Boston Bruins\' Daniel Paille (20) scores past Philadelphia Flyers\' Ilya Bryzgalov (30), of Russia, in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
PHILADELPHIA - The Bruins got started right away with a goal in the first minute and cruised to an easy win after burying the Flyers with a flurry of early goals.
Goalie Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots while Benoit Pouliot, Daniel Paille, Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic scored in the first period to help Boston beat Philadelphia 6-0 Saturday, snapping the Flyers' seven-game winning streak.
"We were obviously ready for this game and it showed—start to finish, Boston coach Claude Julien said. "This was probably just a tough night on their part. We got the early goal and it just seemed to snowball from there and eventually it becomes frustration. We know how good they are. We played well, and they had a tough night."
The Bruins, who have won four straight to tie Philadelphia atop the NHL's Eastern Conference with 43 points apiece. Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin added late goals to finish the scoring for Boston, which now leads the NHL with 21 victories.
The Bruins' first two goals came so quickly, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called timeout after Paille's goal 2:50 into the game. That came on the heels of Pouliot's, which was 27 seconds after the opening faceoff.
"There were things that happened in the first eight minutes (of the game) that suggested that we were off," Laviolette said. "We weren't as sharp as we had been, whether it was line changes or coverage, assignments, whether it might be against a team that was here waiting, eyeballing us. They were sharper in those areas. It was a tough day for us, not typical of the way we were playing or executing."
Whatever benefits the timeout had, they were short-lived. Chara blasted a shot through Ilya Bryzgalov's legs about five minutes later, on a power play set up when Philadelphia was called for too many men on the ice.
As if that weren't enough, Lucic scored on a two-man advantage with 2:50 left in the period.
With 48.7 seconds left in the first period, things got tense when Flyers' rookie Sean Couturier was hit behind his left ear off a shot by teammate Kimmo Timonen. After being down for several minutes, Couturier needed help to leave the ice and did not return to the game due to a head injury. The Flyers have already lost veteran defenceman Chris Pronger for the season with a concussion and star winger Claude Giroux is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Couturier was taken to University of Pennsylvania Hospital for observations and will not travel with the Flyers during their trip to Colorado.
"We still don't know," Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren said. "Fortunately, it hit him in the helmet. But we thought it was best to send him to the hospital and get him checked. The little testing they do, he did really well . whatever they do. I think that's more checking for any damage to his skull and taking a look to see if there's any internal damage."
When Horton tipped home another rebound 7:06 into the second period, Laviolette yanked Bryzgalov in favour of Sergei Bobrovsky. Bryzgalov had surrendered five goals on 20 shots. In building a 5-0 lead, the Bruins were 3-for-5 on the power play.
"We had a well-rounded game today and we started well, which put the momentum back in our favour," Thomas said. "We were up 4-0 and I knew the game was in our hands. How the rest of the game would go, if got over confident or lazy and let them back in the game, that's something we talked about a little bit in between periods. Our goal was not to get lazy. We were happy to take that early lead. We didn't plan it, but the important thing is how we reacted to it. We kept playing hard."
NOTES: The loss was the Flyers' most lopsided shutout loss at home since a 6-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 28, 2006 and worst loss since 7-0 defeat at the New York Rangers on March 6, 2011. ... It was the first time the Flyers were shut out at home this season. Philadelphia won't return home again until Jan. 3, when they play the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park in the Winter Classic. ... Boston evened the season series with Philadelphia at 1-1 after the Bruins lost their opener 2-1 to the Flyers. ... During Boston's current 8-2 run, the Bruins have outscored their opponents 37-16, including three shutouts.