NHL: Sturm's OT goal gives Bruins 2-1 win at Fenway
AP Sports Writer
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins made the Winter Classic live up to its hype with a thrilling comeback at Fenway Park, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Marco Sturm's overtime goal.
Mark Recchi, a former Flyer, tied the game with 2:18 left in the third period Friday, ending goalie Michael Leighton's shutout streak of more than 150 minutes. Then Sturm connected 1:57 into overtime on a pass from Patrice Bergeron.
Teammates poured off the bench and gold-and-black clad Bruins fans roared with excitement. The Flyers waited patiently on the ice to shake hands with the team that had just captured the game in the waning moments.
Until the rally, the only goal was Danny Syvret's first of his NHL career, at 4:42 of the second period.
A sellout crowd of 38,112 watched in near-ideal conditions in the league's third annual New Year's Day game. Skies were overcast and the game-time temperature was 40 degrees, the highest of any of the three Winter Classics. Snow and rain forecast earlier in the week never fell.
The NHL's New Year's Day showpiece was previously played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Bills' home, and Wrigley Field, baseball's second oldest stadium and home of the Chicago Cubs.
Fenway is the oldest, opening in 1912 for the Red Sox. Football, basketball, boxing and soccer also have been played there. On Friday, it was hockey.
The rink ran from the left field to right field foul lines, primarily across the infield, with the center dot at second base. The ice seemed to hold up well except for an area in the faceoff circle — just about the spot from which Derek Morris connected with Recchi — to the left of the net in short left field. It was smoothed out at the end of the first period and early in the second.
For all but the last three minutes, Leighton was unbeatable. He had been claimed on waivers from Carolina on Dec. 15 and won every game in the Flyers' five-game winning streak that ended Friday. His shutout streak reached 154 minutes, 7 seconds before Recchi, stationed just in front of him, tipped in Morris' shot from the right circle on a power play for his eighth goal of the season.
The Bruins won for the fifth time in six games after Bergeron kept the puck from Mike Richards, who slipped along the left boards. Bergeron then passed to Sturm just in front of Leighton, and the Bruin scored his team-leading 14th goal.
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas made a mistake that might have ruined his day. Syvret scored from the left point just as Thomas cross-checked Scott Hartnell to the ice from behind. Seconds earlier, Hartnell had brushed against Thomas, knocking him off his skates.
But in the end, Thomas got the win and a berth on the U.S. Olympic team, announced just after the game.