Some losses are easier to accept than others.
Wednesday’s was one of them.
Basically, the Flyers lost because opposing goalie Tim Thomas resembled the player who won the Vezina Trophy a couple of years ago.
The Flyers created numerous scoring chances, but they learned why Thomas leads the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage.
Thomas made 41 saves as the Bruins defeated the Flyers, 3-0, at the Wells Fargo Center.
For Boston, the win didn’t exactly erase the memory of its collapse in last season’s playoffs _ the Flyers overcame a 3-0 series deficit _ but it was an important victory for a team that has been struggling lately.
Speaking of struggling….
The Flyers have lost three straight and are 2 for their last 38 ion the power play.
Thomas highlighted the win by stopping Scott Hartnell on a second-period penalty shot _ he waited too long before going on his backhand _ and turning aside Danny Briere from point-blank range. He also made ridiculously good saves on Claude Giroux and Andreas Nodl, among others.
With his fifth shutout this season, Thomas lowered his GAA to 1.46 and raised his save percentage to .955.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette juggled his lines in the final period, attempting to get the offense untracked.
No matter. Thomas had all the answers.
A year ago, Thomas battled injuries and lost his starting job to rookie sensation Tuukka Rask, who played the entire playoff series against the Flyers.
Thomas, 36, has regained his status as the Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender. Fact is, he’s been the best in the NHL. He is 9-0 on the road _ the NHL’s best road start since Chicago’s Glenn Hall won his first nine in 1965-66.
Flyers rookie Sergei Bobrovsky played well in the defeat _ one of the goals was an empty-netter in the waning minutes _ but he has just one win in his last five games. In two of those games, the Flyers were blanked. Oddly, they had 41 shots in each of those shutout defeats, losing to Boston’s Thomas and to Montreal’s Carey Price.
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In the Eastern Conference, the Flyers are now four points behind Washington, which strengthened itself on Tuesday by acquiring stay-at-home defenseman Scott Hannan.
The Flyers and surging Penguins each have 34 points, tops in the Atlantic Division. The Pens are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games.
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The Flyers are the sixth highest-valued NHL team, according to Forbes magazine.
The magazine said the franchise is worth $301 million.
The top five: Toronto ($505 million), a perennial second-tier team, the New York Rangers ($461 million), Montreal ($408 million), Detroit ($315 million) and Boston ($302 million).
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