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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 8:39 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

First period: Flyers 2, Bruins 2

That was a first period that had a little bit of everything.

First, the pre-game rendition of "God Bless America" by Kate Smith and Lauren Hart was something that had to be witnessed; words just won't do it justice.

The Flyers kept the fans rolling, getting the game's first goal just 29 seconds in. Nikolay Zherdev chipped the puck past a Boston player at the Philadelphia blue line to Claude Giroux to start a 2-on-1 break with James van Riemsdyk. Giroux centered a pass under Bruins center Patrice Bergeron to van Riemsdyk, who tipped it under Bruins goalie Tim Thomas for his sixth of the postseason.

Van Riemsdyk made it 2-0 with his League-leading seventh of the postseason. With the Bruins' Gregory Campbell off for holding, Kimmo Timonen fired a shot from the middle of the blue line that Thomas stopped, but couldn't control the rebound. Danny Briere had a few whacks at it, but the puck rolled to van Riemsdyk, who scored at 9:31.

It's the fifth straight game van Riemsdyk has a goal, and ties him with Briere for the League lead. 

The Bruins tied the game with a pair of goals in a 1:25 span.

Chris Kelly got the Bruins on the board with his fourth of the playoffs. Rich Peverley curled around the top of the Philadelphia zone and dropped a pass for Tomas Kaberle. Brian Boucher stopped Kaberle's shot, and Michael Ryder's attempt on the rebound from the crease, but Kelly crashed in to bang in the rebound at 12:50.

Moments later, Brad Marchand made great plays at both ends and was rewarded with the game-tying goal. First, he stepped in front of a Flyers player in front of the Boston net to break up a scoring chance. As the play went up the ice, Marchand followed and was in the perfect spot, above the right circle, to take a Patrice Bergeron shot and fire a shot that beat Boucher past his glove at 14:15 to tie the game.

Boucher kept the score tied with a save on a Daniel Paille breakaway attempt with three minutes left in the period.

The second period is about to start, so we'll be back with more in a bit.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 6:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Flyers ready for Chapter 2

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette says to him, every playoff series is a book. And after Saturday's 7-3 loss in Game 1, he's more than ready to turn the page.

"You look at a series as a book, and that was Chapter 1," the coach said two hours before Game 2. "Here's Chapter 2 tonight. We're excited to get going and try and write a different ending to a chapter."

Whether this chapter includes defenseman Chris Pronger, however, remains to be seen. Pronger didn't play the final five minutes of Game 1, but did practice with the team on Sunday. He was not on the ice during Monday's morning skate, and Monday afternoon TSN's highly respected Bob McKenzie tweeted that he was hearing Pronger would not be available for Game 2.

The Flyers refused to comment on anything regarding Pronger, referring to this morning's injury update, which listed Pronger as "OK."

Regardless of whether the big blueliner plays or not, Laviolette said his team needs to be better in all areas of its game to avoid heading to Boston down 0-2 in the series.

"It's really hard to get an assessment on Game 1," said Laviolette. "We watched it and it was worse than in real life. I don't think we played like that at all in the Buffalo series, even in the losses we had. I don't know how good they were or how bad we were. It's hard to get the right mix. The second part of it, we can be a lot better at what we do. We played some pretty good hockey this year. It didn't translate in Game 1 for us, in any aspect of our game."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Is Pronger healthy?

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger had a major hand in the Flyers turning around their first-round series against the Buffalo Sabres. He hadn't played in seven weeks when he entered the lineup in Game 6, and just by playing less than five minutes, and all on the power play, he sparked the Flyers.

So it's notable that he didn't play a single shift in the final five minutes of the game.

He played 19:45, the most he's played in the three games since returning from the broken right hand that had sidelined him since March 8. He had two shots, blocked four shots and was a minus-3 on a night where the Flyers' defensive play as a whole was lacking.

Losing Pronger again, though, would be a major blow to the team.

Coach Peter Laviolette, when asked after the game if Pronger was healthy, only responded, "Yes."

Pronger did not speak to the media following the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Somewhat-special teams

The Boston Bruins made history by becoming the first team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series without scoring a power-play goal when they went 0-for-21 in seven games in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens. They extended that line of futility to 0-for-26 with their 0-for-5 performance in Game 1 against the Flyers. They generated just four shots on their five opportunities.

"Our power plays aren't very good, I guess, but I think today there was some really good movement on our PP," said David Krejci. "We had some good chances, we just have to stay positive, take the positive things from this game today, and if we're going to play this way on the power play, it is just a matter of time and the first one is going to go in."

While their power play was ineffective, the Bruins' penalty killing was excellent. They killed off four of the Flyers' five chances, with their only slip-up coming in the third period, seconds after they killed off a 56-second two-man advantage for Philadelphia.

Their best man-down play came on two straight kills midway through the second period, with the Bruins clinging to a 3-1 lead. Back-to-back penalties on Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk gave the Flyers four minutes of power-play time in a 4:39 span.

