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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 8:59 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Ed Snider pays a visit to Flyers practice facility

The Flyers received a little surprise on Sunday morning when chairman Ed Snider strolled into the locker room of the Flyers practice facility to shake hands and offer some luck.

It certainly wasn't the first time Snider made his presence felt, but it was a nice surprise for the players to see him on an off-day at the team's training facility. When Snider walked into the room, the first player he approached was goalie Brian Boucher.
Ed Snider Philadelphia Flyers chairman

"He cares for sure," Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. "He's always around, and always after games he comes into the room and shakes guys' hands. He is always happy. I think he believes in us for sure."

The Flyers' regulars didn't skate on Sunday and, instead, spent the day watching film of their Game 1 debacle against the Boston Bruins. They're hoping to even up the best-of-7 series on Monday at Wells Fargo Center, 7:30 p.m. ET.

"It's pretty cool (to see Snider)," Danny Briere said. "That's why he is considered one of the best owners in any team sport. He is very passionate. He loves his team, loves his players. It's pretty cool to see him."

Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 5:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 2:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 1:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Seidenberg looks forward to playoff match with Philly

Bruins coach Claude Julien is certainly glad he'll have a healthy Andrew Ference and Dennis Seidenberg along the blueline against the Flyers this time around.

During last year's seven-game series loss to Philadelphia, Ference played hurt after missing 17 of the last 21 regular-season games due to a groin/hernia injury and finished a minus-5 with 4 penalty minutes against the Flyers. Seidenberg didn't play at all after suffering a lacerated tendon in his left forearm late in the season.

Julien knows the importance of having fresh, capable defensemen on the ice against the physical Flyers. That said, the Flyers are also a better defensive team following the off-season acquisitions of Andrej Meszaros and Sean O'Donnell.

"They're two experienced guys that you get into your lineup and that's certainly going to help," Julien said of Ference and Seidenberg. "I know Seids (Seidenberg) has played there in Philly and always seems to play well against them."

Ference had 2 assists and was a plus-3 in the deciding game against Montreal and had a goal and 3 assists in the last four games of the series. Seidenberg, drafted in the sixth round (172nd overall) by the Flyers in 2001, will be meeting his former employer for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's definitely different playing here again, especially for a playoff game, and just it's something special for me," Seidenberg said."It's going to be exciting and I'm really looking forward to it."

"He's had a pretty good start to the playoffs, so you hope that continues," Julien said. "But we're going in there this time probably with a healthier squad so we hope that's going to help our hockey club. But I think last year is last year and this year is this year. As you mentioned, a lot of people are going to want to bring up the past and if anything, it's like Montreal. All the stats are probably against us with the odds and how the Bruins had fared against them in the past and down 2-0.

"It's always a new situation, a new opportunity, and that's how we're looking at it," Julien added. "Just a new opportunity for us to get past these guys and hopefully win this series."

Seidenberg has 2 goals and 9 points in 26 career playoff games and Ference has 4 goals and 26 points in 81 contests.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 12:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Bruins need to resolve power-play woes

In addition to answering questions about last year's seven-game meltdown to the Flyers, the Boston Bruins are also getting an earful regarding their powerless power-play.
The club is confident they'll straighten things out beginning with Game 1 against Philadelphia in Saturday's Eastern Conference Semifinals here at Wells Fargo Center (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS). The matchup marks the sixth series between the teams with the Flyers holding a 3-2 lead after rallying for a seven-game series triumph last spring.
Boston set an NHL record for futility with the man advantage during their seven-game victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the conference quarterfinal round when they went 0-for-21 -- becoming the only NHL team to win a seven-game playoff series without scoring a power-play goal.
Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 11:28 AM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 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 "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 Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Friday, 04.29.2011 / 9:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Flyers aware of Horton heroics

It's a pretty good bet that at least one of the games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals pitting the Flyers and Bruins goes to overtime. After all, two of the seven games in last year's epic showdown needed an extra period.

This season, Nathan Horton has been an overtime gem for the Bruins. The 6-foot-2, 229-pound wing connected for the double-overtime winner in Game 5 against the Montreal Canadiens and the OT clincher in the decisive Game 7.

Needless to say, the Flyers are well aware of Horton's heroic efforts.
Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins celebrates scoring the over time game winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens

"He is a natural goal scorer," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "When you have that, it's always a threat when he's on the ice. He is a good forward with a great shot. I can remember in juniors (when Horton played with the Oshawa Generals), he always had that knack to be around the net and find those quiet holes. He has a good shot to go with that."

Horton was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers that sent he and Gregory Campbell to Boston in exchange for Dennis Wideman and draft picks during the offseason. In addition to Horton's major contributions with the top line, Campbell has been a steady center on Boston's fourth line all season.

"He scored a couple of big goals for them," Pronger said of Horton. "Obviously the two overtime winners and he's a guy that gets to the net. He has a great shot and you got to take away his time and space and kind of be strong on the puck."

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