BRUINS (4-4-0) at FLYERS (3-2-1)
Season series -- This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. They split four games in 2008-09, with each winning once in the other's home arena. Two of the games were one-goal affairs, including a Flyers 4-3 overtime win in Boston in February.
Big story -- How will the Bruins handle their second game in as many nights with their laundry list of injuries? How will the Flyers look playing just their second game since Oct. 11?
Bruins -- Last season's Eastern Conference leaders are languishing through a tough start. Defense, the team's calling card, has been spotty. Goaltender Tim Thomas is allowing more than a goal per game more than he did last season. As a team, they're allowing 3.29 goals per game, up from the League-best 2.32 they allowed last season.
Flyers -- Coach John Stevens has used the team's down time -- the Flyers have played once in the last 11 days -- to reconfigure his top line. Arron Asham, a healthy scratch for the first three games, will play on the right side with center Mike Richards and left wing Simon Gagne. The hope is Asham can clear space for Gagne, who has yet to score a goal this season.
Who's hot -- Patrice Bergeron scored for the second time in three games for the Bruins. Teammate Michael Ryder has points in three of his last four games. Flyers captain Mike Richards has points in five of six games this season, and his 4 power-play goals lead the League.
Stat pack -- Chris Pronger is used to playing lots of minutes, but even Stevens thinks his workhorse defenseman is playing too much. Pronger leads the League with an average of 28:13 per game, including back-to-back 30-minute games. Stevens said he needs to get more minutes for his third defense pair of Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and Danny Syvret. Tollefsen is playing an average of 6:47 per game, while Syvret is seeing just 8:44 per game.
"We have to do a better job of getting some significant minutes to that pair of Syvret and Tollefsen and get them involved throughout the weekend," said Stevens.
Puck drop -- With Savard and Lucic to miss significant time, combined with the preseason trade of Phil Kessel, the Bruins will be playing without all three members of their best line last season. However, don't expect the Bruins to expect any less of their team.
"Claude (Julien, coach) and I talked a little bit last night about (this being) a rallying point for the team," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. "We have lost Lucic and now Savard and there will be opportunities for players to play in more important positions and important roles. We've had these types of injuries before and we have responded, so we would expect our team to respond."
-- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com
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