The Bruins killed those penalties off, and 49 seconds later Krejci scored to make it 4-1.

"They did a great job tonight," Julien said of his penalty killers. "We had a lot of penalties to kill and our guys did a pretty good job. It's unfortunate they got that one goal (but) they did a great job. At that time of the game it's so important to kill those, you don't want to let them back into it. Had they scored it might have been a different game in the third period."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 5:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Second period: Bruins 5, Flyers 2

The Philadelphia goalie carousel appears to be spinning again. Brian Boucher was chased after allowing Boston's fifth goal, replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky. It's Bobrovsky's first appearance since Game 2 of the first round against Buffalo.

Boucher's rebound control was not good, which led to a couple goals. Early in the second he kicked Patrice Bergeron's shot back into the slot, where Mark Recchi scored just 2:34 in.

After Krejci tipped Adam McQuaid's shot past Boucher, another big rebound this time allowed Bard Marchand to score to make it 5-1 and end Boucher's night.

James van Riemsdyk scored 16 seconds after Bobrovsky came into the game, and they nearly got another one when Kris Versteeg took the puck from Krejci deep in the Boston end. He dragged the puck around Tim Thomas and was looking at an empty net when Krejci knocked Versteeg off the puck.

We've got 20 minutes left here in Philadelphia.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

First Period: Bruins 2, Flyers 1

That was a fun, physical first period that had a little bit of everything.

David Krejci gave the Bruins an early lead, making a nice play to intercept a Nathan Horton shot (replay showed it never got to Brian Boucher), stepping away from the Flyers' Matt Carle and sliding it under Boucher just 1:52 into the game.

Midway through, Danny Briere made a similar play, stopping a Braydon Coburn shot just before it could get to Tim Thomas, pulling it away from the Boston goalie and then sliding it under him at 11:02. The teams were skating 4-on-4, and Ville Leino did a great job controlling the puck in the Bruins' end to set up the goal.

Then, with 35.7 seconds left, Horton banged in the rebound of Krejci shot from in front. He didn't get much on it, but it appeared to roll up Boucher's arm and over the top of his glove.

The Bruins had more shots, 12-8, but went 0-for-1 on the only power play of the period. They're still looking for their first extra-man goal of the postseason after going 0-for-21 against the Canadiens in the first round.

And in what should be a fun stat to watch this series, the Flyers out-hit the Bruins 14-9 in the first.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 2:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Haven't I seen you before?

When Bruins forward Brad Marchand looks across the ice at Flyers forward Claude Giroux, it won't be their first matchup. The two went head-to-head for three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League when Giroux was with Gatineau and Marchand played with Moncton, Val d'Or and Halifax. The two also won gold medals together with Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championship.

"I think with (Giroux), he's such a good player, so offensive," Marchand said prior to Game 1. "He brings a lot of different attributes, plays on their PK, power play, 5-on-5 -- he's great. … The biggest thing for us is we have to be physical against him, can't give him time and space. He'll make a lot of great plays if we give him that time and space."

Besides seeing a lot of Marchand, Giroux also can expect to hear a lot of him, too. Marchand has developed a reputation for being a yapper on the ice. It's part of his role, which is agitating the opposition and prodding them into taking bad penalties.

"I think it's just going to be a timing factor," said Marchand. "They have a lot of guys over there who play the same kind of role. You want to try to use that to your advantage and try to get them off their game, but they're pretty good at it, too. If you let them get the better of you … you don't want to be the one taking penalties. I think we're going to see more of it as the series goes on just because it's going to be an emotional series."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 11:28 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Let's get physical

The rivalry between the Bruins and Flyers historically has been nasty and physical, with big hits going both ways. The first fight in a Winter Classic came when the Flyers' Daniel Carcillo and the Bruins' Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves at the 2010 game.

"This is probably going to be a physical series," said coach Peter Laviolette. "They are a hitting team. We can play that game as well."

To that end, the Flyers could dress one of two physical players to fill out their fourth line for Game 1 Saturday -- veteran Jody Shelley or rookie Zac Rinaldo.

The 35-year-old Shelley hasn't played since suffering a broken orbital bone during a March 21. GM Paul Holmgren has said Shelley is healthy and cleared to play, but Laviolette has yet to use him.

Shelley is wearing a visor to protect his face, and told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday that he will be "ready to do what I have to do pretty soon."

In 10 NHL seasons, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Shelley has played 596 games and is eighth among active players with 1,474 penalty minutes. He's skated in just seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"(Shelley) is just a big, physical guy," linemate Blair Betts told CSNPhilly.com. "I think that's it. I think maybe there's an intimidation factor with him in the lineup. I think he's underrated as a player. He's great on the forecheck, he uses his body well and his size to protect the puck and create room for the rest of us, and that's what expect out of him."

