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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 Friday, 04.29.2011 / 7:46 AM

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

DOOP-ing it out at Wells Fargo Center

In case you missed it, the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans are singing a new tune within the Wells Fargo Center these days.

Thing is, to those Major League soccer fans throughout the city, the song is an all-too familiar chant each time the Philadelphia Union pops home a goal at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Now, the Flyers have added the DOOP song to their menu of musical overtures each time they light the lamp at Wells Fargo Center.

And, yes, it's become a hit.

Basically, all it consists of is: "DOOP DOOP DOOP da da DOOP DOOP DOOP da DOOP DOOP DOOP da da DOOP DOOP DOOP."

Not of lot of words, just one syllable throughout the entire chorus. But the switch has received positive feedback for the Flyers.

Flyers forward Danny Briere gave it his thumbs up -- and that's a good thing since Briere leads the Flyers with 6 playoff goals this spring.

"I thought it was great, and it really fired up the crowd in the last game," Briere said. "We played it a few times and the guys liked it. All I asked (Flyers president) Mr. (Peter) Luukko was that it had been four years since I came over to Philly and we had played the same song after a goal. There had to be something else out there to get the crowd fired up … a few guys noticed it and so far it's been very positive."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 9:07 PM

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

Challenging Chara

Before dealing with the unorthodox but extremely effective Tim Thomas in goal for the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers know 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara will be waiting.

It's a challenge in itself for those quick and aggressive Flyers' forwards. In his team's seven-game series triumph over the Montreal Canadiens, Chara notched just one assist, but he also delivered 19 hits and blocked eight shots.

"He is six feet and nine inches and is extremely strong," Flyers captain Mike Richards said. "He makes it tough to go around the corners and has a big shot. He has a great hockey sense and makes it tough to play against him. He finishes his checks and plays strong."

And in order to have success, Richards admits "we're going to have to lay the puck in behind him and make him
move a little bit, make his life back there a little difficult."

Danny Briere, who was tied for the League-lead in goals (6) through one round of the playoffs, admits the Flyers must force the big Bruin to skate and chase in his own end.

"It was kind of the same way with (Tyler) Myers with Buffalo," Briere said. "You have to find ways to make him work. It's not going to be easy and we know that. I have had the chance to face (Chara) a few times in the playoffs. He's going to make it tough on us, but we are not going to back down. That's the only way to approach it, and you have to be willing to compete against him."

Briere feels forcing Chara to move as often as possible might be the secret to generating chances when he's on the ice -- which is quite often as he's averaged a League-leading 28:48 of ice time in these playoffs.

"You have to go around him and make him work," Briere said. "When you're as big as him, it uses a lot of energy to try to chase you. I guess that's the idea with a guy like Chara."

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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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Posted On Thursday, 04.28.2011 / 3:32 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

EA SPORTS predicts second round full of upsets

With four Game 7s in a 30-hour span, the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs went out with a bang, and given the win-or-go-home nature of each of those games, the chances that postseason brackets in office pools across North America would stay intact were tenuous at best. Having an opening round record of 7 correct picks would be pretty impressive. Even getting just 5 series right, as the writer of this very story did, isn't terrible.

Of course, going 8-for-8 isn't bad either.

The wizards at EA SPORTS did just that with their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, which accurately tabbed such upsets as Tampa Bay's win over Pittsburgh and Nashville's first-ever postseason series victory. Rather than walk off into the sunset, however, EA SPORTS is back at it for round two of the postseason, and this time those predictions are a little gutsier than usual.

Taking three of four lower seeds to advance to the 2011 conference finals would make another perfect projection a pretty remarkable example of clairvoyance, but that's just what EA SPORTS is banking on, as its latest round of predictions has Vancouver as the lone higher seed advancing. For the Canucks to do so after a draining seven-game win over Chicago could be difficult, but EA SPORTS' simulations expect it -- and in just five games. If all goes according to plan, the Canucks will be facing Detroit, which is predicted to topple San Jose in overtime in a decisive seventh game.

In the East, Tampa Bay is picked to complete what would be the upset of the playoffs thus far, as EA SPORTS has the Bolts eliminating the No. 1-seeded Capitals in seven games, while the Bruins get a measure of revenge for last year's historic ouster at the hands of the Flyers with a six-game win over Philadelphia.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL, when fans can make predictions for the postseason's opening round. Start dates for subsequent rounds will be announced at the conclusion of each series.

EA SPORTS NHL 11 Round Two Predictions: Conference Semifinals

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver vs. Nashville (5)
 
Game 1: Nashville 3 @ Vancouver 1

Game 2: Nashville 2 @ Vancouver 5

Game 3: Vancouver 2 @ Nashville 1

Game 4: Vancouver 4 @ Nashville 2

Game 5: Nashville 0 @ Vancouver 2

Vancouver wins series 4-1

 
(2) San Jose vs. Detroit (3)

Game 1: Detroit 3 @ San Jose 2

Game 2: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 4

Game 3: San Jose 3 @ Detroit 4

Game 4: San Jose 5 @ Detroit 4 [OT]

Game 5: Detroit 2 @ San Jose 3

Game 6: San Jose 2 @ Detroit 5

Game 7: Detroit 4 @ San Jose 3 [OT]

Detroit wins series 4-3

 

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington vs. Tampa Bay (5)

Game 1: Tampa Bay 1 @ Washington 3

Game 2: Tampa Bay 4 @ Washington 6

Game 3: Washington 3 @ Tampa Bay 4

Game 4: Washington 2 @ Tampa Bay 3 [OT]

Game 5: Tampa Bay 2 @ Washington 5

Game 6: Washington 0 @ Tampa Bay 2

Game 7: Tampa Bay 3 @ Washington 1

Tampa Bay wins series 4-3


(2) Philadelphia vs. Boston (3)


Game 1: Boston 4 @ Philadelphia 2

Game 2: Boston 2 @ Philadelphia 3

Game 3: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 2[OT]

Game 4: Philadelphia 1 @ Boston 4

Game 5: Boston 1 @ Philadelphia 4

Game 6: Philadelphia 2 @ Boston 3

Boston wins series 4-2

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic