Flyers, Bruins begin rematch of epic 2010 battle
Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 3:00 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorBRUINS AT FLYERS
TV: CBC (HD), NBC (HD), RDS (HD)
Boston won three of the four meetings this season, and their only loss came in overtime. Tim Thomas
started all four games, going 3-0-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. The Flyers' only win came Dec. 11, when team captain Mike Richards scored with three seconds left in overtime for a 2-1 win at TD Garden.
The Bruins are coming off the high of their Game 7 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens, while the Flyers are feeling pretty good about themselves after rallying from a 3-2 series deficit to beat the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7.
One of the keys this year could be the health of two players who missed most or all of last year's series with the Flyers -- center David Krejci
and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg
Krejci was knocked out of the series in Game 3 with a broken wrist, while Seidenberg didn't play at all in the postseason after suffering an arm injury late in the regular season.
Seidenberg had 3 points in seven games against the Canadiens in the first round, but plays with Zdeno Chara
on the team's top defense pairing.
"I know (Seidenberg) has played there in Philly and always seems to play well against them," coach Claude Julien said. "And he's had a pretty good start to the playoffs here, so you hope that that continues."
The same can't be said for Krejci, who had just 1 goal against the Canadiens. He'll center the team's top line, flanked by Nathan Horton
and Milan Lucic
"I believe in David Krejci
," Julien said. "I think David Krejci
is going to get better and I think his line's going to be better in this series. Maybe this series here will be better suited for that line as well."
In the first round of the playoffs, the Flyers' job was to beat Buffalo's Ryan Miller, one of the most positionally sound goaltenders in the League and last year's Vezina Trophy winner. In the second round, they'll be facing Thomas, who won the Vezina two years ago and is a front-runner to win it again this year.
"He's a great goaltender and is a little bit unorthodox," Richards said. "It's tough to watch video on him and try to see some of his tendencies, but we're going to do the same thing this series as we did against Ryan Miller last series. We're going to try to get the puck to the net as much as possible and try to get tips and deflections. We're going to shoot to score, because at any point he can come flying across.
"Until that puck crosses the line, Tim is going to battle."
One of the weapons in the Flyers' arsenal for getting Thomas off his game could be forward Daniel Carcillo, who had a number of net-front battles with Miller and likely will try to do the same thing against Thomas.
"It seems like when he gets into the game more, he plays even better, so there's a fine line you have to walk," Carcillo said. "I'll go to the net hard, be around the net and stop right in his face any time I can. And I'll be there for rebounds and the hard goals. That's what I do."
In his first Stanley Cup Playoff series, Horton had 3 goals for the Bruins. Two of them came in overtime, including the series-clincher in Game 7. … Flyers center Danny Briere
's 6 goals in the first round tied him for the League lead.
The only significant injury-related absence for the Bruins is center Marc Savard
, who hasn't played since late January due to a concussion. … Flyers forwards Jeff Carter (lower body) and Andreas Nodl
(upper body) are day to day.
Of the 40 players who dressed for Game 7 of their historic series last year, only 23 still are with their respective teams.
Both teams plan on using last year's epic series as a touchstone for moving forward this year.
GM Peter Chiarelli said he and his players are looking forward to another shot at Philadelphia.
"Claude (Julien), I think he mentioned it to them at one point prior to the game, that here's a chance, one chance to redeem yourselves," Chiarelli said. "There's an interesting note, I believe in Game 7 of last year, there were nine players in that game that are on our team now, our roster now. So there's been over half the team that's turned over. But definitely the core players also lived through that, so you'd have to ask them. It's been a consistent theme this year. It's fitting that we're playing them."
However, Philadelphia also sees playing Boston working to their advantage.
"We might be in their heads as well," Briere said. "We have that confidence that no matter what happens, we seem to play well. There's one thing that I found playing against the Bruins -- it always seems to bring out the best of this team. The rivalry, how physical they are -- they are not a team that you can take a period off (against) because they will make you pay. They are a team that forces you to always be on your toes."