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Boston Bruins continue pursuit of ‘perfection’ against Philadelphia Flyers

NHL games today
Mar 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand (63) skates after the puck during the third period against the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After choosing to break up perfection on Saturday, Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy had to be pleased with the results later that night.

The perfection in question is the Bruins’ so-called Perfection Line — the club’s top trio of forwards consisting of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

At the afternoon’s end of their match against Pittsburgh, the Bruins liked what they saw on the scoreboard — a 7-5 win over the Penguins — and will look to keep that momentum at home Monday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.

Cassidy moved the sharp-shooting Pastrnak down to the second line with center David Krejci, and Pastrnak responded with two goals and an assist.

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Meanwhile on the top line, Marchand’s empty-net marker with 61 seconds left gave him a hat trick and a four-point outing.

With Boston having scored just 12 goals in its previous five games, Krejci said his side could use an offensive outburst.

“It always nice to have a game like this,” said Krejci, who netted a goal and dished out his 500th career assist. “We changed up the lines a bit, and it paid off. I always like playing with Pasta — he’s a gifted player.

“It seems like he’s always in the right spots in the offensive zone, and he makes things happen. It’s fun to play with a guy like that.”

Boston’s five goals in the second were the second-most by a club this season. The New York Rangers scored seven goals in the second against the Flyers last month.

On the Boston injury front, defenseman Brandon Carlo is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. The setback doesn’t help a defensive unit that allowed five goals to the Penguins, who have been playing their best hockey of the season.

“We got the win — obviously gave up five goals,” Cassidy said. “But I wouldn’t put it all on the D. (Pittsburgh) made some plays.”

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Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux did his part to get the Flyers going Saturday night in New York against the Islanders, but goalie Ilya Sorokin stopped all four shots in the shootout — including Giroux’s effort — to earn a 3-2 win for the home side.

Giroux netted a pair of goals in a span of 3:54 in the third period to force overtime. The center has 10 goals in his last 17 games after potting just one in the first 17.

“It’s disappointing not to get that second point,” said Giroux. “In the shootout, anything can happen. We need those extra points. But in saying that, I think our game today was our best in (a) while. We need to build on this.”

Philadelphia has struggled lately, winning just twice in its last eight matches (2-4-2) and slots fifth in the East Division — four points behind the Bruins for the final playoff spot.

Making his first start since March 25, Carter Hart returned in goal for the Flyers to stop 22 shots but allowed Mathew Barzal’s game-winning shootout tally.

“He did what we expect a goaltender to do — give your team a chance — and he did that,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said.

The Bruins have won all five games this season against the Flyers, who earned a point in two of the contests with a loss in overtime and the shootout.

–Field Level Media