Flyers completely give away a game to Bruins with penalty-ridden collapse


The Flyers suffered a catastrophic, self-inflicted collapse on Wednesday night. What was building up to be a win the Flyers could write home about unfolded into an ugly, 4-3 overtime loss to the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center on national television.

Alain Vigneault's club was burned by itself in blowing a 3-1 third-period lead. The Flyers gave up three power play goals in relinquishing the lead that they had impressively secured not long before completely coughing it up.

David Pastrnak went off for a hat trick. Two of his goals forced overtime, where Patrice Bergeron won it for Boston only 31 seconds into the bonus session.

In brutal fashion, the Flyers (7-2-2) had their four-game winning streak snapped. They are 0-1-2 against Boston through three matchups.

The Bruins (7-1-2) are cooking, having earned at least a point in their last seven games (6-0-1), a stretch that started with a pair of wins over the Flyers at TD Garden.

• It doesn't really matter if there were missed whistles earlier in the game or if the penalties were ticky-tacky late.

The Flyers can't lose the game that way. If they just play smart, sound hockey, they win the game. One penalty would be understandable, but to commit three in the final eight minutes simply can't happen. The last thing you want to do is help Pastrnak and company. They did big time.

The Flyers have had a nightmarish experience trying to close out the Bruins. They very well could have two wins over Boston. The only good thing is that because of this unusual season they have five more chances to show if they can compete with the Bruins when it matters most: closing time.

• The Flyers couldn't have asked for a better start to the game's all-important third period.

Then they unraveled.

To start the frame, they killed off 25 seconds of a Boston power play and then quickly jumped on the Bruins at even strength. Off a nice pass from Travis Sanheim, who had two assists, Jakub Voracek gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead only 1:03 into the final frame.

Fewer than eight minutes later, Joel Farabee sent a missile past Tuukka Rask to balloon the Flyers' advantage to two.

At that point, the Flyers sure looked confident and on their way to a fifth straight win.

• Vigneault had to be upset with how the Flyers let Pastrnak carve them up 12 seconds into the game.

If only he knew the ending would be worse.

Pastrnak is not a guy the coaching staff needs to highlight in the pre-scout — everyone knows to be aware of him and crowd him. Starting the game with their fourth line, the Flyers allowed Pastrnak to take the puck half the length of the ice right to Carter Hart's doorstep and score. Pastrnak beat Shayne Gostisbehere and then the Flyers watched him the rest of the way.

The 24-year-old Pastrnak is a world-class player who has already scored 30 or more goals four times in his career. He made a nasty move to beat Gostisbehere, but the overall sequence should not happen right off the bat. 

The play woke up the Flyers a bit as they gathered themselves and kept the deficit at 1-0 going into first intermission.

"They came out and scored on their first shift and you never want that to happen," Kevin Hayes, who scored the Flyers' 1-1 equalizer, said at second intermission on the radio broadcast. "But I thought we handled it pretty well. I mean, they kind of handed it to us in the first five, six minutes, but we got back to the basics."

• After his unraveling in Boston, flashbacks became reality for Hart in the third period as the Bruins bit him again.

Boston has put up nine third-period goals on the 22-year-old in three games. Hart was not to blame here as the Flyers made the game nearly impossible to close out. You can't put that Boston power play on the ice three times in the final eight minutes of the game. The Flyers did and it cost them dearly.

Hart had no chance on the second goal as the Bruins broke down the Flyers just seconds into the power play, resulting in Pastrnak's second goal of the night. A Hayes hooking penalty with 2:01 left gave Boston another power play and it pounced on the juicy opportunity to tie the game. Pastrnak completed his hat trick with 15 seconds left in regulation, stunningly forcing overtime.

And the Flyers didn't even give themselves a chance in overtime as Scott Laughton committed an interference penalty with eight seconds remaining in the third period. Boston opened OT on the man advantage, with all the momentum and quickly ended the game.

Suffice it to say one point is nothing to take solace in after a meltdown like that.

The Flyers held Pastrnak to one goal in four games last season, including the round-robin contest, but he was all over them in his first meeting with the Flyers this season.

Rask made 22 saves for the win.

• Claude Giroux played in his 900th career game.

Since 2009-10, the year of the Flyers' Stanley Cup Final run, Giroux has missed only 10 games, playing in 856 of a possible 866 games. Only three NHL players have played in more games over that span: Keith Yandle, Patrick Marleau and Blake Wheeler.

• Samuel Morin, who saw one game with the Flyers at his left wing new position, was loaned to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Wednesday afternoon. The Phantoms play a preseason game Thursday before opening their 38-game regular season on Saturday.

The move made easy sense as the 6-foot-6 Morin needs as many game-action reps as possible in his transition from defenseman to forward. He wasn't going to get many with the Flyers.

• The Flyers debuted their Reverse Retro jerseys. They'll look pretty slick on the ice in the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe game later this month.

• The Flyers-Bruins eight-game regular-season series will meet the halfway point when the two clubs play again Friday at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Some early character-testing time for the Flyers.

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