Bruins, Flyers continue points chase in pivotal matchup
Boston moved back atop the Atlantic Division on Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
“I liked it. I think most people liked it,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of adding winger Donato to the Krejci-centered line. “I thought they had good chemistry; they were feeding off each other.
“Krejci, obviously, I think him and Jake have had real good chemistry. It’s one consistent, for the most part, that Krech has had, so it was a pretty good line in terms of puck possession, making plays. They can each complement each other. So we’ll see how it goes.”
The Bruins (49-17-11) lead the Tampa Bay Lightning by one point with a game in hand. Boston is 5-0-3 in its last eight games.
Tuukka Rask (10-0-1 in his last 11 starts) stopped 30 of 31 shots.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 4:59 of the first period, but Boston tied it midway through the period and led 2-1 before the first 20 minutes were over.
“Yeah, we’re playing good,” Rask said. “It was a good start. We kept it going, it looked like guys were making plays and playing with confidence, it’s fun to watch, like people say.”
Boston’s road trip continues Tuesday with a showdown against the Lightning and concludes Thursday when they visit the Panthers.
The news wasn’t all good for the Bruins. Center Riley Nash left after getting hit in the head with a shot in the second period and defenseman Brandon Carlo left in the third period with an undisclosed injury.
“Didn’t look good when you go off on a stretcher, obviously,” Cassidy said of Carlo. “So we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one. Same with Nash. I know he was getting stitches in his ear … Not what you want right now, but we’ll see how they are.”
The Flyers (39-25-14) have injury issues of their own as they chase the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins for second place in the Metropolitan Division while comfortably in wild-card position.
Goaltender Michal Neuvirth — just back after missing 18 games with a lower-body injury — left Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche with a lower-body injury. Petr Mrazek, who had been slumping, replaced Neuvirth 8:07 into the second period and made 17 saves.
“Just a gutsy effort,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol NHL.com. “I think we’ve gotten a lot of those efforts throughout the year.
“I thought everybody that was in the lineup just went out and did their part. There was a couple of great performances probably to go with it, but everybody in the lineup for sure did their part.”
With Neuvirth day-to-day, the Flyers recalled Alex Lyon, who will back up Mrazek on Sunday. Goalie Brian Elliott, out since core muscle surgery in February, practiced Saturday and could return before the end of the regular season.
“I’ve never had a surgery before so it’s a new process for me and it’s a tough time of year because there’s a possibility of coming back at the end and you’re shooting for it,” Elliott told the Courier Post.
After Sunday, the Flyers close against the bottom three teams in the division. They travel to Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders before hosting the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers.