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Kimmo Timonen broke a third-period tie with 9:32 left, then added a short-handed empty-netter to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night in a preview of the Winter Classic.
Brian Boucher stopped 26 shots for the Flyers, who had lost 10 of 12 and entered the night tied for the second-fewest points in the NHL.
Vladimir Sobotka scored for Boston, and also had a first-period goal negated by an early whistle. Tim Thomas, making just his fifth start in a month because of an undisclosed injury, made 35 saves for the Bruins.
The longtime rivals are scheduled to meet again on New Year's Day at Fenway Park in the third annual Winter Classic outdoor game. Some of the players visited the ballpark on Sunday and got in the mood: When they took the ice at the TD Garden for the pregame skate Monday, both teams wore ski caps.
Boston had a chance to tie it when Scott Hartnell hit Mark Recchi in the face with his stick and gave Boston, which had pulled the goalie, a two-man advantage. But Timonen found the empty net from behind the faceoff circle in his own zone, clinching the victory.
Timonen, who also assisted on James van Riemsdyk's goal, had just two points in the previous eight games, a pair of assists against the Islanders last Tuesday.
Monday's game was hardly the classic the NHL is hoping for in its marquee regular-season game - at least for the first two periods, when Sobotka's stuff shot about 2:30 into the game was the best scoring chance. The referee immediately waved it off, ruling he had blown the whistle before the puck crossed the line.
It remained scoreless until Sobotka deflected Shawn Thornton's centering pass into the net with 1:28 left in the second. James van Riemsdyk tied it for the Flyers on an odd-angle deflection with 2:48 gone in the third.
Timonen made it 2-1 with a shot from the blue line that was deflected on its way to the net, sailing over Thomas' right shoulder as he held out his glove, never moving, to the left.
This program aired on December 15, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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