through Mason’s legs. Bergeron has a goal in seven straight games, a career best.

“It’s one of those streaks that the puck’s going in,” Bergeron said. “I don’t think I’m doing anything different. It’s just trying to keep playing my game at 200 feet and playing on both sides and my linemates and everyone are still helping me.”

The Flyers had a five-on-three advantage for 1:47 early in the third period but could not capitalize.

It stayed 3-2 until Lecavalier’s clutch goal, his 18th this season.

“We should have won in regulation, but you have to give them credit,” Meszaros said. “They really pushed us, they really worked hard and you can see they are a desperate team trying to make the playoffs.

“They did play well, but on the other hand, we got the two points. We had a tough game yesterday and coming into this building is always tough. It was a character win.”

Chara’s power-play goal early in the second period tied it at 2. He scored on a backhander for his 17th goal this season.

Timonen put the Flyers up 2-1 with 42 seconds left on the first period. Right winger Jakub Voracek set it up with a pretty pass to Timonen, who ripped a slap shot in for his fifth goal of the season.

Lecavalier gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead early in the first when he fired a slap shot past Rask for his second goal in two games since his demotion to the fourth line. He was back on the second line in the third period.

“It’s a great honor,” Lecavalier said of becoming the 90th player to reach 400 goals. “But I have to move on now. It felt great. I never thought when I was 18 years old when I got in the league that I would get there. I was very proud.”

But Meszaros tied it midway through the period when he beat Mason with a slap shot from the slot.

NOTES: The Bruins are one of two NHL teams that have a winning all-time record against the Flyers. Montreal is the other. Boston also is the only team with a winning all-time record vs. the Flyers on the road. … Bruins RW Jarome Iginla reached 30 goals for the 12th time in Saturday’s 4-2 win at Washington. … The Bruins beat the Flyers 6-1 in Philadelphia on Jan. 25. They will finish their season series in Boston next Saturday. … Boston was missing D Dennis Seidenberg (knee) and D Adam McQuaid (leg). … Flyers RW Steve Downie (upper body) returned to practice on Saturday but remained out of the lineup. … Former Flyers D Andrej Meszaros returned for his first game in Philadelphia since he was traded to Boston on March 5.

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