BOSTON - Playing hard for three periods has not been a Flyers trademark during this sad-sack season.

Last night was an exception.

They put a solid 60-minute effort together, got a late goal from defenseman Kimmo Timonen, and rallied past the Boston Bruins, 3-1, before a sellout crowd at TD Banknorth Garden.

It marked just the fifth time all season that the Flyers had overcome a deficit to win.

Timonen scored on a point drive - his first goal in 28 games - that appeared to deflect off the stick of Boston's Blake Wheeler with 9 minutes, 32 seconds left, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving the Flyers just their second win in nine games.

The Flyers rebounded from Saturday's 4-1 loss in New Jersey They outshot the Bruins, 38-27. Boston had been 8-1-2 in its previous 11 games.

"We're better than we've been playing," Timonen said. "The way we played in New Jersey, that's not us. We were embarrassed. We were horrible. They were way better than we were, and that can't happen."

The veteran defenseman, despite playing with a broken toe, had his first two-goal game - one an empty netter with 40 seconds left - since he was with Nashville in 2007.

"You could feel it in the warm-up and in the locker room before the game that everybody was ready to go," he said. "We are desperate. That's the way we have to play every game."

Trailing, 1-0, the Flyers got third-period goals from James van Riemsdyk - who snapped a 12-game goalless streak - and Timonen to take a 2-1 lead.

"We needed a win, and our guys came out and played a heck of a third period," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It was gut-check time."

"They were more hungry than us," Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara said.

With 40 seconds left and the Flyers shorthanded, Timonen scored on the length-of-the-ice shot into an open net. Timonen had the 13th three-point game and sixth two-goal performance of his career.

The Flyers are 2-4 under Laviolette.

"It's one of those wins you maybe put a mark on it and build on it," said Laviolette, whose team was aided by forward Jon Kalinski's best effort of the season. "But it's one win, and we're going into play a pretty good team" in Pittsburgh tonight.

Because of a first-period injury to Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, the Flyers played most of the game with five defensemen. Tollefsen will miss three to four weeks with a knee sprain, and Danny Syvret will be recalled from the AHL's Phantoms, general manager Paul Holmgren said,

Boston's defense was also shorthanded because of an injury to Dennis Wideman.

The Flyers' power play continued to struggle, going 0 for 3 in the first period, including a five-on-three advantage that lasted 1:12. During the two-man advantage, Tim Thomas was forced to make just one save as the Bruins blocked three shots.

Still, it was an effective first period for the Flyers, who outshot the hosts, 14-7.

In an effort to jump-start an offense that had produced just six goals in its last seven losses, Laviolette moved Jeff Carter, a center, to right wing on a line with center Mike Richards and left winger Dan Carcillo. The line combined for 11 shots, and Carcillo contributed eight hits.

Boston took a 1-0 lead when Vladimir Sobotka redirected Shawn Thornton's right-circle shot past Brian Boucher (26 saves) with 1:28 left in the second period.

Van Riemsdyk took a corner pass from Arron Asham and tapped a shot past Thomas to tie the score at 1-1 with 17:12 to play in the third.

"I try not to worry too much about personal statistics. I was just concerned about the slump we were in," van Riemsdyk said of ending his skid. "It feels good to get this one. It took all 20 guys out there to really pull our weight."

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.