Playoff Preview: Flyers-Bruins
|@ Philadelphia||Saturday||April 30th||3pm|
|@ Philadelphia||Monday||May 2nd||7:30pm|
|@ Boston||Wednesday||May 4th||7pm|
|@ Boston||Friday||May 6th||8pm|
|@ Philadelphia||Sunday||May 8th||3pm||**|
|@ Boston||Tuesday||May 10th||TBD||**|
|@ Philadelphia||Thursday||May 12th||TBD||**|
** If Necessary
Philadelphia 47-23-12 106 points / Atlantic Division Champions / Beat Buffalo 4-3
Boston 46-25-11 103 points / Northeast Division Champions / Beat Montreal 4-3
Here we go again.
We all know the story.
Last year the Flyers fell behind 3-0 in the same Eastern Conference Semi-Final only to tie the series at 3. Game seven saw the Bruins jump out to a 3-0 lead only to have the Flyers roar back and win the game in Boston.
I really believe that will have about five minutes of impact on this series and that's about it. Yes, great for the fans, meaningless for the teams. Of the 40 players who dressed for game seven last season, only 23 are still around.
This is a different team then the Boston team the Flyers played last season and it starts in goal. Tim Thomas is back between the pipes and last year's playoff goalie Tuukka Rask is an understudy. And at age 37, Thomas is playing some very good hockey.
35 wins during the regular season with a goals against of two per game and a save percentage of .938 with nine shutouts. In the post season that goals against has gone up to 2.25 but he was brilliant giving up just one goal on 44 shots in game three against Montreal, a game they needed already trailing 2-0 in the series.
Chris Kelly leads the Bruins with three goals in the post-season. He was an Ottawa Senator a year ago. Nathan Horton is new to the series. He had 26 regular season goals. Brad Marchand had 21 goals in his first full season in Boston. Rich Peverley was obtained from the Thrashers to add some depth. And yes, former Flyer Mark Recchi is still around along with Patrice Bergeron and the giant Zdeno Chara. Those are the players. But hockey isn't always who's on the ice. It's what they do or don't do while there on it.
The one thing that Boston did not do against Montreal was score on the power-play. 0-21. First team to win a seven game series without scoring a power play goal. The Flyer's had five against Buffalo. Boston also gave up a shorthanded goal in the Montreal series. The Flyers did not. The Flyers took more penalty minutes per game in the opening round, but you don't want to play with fire here. They did give up seven power-play goals in the series to Buffalo.
For the Bruins to win? Throw anything and everything at whatever Flyer goaltender is between the pipes. I can't remember a series where I saw so many bad goals given up then I did in the Sabres series. Let go of last year's game seven. It only makes you grab the stick a little tighter and think instead of just playing.
For the Flyers to win? Keep hacking away in front of goaltender Thomas as soon as the puck goes in on net. He does not give in easy and makes you work to push the puck over the goal line. Fore-check and keep up the puck pursuit like they did in game seven against Buffalo and this could be a short series.
Jeff's Prediction: Someday we'll figure out how this team always fights back from behind. Until then, who cares. Flyers in seven.