Rinaldo, who spent the regular season with the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League, made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 5 of the first round, playing three shifts totaling 1:56, but he had three hits. However, his ice time was more the result of the score, as the Flyers fell behind 3-0 in the first period.

"We fell behind early in that game and the game plan kind of went out the window," said Laviolette. "We had to get our guys that score goals out there as much as we could.  I thought he was good.  He had a couple good shifts. He only had a minute and 20 or a minute and 30 in ice time, but he had three hits -- three hard hits."

Rinaldo was second on the AHL with 331 penalty minutes, and had more suspensions (four) than goals (three). However, the 5-11, 169-pounder believes those numbers don't properly describe what kind of player he wants to be.

"I'm misunderstood, for sure," he told the (Camden) Courier-Post. "I hit and I hit hard, and some guys don't like it. When they don't like it, they want to come after me and fight and I don't back down. I don't go looking for the fights, but since I hit so hard and hit so big, guys want to fight me and that's what racks up the penalties."

Which one plays? True to form, Laviolette wasn't saying. Shelley and Rinaldo split time on the fourth line with Betts and Darroll Powe in practice, so there was no clue there. And with Saturday's 3 p.m. ET start (NBC, CBC, RDS), there was no pre-game skate to evaluate.

There were reports that Rinaldo's equipment was shipped from the Flyers' practice site in Voorhees, N.J. to the Wells Fargo Center, and since he only has one set, that could be the cue that he's playing. But the morning of Game 5, Ben Holmstrom skated with the fourth line during practice, only to see Rinaldo play, so everything's up for debate until game time.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 04.29.2011 / 11:26 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

No job concerns for Chiarelli

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has done well in his five seasons, making the playoffs four times but never advancing past the second round. There also was last season's historic seven-game loss to the Flyers, and a nail-biting seven-game first-round series against the Canadiens.

Coach Claude Julien also has done well in his four seasons, guiding the team to the playoffs each season, and finished atop the Eastern Conference in 2008-09. However, the Bruins had lost two straight Game 7s going into Wednesday's game against the Canadiens.

There were many in the media who believed that if the Bruins had lost Game 7, either Julien, Chiarelli or both could have lost their jobs.

Chiarelli said he heard and saw all the reports, but none of it fazed him.

"I'm certainly supportive of Claude. I think he's a terrific coach," said Chiarelli. "I read everything and what everyone says, or I try to, just to keep abreast of things. And that's what I see, so I mean, I'm comfortable where I am. We want to win, we went out and got pieces to win, and I will try and do things to continue to win. So whatever, wherever the chips fall, they fall. But it hasn't really dawned on me. I read it, but you just get used to reading that stuff."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 4:33 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Bruins' power outage

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli met the media Thursday and talked about a number of topics. You can listen to the press conference here, or you can read this little bit about the Bruins' roster makeover since last year's series with the Flyers ended here.

One of the topics that came up was the Bruins' power play, which was perfect in the first round against the Canadiens -- 21 chances, 21 missed opportunities.

The Bruins were the first team in NHL history to win a playoff series without scoring a power-play goal.

The only surprise to Chiarelli was that it took 13 questions into Thursday's press conference before anyone brought up the power play.

"Trust me, this is a topic that we have addressed all year, every day," said Chiarelli. "I see a group of guys that … beaten down is the wrong word. We've been on them so much to succeed and have different looks. And you reach a point where you are diminishing returns as far as trying to make changes, so it's been a frustrating exercise."

The acquisition of Tomas Kaberle at the trade deadline was supposed to fix any deficiencies in the Bruins' extra-man attack, which finished 20th in the League at 16.2 percent. However, the Bruins now are 7-for-87 (8.0 percent) in 31 regular-season and playoff games with Kaberle, compared to 36-for-199 (18.1 percent) without him.

However, Chiarelli wasn't ready to pin the blame on the defenseman.

"I know Tomas has been under some heat, too, and it's not his fault," said Chiarelli. "He's in the mix with everybody and we're trying to figure it out. Part of it I think is nerves. Part of it is maybe, this is an extension of nerves -- they are squeezing their sticks too much. It's not fluid and these players have, if you go player to player, they have some fluidity to their game as far as making plays. So we have to figure it out. It's going to be an important component again in this next series."

Chiarelli said one reason for the power play's lack of success has been the absence of Marc Savard, whose season ended Jan. 22 due to a concussion.

"That's a huge point," said Chiarelli. "He's got the eyes and the sense. And you're right, he makes those plays. He's, and I'm not saying that the guys who filled his spot aren't worthy of that, but that's Savvy's bread and butter. So definitely we miss him."

Whatever the problem, Chiarelli said finding the power for their power play is at the top of the organizational to-do list.

"It’s frustrating for me to watch," he said. "I know these guys want to succeed at it, I know the coaching staff, that's been at the top of their list. … And we’re going to figure it out."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery