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Bruins vs. Flyers blog
Take a further look in the Bruins-Flyers second-round playoff series with NHL.com's blog.

Is the West the best?
05.14.2010 / 3:42 PM ET

Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked at his press conference if the Stanley Cup Playoff series outcomes indicate the Eastern Conference, where the sixth and seventh seeds will battle tonight to determine who will host the eighth seed in the conference final, has more parity than the Western Conference, where the top two seeds are playing in the conference final.

"It’s been a pretty strange situation in our conference," Julien said. "You see the (top) teams get bumped out, some of them in the first round, some in the second round, so that just goes to show you, again, we keep using the word parity (but) you never know. I think what's going on right now, I guess in our conference this year, which was the case a few years back in the other conferences, is that the teams that are left right now really battled hard to get into the playoffs. Somehow, and as I mentioned, our team, you get into the playoffs, you're actually building some momentum getting into the playoffs and I think the three teams that are left had built momentum going in just like the Edmonton Oilers (in 2006), just creeping into the playoffs, and because they had to battle to get in, they build momentum going in and that sometimes is a good thing. So that to me is what you're seeing right now with the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds that are still alive right now."

-- John McGourty

Possible line changes for Bruins
05.14.2010 / 3:39 PM ET

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien shuffled his lines at Thursday's practice in an effort to get more scoring for Game 7 Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins were shut out for 134:11.5, between Game 4 and Game 6, until Milan Lucic scored with a minute remaining in Wednesday's 2-1 loss in Game 6.

Julien also scrambled the second and third defense pairings.

Here are the lines the Bruins had in practice Thursday. Remember, they didn't skate Friday morning:

Blake Wheeler-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic-Marc Savard-Miroslav Satan
Daniel Paille/Brad Marchand-Vladimir Sobotka-Michael Ryder
Steve Begin-Trent Whitfield-Shawn Thornton

These were the defensive pairings Thursday:

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Mark Stuart-Dennis Wideman
Matt Hunwick-Andrew Ference

Boychuk and Wideman are right-hand shots. Ference and Hunwick are both left-hand shots.

-- John McGourty

Pressure? This is fun
05.14.2010 / 1:30 PM ET

Music ranged from Lady Gaga to Journey in the Philadelphia Flyers' dressing room this morning. Nobody seems ready to go home for the summer.

Sure, there's pressure on this team to make history and win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three. But the Flyers are doing a heck of a job of not feeling it.

"You have to embrace it … this is fun," forward Danny Briere said. "You've got to get up for it and be excited for it. Nobody knows what's going to happen tonight, but the one thing I know is I just want to leave it all out on the ice."

The Flyers did that in Games 4, 5 and 6, which is exactly why there will be a decisive game here at TD Garden tonight. If Philadelphia finds a way again, it will be the first team since the New York Islanders in 1975 to win a series after losing the first three games.

"It's an exciting time," captain Mike Richards said. "Hopefully we play well."

For what it's worth, the road team is 3-0 in Game 7s this postseason. Detroit crushed the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Round 1, while the Montreal Canadiens upset both the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Habs will play the winner of tonight's game on Sunday, which will take place in either Boston or Philadelphia.

"You go on the road and you try to keep your game simple," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "You just play as hard as you can and get off to a good start. You're seeing the road teams get off to a good start and get an early lead. It kind of sets that home team back on their heels a little bit. It's up to us tonight to do that and get into the rhythm of our game."

Other notes from this morning:

-- The Bruins did not skate. Claude Julien was the only member of the organization to address reporters.

"We didn't get in (from Philadelphia) until about 1:30 (on Thursday morning)," Julien responded when asked why his team didn't skate. "We practiced yesterday. We did all of the stuff we need to do to prepare for tonight, so we're giving our guys an opportunity to rest and to come ready to play tonight. It's as simple as that."

Several Flyers did skate and approached today as they would any other. Pronger was asked if he was surprised that the Bruins stayed away from the rink this morning.

"I guess that's a luxury you have when you're at home … you can stay home," Pronger said. "I think we've kind of gotten into our own rhythm of how we do things -- come to the rink, get prepared, make your sticks -- do all the things that you've done in games past and make sure you're focused and prepared. I guess we'll find out tonight which way works best."

-- Flyers winger Simon Gagne appeared to be walking gingerly this morning, but he said it's no reason to be alarmed. The offensively-gifted Gagne will be in the lineup tonight.

"I've played through pain all the playoffs," said Gagne, who was struck on the foot by a Brian Rolston slap shot in Game 4 of the opening round. "I'm not the only one. It's part of it. The longer we're going to go in the playoffs, the better I'm going to feel."

-- Brian Compton

Bruins' Thornton lauds Flyers captain

05.12.2010 / 3:19 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton certainly knows the importance of hard work this time in the season.

When asked for his thoughts on Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards, who leads his team with 14 points (4 goals), Thornton gave a thumbs up.

"He plays hard," Thornton said. "He's their captain. I like the way he plays. He plays with a bit of an edge. You can see that the team kind of follows his lead. He's done a good job this series. The hit on (David) Krejci (in Game 3) was clean. He plays with an edge. He plays hard. He's a pain in the (expletive) to play against.

"For the most part, those are the type of guys you hate playing against, and you'd love to have on your team."

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins lines for Game 6
05.12.2010 / 2:02 p.m. ET


Although the Bruins didn't practice with their full lines on Tuesday or Wednesday, it is expected they will go with these lines and pairings in Game 6 tonight at the Wachovia Center:

Forwards

Dan Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic-Marc Savard-Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler-Vladimir Sobotka-Michael Ryder
Steve Begin-Trent Whitfield-Shawn Thorton

Defense

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick-Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart-Andrew Ference

Goalie

Tuukka Rask

-- John McGourty

Pronger has goalie carousel covered

05.12.2010 / 1:07 p.m. ET

It might have taken him a while to figure it out, but Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger believes he has solved the goalie carousel in Philadelphia. In the process of offering his explanation, he also provided a good laugh.

"Well, I've never seen this type of situation where you have a starter and have another starter, then another," Pronger told the media Wednesday morning. "Then you go back to the other starter and go back to your third guy, who's now the second guy, who became your first guy, who was your cousins' brothers' sisters', friend."

Like we said, "Prongs" has finally figured it out!

All kidding aside, though, the veteran blue liner was again asked if he's been impressed with Philadelphia's resolve this postseason.

"It hasn't been an easy season by any stretch with all that has transpired with the ups and downs and things we've had to face with injuries and such," Pronger said. "But we certainly found a way to find wins, find ways to make up for key injuries and guys have stepped in and played very well. From the start of the year with our goaltending situation, with one guy going down, the next guy going in, the next guy going down and on and on. It was a bit of a carousel but, through all that, we learned an awful lot about ourselves and what it was going to take to be successful."

--Mike G. Morreale

Maple's Leafs Stewart recalls 1942 comeback
05.12.2010 / 8:55 a.m. ET

The Philadelphia Flyers are trying to become only the third team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders have accomplished that feat.
 
If you had to pick one person who mostly closely identifies with the Toronto Maple Leafs in their long history, it would be former owner Conn Smythe. His favorite and the second-most important Maple Leaf was Hap Day, the captain (1927-37) who led the team to the 1932 Stanley Cup and then coached them to five Stanley Cups, including three-straight from 1947-49, in 10 years from 1940-50.

Day's first Maple Leafs team, 1940-41, lost a seven-game semifinal to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The next year, Day coached the Maple Leafs to the greatest comeback in North American sports history. After losing the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final to Detroit, Day benched scoring star Gordie Drillon and replaced him with third-liner Don Metz, who had four goals and three assists, including a Game 5 hat trick and the Game 6-winning goal, as Toronto won the next four games and the Stanley Cup.

"We lost the first three games and Hap told us that everyone would get a chance to play in Game 4 and those that perform will be the ones getting ice time," right winger Gaye Stewart told NHL.com. "Throughout his career, he was superb at having the right people on the ice at the right time."

Stewart said that he and his teammates were highly motivated in their historic comeback.

"Toronto was the center of the hockey universe, just as today," Stewart said. "Well, Montreal too, but that was more for the French. You busted your backside to stay with the Maple Leafs. I was a kid in high school for most of that season and only turned pro in March. I played with the Hershey Bears until they were eliminated from the AHL playoffs in the finals. I was brought up to Toronto and joined the team during the series with Detroit, a series that has never been duplicated in any sport's final series. There's been a couple of teams do it in earlier rounds, but never the final.

"Hap Day was a workmanlike coach who didn't leave much to chance," Stewart said. "If we dropped two in a row, we could count on being worked pretty hard in the next couple of practices. I thought he treated everybody very well."

-- John McGourty

Julien Q&A
05.11.2010 / 3:30 p.m. ET

Here's what Bruins coach Claude Julien had to say to the media on Tuesday, following the previous night's 4-0 loss against the Flyers.

Q: How would you describe your club's energy last night?

Julien: Not very good. I think we talked about that last night. We didn't have the jump and we weren't a very good team last night. There were times that if you take a lot of penalties, used a lot of the same players (on the penalty kill), it takes away their energy as well. Sometimes, that's a lot of your key players. We have to be smarter and more disciplined and find the energy that we've had until then.

Q: Can your team turn it around in 48 hours?

Julien: Why not? It's one of those situations where I think you've seen a lot of teams lose a game and come back the next night, or a couple of nights later, and they're a better team. Why shouldn't we be one of those.

Q: Shots from the defense have been a big part of the offense all season. Are they doing anything to neutralize that?

Julien: We have to make better decisions on how we move the puck. Those points are open at times. We have to make sure we make better decisions. When it's time to move it there, move it there, and when it's time to take it to the net, take it to the net. A lot of it is of our own doing.

Q: When you don't have that, how much does it hurt the offense?

Julien: It's been an issue for us this year, when we talk about the offense, we said we needed the D to be part of that offense and help it out. We activated our D and encouraged them to go up the ice a lot more. The same thing can be said now: How important are they? They are as important now as they were when we talked about it this year. Like a lot of teams, we talk about four-man attacks now, instead of three-man attacks. We're part of that group that believes in that. Your D has to be part of the offense, part of a five-man crew. They have to participate, not just defensively, but offensively as well.

Q: Do the defensemen need to be moving with the puck after they get a pass back to the point because the Flyers are doing a good job of blocking their shooting lanes?

Julien: It depends on the situation. If the lane is there, you've got to shoot it right away. If it's there, take it, because it will close up pretty quick. If it's not there, you either move the puck or you move with it. This is where decisions have to be made here. When they do get the puck, they have to look at the situation and read off it. This is not something you can teach, it's hockey sense.

Q: Does anything change for you guys now that Michael Leighton is in the Flyers' net?

Julien: They've got a pretty good goaltender although he hasn't played in a while. He was still a good goaltender for them. I would say, if anything, we need to get more shots on net. We've talked about it the whole series, the more you get and the more traffic you get in front of the net, the more chances you get, regardless of who is in (net). That's one of the things we have to do better next game.

-- John McGourty

Carcillo in lineup; not on top line
05.10.2010 / 7:53 p.m. ET

As expected, Philadelphia Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo was in the lineup Monday night for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Carcillo, who missed practice on Sunday with an ailing right knee, skated Monday morning and had no major setbacks. He declared himself a game-time decision and told the media that he would ultimately decide on whether or not he'd be in the lineup.

He did not start on the top line, however. Instead, coach Peter Laviolette opened with captain Mike Richards centering for Simon Gagne and Andreas Nodl. "Car Bomb" was working a line with center Blair Betts and Darroll Powe. In the opening period, Carcillo logged 2:42 of ice time on four shifts, and had no shots.

--Mike G. Morreale

Laviolette, Julien and Bruins' honor Orr
05.10.2010 / 5:47 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien and Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette were asked during the Monday press conferences to talk about their memories of Bobby Orr. Laviolette grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts and was a Bruins fan but was too young to remember Orr as a player.

"I don’t. That was a long time ago," Laviolette said. "I was just a kid and I don’t have a very good memory, but certainly growing up in Boston as a kid I was a Bruins fan, watching the games with my dad and getting the opportunities to come in to some games.

"Not knowing where your life will take you later on, getting to meet Bobby Orr and I see him down in Florida sometimes. Outside of the locker room, you get to talk to him, he is just a terrific, classy guy. It was one of those moments in time that is frozen forever and should be. Great statue."

Both Julien and Laviolette were defenseman, a position radically changed by Orr.

"He’s been my idol. I think it’s, when I was growing up, it was Bobby Orr, and I couldn’t play like him, trust me, but I still liked him and you know, I think he’s been an idol for a lot of people," Julien said. "Not only that, but he’s -– when you get the chance to meet him and spend some time with him -- he’s such a great gentleman and fun to be around, so to me, to see that happen today, is great and here’s a guy who’s an icon. He’s been a hero to so many people and you can never get tired of watching that winning goal, with him flying up in the air."

Following their optional morning skate at TD Garden on Monday, a few of today's Bruins were asked for their memories of Orr.

"He's pretty much ... the Bruins," Boston center Patrice Bergeron said. "As soon as I came here, I had a chance to meet him. I didn't get a chance to see him play, but he's such a legend, a gentleman as well. It's well deserved and I think it's going to mean a lot for the Boston Bruins and their fans."

Boston defenseman Dennis Wideman had a chance to meet Orr at a recent golf outing.

"The thing that impresses me most is what kind of guy he is; I was initimidated when I met him but he's so out-going and talkative and just a really good guy," Wideman said. "He was leading us around the golf course but couldn't play.

"I think him and Paul Coffey really changed the way with how you look at defensemen and offensive-defensemen. There's a time when probably all those guys would have been forwards, but he was the best at what the offensive-defensemen were trying to do. There's never going to be a guy as good and as dominant as he was."

-- John McGourty and Mike G. Morreale

Flyers' Carcillo takes optional skate
05.10.2010 / 12:28 p.m. ET

Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo skated at the team's optional practice Monday morning and looked pretty good. He declared himself a game-time decision, but by all indications, he'll be in the lineup tonight for Game 5 with the Flyers' season on the line.

Carcillo, who was limited in Game 4 to just 7:46 of ice time on 11 shifts after colliding with Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara following the Bruins' first-period goal at the 15:37 mark, did his normal drills while doing some stretching.

"I feel good," Carcillo said after practice. "It'll be a game-time decision. I've had two days off so I feel OK, so we'll see come game time. Being able to skate today and we'll see how it reacts in warm-ups."

Carcillo, who will skate on a line with center Mike Richards and Simon Gagne if he plays, said he would play a major role in whether or not he could give it a go Monday. His possible replacement in the lineup, Jon Kalinski, also skated. The practice was an optional, so several players took the morning off, including Gagne, in preparation for Game 5 at TD Garden at 7 p.m. ET.

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins hope to advance on special day

05.10.2010 / 10:25 a.m. ET

Hockey fans across the globe will always remember Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr flying through the air, arms raised, after having put the finishing touches on the club's fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history on May 10, 1970.

Orr's goal, 40 seconds into overtime on Hall of Fame goaltender Glenn Hall, capped a 4-3 victory and 4-0 series triumph over the St. Louis Blues. The image of Orr parallel to the ice, arms raised in celebration, is probably the most recognizable hockey picture of all time.

Hours before the Bruins play host to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 at TD Garden, Boston will pay tribute to "The Goal" that clinched the Bruins first Stanley Cup championship that occurred 40 years ago with a bronze statue depicting the famous scene right outside TD Garden.

The larger than life statue, which weighs more than 800 pounds, will permanently be installed in front of TD Garden. The Bruins play host to the Flyers with a chance to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1992 when the puck drops for Game 5 at 7 p.m. Boston holds a 3-1 series lead.

"It's the one goal in Boston history that will stand out forever, that's for sure," current Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "I want to see that statue and maybe get a picture with it."

The statue presentation will take place at 1 p.m. (ET) on the West Walkway outside of the TD Garden facing Causeway Street. Present for the unveiling will be Orr, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, coach of the '70 Bruins team and the current senior advisor to the owner and alternate governor Harry Sinden, Boston mayor Thomas Menino, TD Garden President John Wentzell, the sculptor of the statue Harry Weber and Orr's teammates John Bucyk and Derek Sanderson. Sanderson assisted on Orr's game-winner in overtime.

The creation and installation of the statue is being funded entirely by the Boston Bruins and the TD Garden as a gift to the City of Boston and the fans of the Boston Bruins.

--Mike G. Morreale

A dramatic return
05.08.2010 / 2:40 p.m. ET

First it was Marc Savard in Game 1 and now Simon Gagne in Game 4.

What if hockey players didn't play in pain?

It's quite a sight to witness athletes willing themselves to succeed and that's precisely what Gagne did on Friday to extend this Eastern Conference Semifinal Round series at least one more game. Head coach Peter Laviolette said his team needed to "get into the series" on Friday morning before even thinking about winning the series -- well, they did.

On Gagne's only shift of the OT, he deposited his first of these playoffs off the fourth assist of the night by defenseman Matt Carle.

Here are a few stories to keep you occupied over the weekend while we anxiously await puck drop for Game 5 on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

Flyers 5, Bruins 4 (Game Summary)
Gagne makes it happen
Carle comes through
Boucher atones for Game 1 OT setback
Bruins' Stuart disappointed by mistakes
Tuukka knows nothing will come easy
Gonna Fly Now!

Here were the first three questions asked to Gagne in the Flyers' locker room after the game:

Q: Story book night for you Simon?

“Yeah it’s a good ending. I can not ask for more to be able to come back early a little bit in the series. To be able to score that big goal, its fun to score goals but when you get those in overtime it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s good to be able to win this game and having two days off and heading to Boston.”

Q: How glad are you that you came back tonight?

“You know, the way I felt yesterday, I felt pretty good. I didn’t want to say I was going to play right away yesterday. I was going to see how I feel the next day. I felt pretty good when I came in this morning. This is where we decided to go and play. You know, like I said the other day. Teams play well and every time you could have guys that you missed from the injury it’s always a plus. I just try to go out and do my best, maybe I got lucky on this one but I don’t know. It was good timing.”

Q: What was said in this locker room?

“We were pretty confident its not like we get out played. They got that goal, they got a lucky goal I think tonight too. Those bounces weren’t going their way yet. We just felt that the game was right there for us and I thought we played very well in overtime. If you look at the chances I think the chances were for us and that was huge coming back. Like you said it could be very easy to go down and not go out there and play the same way but we did play well and we did find a way to get that goal.”

--Mike G. Morreale

Confirming Gagne's status one final time
05.07.2010 / 6:55 p.m. ET

Reports have been moving fast and furious throughout the course of the day regarding the availability of Philadelphia Flyers' Simon Gagne, so let's just make it official right now.

The 10-year veteran will be in the lineup.

Gagne skated and looked good during pre-game warm-ups. He did some drills off the wall and worked with Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo.

"He's a great player and obviously he's a guy we'd love to have in there," Flyers forward Darroll Powe said.

Expected lineups...

Flyers lineups:

Gagne-Richards-Carcillo
Hartnell-Briere-Leino
van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Asham
Powe-Betts-Nodl

Pronger-Carle
Timonen-Coburn
Krajicek-Parent


Goalie: Boucher

Boston lineups:

Paille-Bergeron-Recchi
Lucic-Savard-Satan
Begin-Whitfield (1st start of playoffs)-Thornton
Wheeler-Sobotka-Ryder

Chara-Boychuk
Hunwick-Wideman
Ference-Stuart (1st start of the playoffs)


Goalie: Rask

--Mike G. Morreale

So, do the Bruins play a 1-4 defense sometimes?
05.07.2010 / 5:30 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Carle and Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman, at separate times and in separate rooms, had a disagreement about the Bruins' defensive schemes in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Carle was asked about the difficulty of giving the Bruins a lead -- the Flyers have held the lead for only one minute and 39 seconds in this series -- and then trying to score on them, especially when they drop back into a 1-4 defense -- a forechecker and four men back at the blue line -- as they did a couple of times in Game 3 Wednesday.

"They get into that 1-4 when they get a lead and we certainly have had trouble getting leads," Carle said. "They only time we've led is in Game 3 when we got the first goal and they tied it up a couple of minutes later. It wasn't for very long. It seems like we're kind of always playing catchup in these first three games.

"When that happens, they do have a tight defensive game and they don't give us much coming up the ice. They're pretty good about getting pucks deep into our zone and that makes it hard for us to get our transition game going the other way. They're smart with the puck and it's tough to try to come back on them."

"Who fell back into a 1-4?" Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman challenged a reporter. "If we did, it was unintentional. We don't play a 1-4. We might have gotten caught on a change and they turned the puck up quick and it kind of worked out that way but we don't play a 1-4. That's not the way we're trying to play it."

Wideman said he has seen a 1-4 defense in this series, but it was the Flyers.

"They play a 1-3-1 so if you back them up, it's a 1-4," he said.

So, OK Dennis, it's not a 1-4 you're playing but a 1-2-2 with the back forwards closer than usual to the defensemen at your own blue line. Why is it so commom for the opposition to dump-and-chase and not gain control in your zone?

"You try to limit as much speed as you can," Wideman said. "You don't want them flying through the neutral zone and coming at you with a lot of speed. Preferably, you want them to dump.

"With the amount of skill that they have, you don't want them coming at the defense with speed because they can make plays. If they're constantly flying across the blue line, they're going to pick you apart."

--John McGourty  
 
Carle on Boychuk, Pronger and Satan
05.07.2010 / 5:29 p.m. ET

Matt Carle has really bloomed as Chris Pronger's defense partner. Carle, who previously played with the San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning, has never looked more assured and he's playing on the Flyers' top defensive pairing. He was asked if he saw Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk similarly benefiting from playing with Zdeno Chara.

"I can speak from experience that it adds confidence to my game," Carle said. "I'm sure he's not used to playing the minutes that he has been playing. With time, comes that confidence. It's confidence that your teammates have in you and your coach has in you.

"I'm not sure I'm rooting for him right now but I'm certainly happy for a guy who can come into the league and step into that role."

Carle was asked if he viewed Boston's postseason hero, Miroslav Satan, as playing an unconventional forward's role. Satan is not a big, strong guy along the wall and there's often space between him and the man he's covering and he's often the last attacker into the zone. Sometimes, it seems like the opposing team loses sight of him and then there he is, pumping the puck past the goalie.

"He's a quiet guy on the ice and sometimes he flys under the radar," Carle said. "We have to keep an eye on him. He's scored in every game of the series. I'm sure his role will increase now that David Krejci is out. So, he's a guy we have to key on."

Carle was asked, quiet guy under the radar or dangerous snake under a bush.

"There you go," Carle said, nodding in assent.

--John McGourty

Shhhh, don't say that word
05.07.2010 / 5:27 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien and star center Marc Savard recoiled in horror when the word "sweep" was mentioned to them before Game 4 on Friday. It's kind of like how you don't talk to your pitcher about the no-hitter he's throwing.

So, Savard and Julien were asked if there's a taboo, or a jinx, or some other prohibition about saying the word "sweep" when a team is up, 3-0, in a best-of-seven series. It's the word on everybody's mind but nobody's lips.

"That's because it's never easy," Julien said. "You can't talk about that until it happens. We're certainly not talking about that. Until you mentioned it, it's never even entered our minds. For us, the word we use is, "We need to win a hockey game tonight." That's it, that's all. That's all I can tell you about that."

"We don't really think about it that way," Savard said. "We just want to win a hockey game. I'm glad you brought that word up. It's nice of you but, no, we're just trying to go about our business and not think about those things. We just want to get the job done tonight."

--John McGourty

Julien won't reveal lineup changes
05.07.2010 / 2:10 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has to make two lineup changes tonight. Center David Krejci is out for the season after dislocating his wrist Wednesday in Game 4 and defenseman Adam McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury in that game and is definitely out of Game 4.

Defenseman Mark Stuart received medical clearance to return to the lineup after missing 13 games with an infected finger, so he might replace McQuaid. Marc Savard skated Friday morning at Krejci's spot between left wing Milan Lucic and right wing Miroslav Satan.

Center Trent Whitfield skated between left wing Brad Marchand and right wing Steve Begin, while Vladimir Sobotka centered left wing Blake Wheeler and right wing Michael Ryder. Shawn Thornton, normally the right wing on the fourth line centered by Begin, didn't practice, leading to speculation that Whitfield and Marchand might play in Game 4.

Julien gave the media no significant information at his press conference, reserving all decisions until game time. Here's the transcript of his spirited meeting with the media:

Q: Detroit, down 3-0, came out flying last night against San Jose. Did your team need to see that to be reminded what can happen to you tonight?

Julien: I don't think we needed to see that. I think we knew beforehand. We're a smart enough team. We've been through it on the reverse side and got ourselves back into a series. Maybe that experience will help us approach this, on the other side.

Q: What is the biggest threat you guys are facing tonight against this Flyers team?

Julien: They're going to leave everything out there. When you're playing for your life, you bring your best hockey. That's what we have to do as well. We have to bring our best game tonight to be able to match that. We understand that we have to be in control of our emotions. We have to be in control of our play and be able to sustain what they're going to throw at us.

Q: Can you give us an update on Mark Stuart?

Julien: Basically, he's a game-time decision. He's feeling much better. He's been cleared medically to play, if need be. So, now it's one of those decisions that we have to make and a game-time decision will be made on his case.
 
Q: Have you been able to talk to David Krejci?

Julien: Not yet. But he will be joining us here for the game tonight. He's on his way back today from Baltimore where the doctor did the surgery. Hopefully, tonight, we'll be able to give him a nice gift.
 
Q: We didn't see Shawn Thornton at practice. Is Shawn available tonight or if he has an injury, can you tell us what it is?

Julien: He just exercised his option this morning. We'll leave it at that, but there shouldn't be any situation or any questions whether he'll be in tonight. He's fine.

Q: A word on everybody's mind but nobody's lips is "sweep." Is there a taboo, jinx, or other prohibition on using the word "sweep"? Nobody seems to want to answer a question about a sweep.

Julien: That's because it's never easy. You can't talk about that until it happens. We're certainly not talking about that. Until you mentioned it, it's never even entered our minds. For us, the word we use is, "We need to win a hockey game tonight." That's it, that's all. That's all I can tell you about that.

Q: With Savard going into Krejci's spot between Miroslav Satan and Milan Lucic, is that because the best way to keep a skilled guy (Satan) hot is to put him with your best playmaking center? Krejci has a unique style that Satan seemed to feed off. How do you keep that chemistry on that?

Julien: That's a long question. I'm not sure I remember how it started. Anyway, it's just one of those things where we've lost Krejci, so somebody has to go into his spot. Savard is familiar with Lucic. He's still a good playmaker. I thought the Sobotka line was good in the previous series with Wheeler and Ryder. Again, this is the starting lineup and you've seen me in every game -- things have changed and I've moved guys around. That's not to say it's not going to happen again.

Q: Tell us what Trent Whitfield brings to the team?

Julien: Here, again, I think we've got some game-time decisions to make. I'm not saying he's not in. He will probably be in. Those things are going to be sorted out tonight because we do have some issues. Having said that, he's one of those guys who's got experience. He's been around. He brings grit. He can kill penalties. This is kind of what we're looking at right now. I mentioned yesterday, we had five centermen in our lineup Wednesday and when we lost Krejci, that really bailed us out. Center is a pretty unique position to play. To put (Whitfield) in gives us five more centermen. We've got guys who play center who also play the wing, so we can move guys around. Right now, I think there's some versatility. At the same time, we like Marchand and what he brings. We'll make some game-time decisions tonight on who's in and who's out.

Q: Savard played 17 minutes last game. Is he ready to be the horse that you need with Krejci out of the lineup?

Julien: I think so, with three games under his belt. Seventeen minutes is not bad, either. Sometimes people look and see that our guys aren't getting 20 minutes, but if you look at the number of shifts they have, they surpass that of a player with 20 minutes because we're a team that believes in short shifts, more than those minute-plus shifts. At the end of the night, they end up with 17, 18 or 19 minutes, but they're hard-earned ice time. That's the way we approach it.
 
-- John McGourty

Reports confirm Gagne will play in Game 4
05.07.2010 / 1:31 p.m. ET

According to CSNPhilly.com, Philadelphia Flyers left wing Simon Gagne will be in the lineup for Game 4 when the Flyers battle the Boston Bruins on Friday at Wachovia Center.

Gagne did not participate in Friday's optional morning skate but did hint of making his return to the lineup for the first time in five playoff games.

According to CSNPhilly.com, a team source said the decision was made shortly after Friday's optional morning skate. Gagne is expected to play on a line with center Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo.

The other line combinations during Thursday's full team skate were Hartnell-Briere-Leino, van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Asham, Powe-Betts-Nodl. Jared Ross would be the odd-man out if Gagne does return to the lineup.

--Mike G. Morreale

Laviolette: "We need to get into the series!"
05.07.2010 / 1:09 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said before his team even begins thinking about winning four straight, they need to just get back into things with one win.

Back in 2006 when he won a Stanley Cup with Carolina, Laviolette's team dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Montreal Canadiens before storming back to win the next four straight.

"That was 0-2, and we're in an 0-3 hole now," Laviolette reminded the media. "But what it came down to was the fact we needed to get into the series. Right now, we're still not in the series. We have to win one game. A win would be a boost of confidence for our group. History says it's not probable but one win would be a boost in the right direction.

"We think we can win the game (Friday)," he added. "Maybe we can swing the pendulum the other way as far as pressure, but we just have to play well tonight and make sure we get into this series."

Actually Laviolette feels the pressure is now on Boston to seal the deal.

"The pressure kind of shifts to Boston at this point and it's not so much on us," he said. "I would think our guys are going to come out with one heck of an effort (Friday) and we need to win one hockey game, really, to get back into it."

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers' Gagne a game-time decision
05.07.2010 / 11:31 a.m. ET

Despite his absence from Friday's optional morning skate at Wachovia Center, Philadelphia Flyers left wing Simon Gagne, who has missed the last four playoff games with a broken big toe on his right foot, declared himself a game-time decision.

Gagne did practice on Thursday at the team's training facility in Voorhees, N.J. He skated with usual linemates Mike Richards and Dan Carcillo.

The Flyers trail the Boston Bruins, 3-0, in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal round matchup that resumes Friday at 7 p.m.

Gagne spoke to the media following his team's brief practice.

"It's hard to say right now so it's going to be a game-time decision," Gagne said. "I'm going to see how I feel in warm-ups and from there we'll decide. There was no need to go out there (for the morning skate). I'll wait in the warmup and we'll decide from there."

Gagne had an MRI done on his surgically repaired foot following Thursday's practice. The results were promising.

"They looked to see if something moved after practice -- if the bone shifted or moved a little bit but everything looked pretty good," he said. "I felt pretty happy the way the healing process went and it was a good first step to getting closer to the game."

Gagne fractured his toe while blocking a shot in Game 4 of their opening-round series triumph over the New Jersey Devils. He had two screws implanted into this right foot during surgery on April 23.

"I'll talk to the trainer after warmup (Jim McCrossin) and let him know how I feel," Gagne said. "When I talked to the doctor yesterday, he told me what I'd have to look for to be able to play. Like I said, it's going to be getting ready for warm-up and see how I feel and from there we chat with Jimmy afterwards and decide if it's good to go."

The other line combinations during Thursday's full team skate were Hartnell-Briere-Leino, van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Asham, Powe-Betts-Nodl. Jared Ross would be the odd-man out if Gagne does return to the lineup.

A full report regarding Gagne's possible return to the playoffs will be posted on NHL.com soon!

--Mike G. Morreale

Gagne availability for Game 4 coming Friday
05.06.2010 / 4:34 p.m. ET

The Philadelphia Flyers have informed the media that "no medical update on Simon Gagne" would be made Thursday. Gagne saw doctor's Thursday afternoon after skating for the first time with the team since April 22.

It remains to be seen whether or not Gagne will be made available for Game 4. A decision is pending on Friday -- if not after the morning skate than pre-game warmups.

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers remain upbeat, confident
05.06.2010 / 4:00 p.m. ET

In addition to fielding numerous questions about the possible return of Simon Gagne to his lineup, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was also proud of the effort put forth by his club at Thursday's practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J.

Actually, you would never know the team is trailing in their best-of-seven series against the Boston Bruins, 3-0. In case you missed it, here are a few reasons why the Flyers have dug themselves this hole.

"We've talked this morning and I think we're going to play a heck of a game (Friday) night," Laviolette said. "I thought practice was sharp, the guys were into it and we have to win a hockey game and I think that these circumstances can bring out the best in people. They can do that and there are lots of teams who have rallied from 0-2 or 0-3. That's part of the story that you're creating."

Getting another lead at some point and, this time, maintaining that edge for longer than 1:39 would be beneficial.

"Boston is a team that is certainly comfortable winning a 2-1 game and they're not looking for that much more," Laviolette said. "So when you're not looking for goals, you're less likely to be opened up on the defensive side of things. There weren't a lot of odd man rushes and there's always five guys back in front of their goaltender. They're keeping it simple. They have that luxury because even when we came out strong last night, they went up 2-1 within two minutes, so that put us back on the hunt and settled them into their game. They have good structure and are good defensively and it doesn't open up a lot of holes for an offense."

--Mike G. Morreale

Stuart thinks he's ready
05.06.2010 / 3:50 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart broke his finger Jan. 30 when he punched Los Angeles Kings forward Wayne Simmonds in the helmet. He missed six games, then played 17 before an infection forced him out of the lineup for the last 13 games.

Stuart has been skating with the Bruins before and after practices and will be ready to return to the lineup soon, maybe as early as Game 4 Friday against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

The Bruins need a defenseman to replace Adam McQuaid, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 3. Bruins coach Claude Julien said Stuart has not yet received full medical clearance to play, but that might happen Thursday or Friday. He said his coaching staff will consult on whether they all think Stuart is ready to play.

Julien promised that the Bruins won't rush Stuart's return.

Stuart skated at Thursday's optional practice at the Wachovia Center and then spoke to the media.

Q: If the team needs you to play Friday, are you ready? What was the reason for your recent absence?

Stuart:
A lot of stuff got switched around with my medications. I've been skating the last few days, taking the IV out, but I guess a game is a different situation. They'll make that decision for me tomorrow, and we'll see what happens.

Q: Do you feel like you've done enough to get ready to play again?

Stuart: My body feels good. I've been on their schedule. This has been my life for the past month. I feel good about how I've done that. I've put in a good five or six days of skating. We'll see. If I get the chance, I think I'm ready.

Q: Is there any way for you to know that you're game-ready without playing in a game?

Stuart: You can skate as hard as you want out there, but until you get in a game situation ... it's different. It will be nice to get out there, take a few hits and get back into it. You're never fully in game shape until you play in games.

Q: Does winning makes it easier to watch?

Stuart: It's been tough to watch, but the team is winning and playing well, so it makes it a little bit easier. It was harder to watch before when I didn't think I had a shot to come back, but now that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, I have something to work for.

-- John McGourty

Julien discusses injury replacements

05.06.2010 / 3:45 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins center David Krejci dislocated his right wrist, underwent surgery and is lost for the season. Defenseman Adam McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury and will definitely miss Game 4 Friday.

Bruins coach Claude Julien discussed the injuries Thursday:

Q: With Adam McQuaid injured and unable to play in Game 4 Friday, will you try to accelerate Mark Stuart's fitness program to have him ready Friday?

Julien: We're not going to accelerate Stooey (Stuart). If Stooey plays, it's because he's ready. We haven't gotten clearance from the medical staff yet, but he's been cleared to practice and everything else. We haven't gotten (clearance for him to play) today. If we get it tomorrow, then it will be our decision on whether to throw him in there or not.

Q: How has Stuart looked in practice, and who might fill in?

Julien: We have a lot of guys who have been around for a while and I think I'll keep that decision for tomorrow. I still have a whole day to sort things out here. We have a lot of guys capable of jumping in and doing the job here. It's a matter of picking and choosing who we want. Right now, there's a few question marks. We talk about Stuart and the other (defensemen) available, and we need another forward. There will be two additions in our lineup tomorrow.

Q: How did Stuart look to you at practice?

Julien: He's conditioned. He's good enough that we could throw him in there if we needed to. It's a situation where we'll make that decision tomorrow. We have some guys logging a lot of minutes right now that are capable of doing it. It's up to us to determine whether he's ready to handle the minutes that we want to give him.

Q: How will you fill David Krejci's spot in the lineup?

Julien: The one thing we were fortunate is that we have five centermen in our lineup. That's not an easy position to play, and having that, we were able to continue with four up the middle and that paid off yesterday. It was good to have that situation. Whether we decide to put another center in or move a winger in to fill in, that's the thing we have to look at.

-- John McGourty

Gagne coming back?

05.06.2010 / 2:01 p.m. ET

The Flyers could have one of their injured forwards back Friday night when they face the Boston Bruins and playoff elimination in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Thursday at practice, Simon Gagne skated in his regular first-line spot, with center Mike Richards and Daniel Carcillo. Gagne hasn't played since breaking the big toe on right foot blocking a shot in Game 4 of the first round against the New Jersey Devils.

Gagne had two screws implanted surgically to help the healing process, and he was supposed to have an MRI on Friday to check on the healing, but with the team's season on the line, and Gagne feeling good enough to go, it looks like he'll be in the lineup for Game 4.

Check NHL.com in a bit for a full story.

-- Adam Kimelman

Krejci leaves game

05.05.2010 / 7:38 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins forward David Krejci left the first period of Game 3 at the 5:40 mark after colliding with Flyers captain Mike Richards at the Boston blue line.

After taking the brunt of the hit, Krejci dropped to one knee and then skated off on his own power to the players' bench before heading to the locker room. Miroslav Satan would score the go-ahead goal off a breakaway just five seconds after the big hit.

Vlad Sobotka has taken Krejci's spot alongside Milan Lucic and Satan.

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers-Bruins set for Game 3
05.05.2010 / 6:30 p.m. ET

So we're about 30 minutes away from puck drop here at Wachovia Center and Game 3 featuring the Flyers and Bruins.

Flyers fans have been gearing up for the game since 4 o'clock with several tail gates and cookouts in the arena parking lot. The Flyers are also hosting a block party with several events and activities taking place for those arriving early.

Of course, once inside, fans will be anticipating their rendition of Kate Smith and Lauren Hart singing 'God Bless America.' The Flyers won both their home games against the New Jersey Devils and are 81-21-4 when Kate is included in the singing of the song.

"I think looking at the game, you can sit here and said we had a chance to win (Game 2) but that's not good enough," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. "We're not here to keep it close or almost-do something. We're here to win hockey games and (Wednesday) we need to take the initiative and make sure we're getting that winning goal."

The Flyers own a 2-12 series record when trailing by 0-2, their only comebacks coming in the 2000 Eastern Conference Semi's against Pittsburgh and the 1977 Quarterfinals against Toronto in which the Flyers won Games 3 and 4 in overtime and the series, 4-2.

The Bruins have actually gone up 2-0 for the third straight series between these clubs -- a four-game sweep in the '77 semifinal round and a 5-game win in the '78 semi.

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins lines for Game 3
05.05.2010 / 2:45 p.m. ET

The Bruins did not practice with their regular lines Tuesday in Wilmington, Mass., or at WachoviaCenter on Wednesday. Coach Claude Julien liked what he saw in Monday's 3-2 Game 2 victory so expect the lines and defensive pairings to remain the same.

Forwards:

Dan Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miroslav Satan

Marc Savard-Vladimir Sobotka-Michael Ryder

Blake Wheeler-Steve Begin-Shawn Thornton

Defense:

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk

Matt Hunwick-Dennis Wideman

Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalie: Tuukka Rask

-- John McGourty

Rask: Just the facts
05.05.2010 / 2:40 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins rookie goalie Tuukka Rask is having an outstanding playoffs. He's tied for second with six wins, third with a 2.32 goals-against average and fifth with a .922 save percentage.

Rask took over the starting job from 2009 Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas at midseason and led the NHL during the regular season with a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage.

Rask outplayed goalie Ryan Miller, a Vezina Trophy candidate this season, in the six-game series in which the Bruins eliminated the Buffalo Sabres. He has been as unflappable in press conferences as he is on the ice.

Q: Your team has a chance to take a 3-0 lead in this series tonight. How important is it to do that?

Rask: We know there's a chance of that and we're not going to take anything for granted. We're just going to go out there and play as hard as we can.

Q: In Boston, your coach was able to make the last change and get the matchups he wanted. How is that going to affect your team tonight?

Rask: (The Flyers have) the last change here but it's been like that forever so it's not going to bother us.

Q: Are there any changes in strategy when you have a two-game lead or do you stick with what's working?

Rask: I don't know anything about any strategies. I'm a goalie. You're talking to the wrong guy.

Q: The mood around the team has been pretty upbeat since Game 2. Is there a concern you guys might forget how hard it was to win those two games?

Rask: That's the biggest thing for us. If you start having too much fun, you lose your focus on the game. It can turn against you. The biggest concern for us is to keep focused on the right things.

Obviously, it's an opportunity but we're still only halfway through this series. We only have two wins. That doesn't make a series so we have to keep on playing good. We're not feeling too full of ourselves and we know there's still a long way to go.

Q: Do you agree that your defensemen did a better job of keeping your crease clear in Game 2?

Rask: They've done a really good job throughout the year and nothing has changed. They've just kept going doing the same things they did during the regular season.

Q: But Scott Hartnell crashed your crease in Game 1 and knocked you down. They scored shortly after that.

Rask: I thought that was an accident. It happens.

Q: Do you have any idea what the WachoviaCenter crowd sounds like at a playoff game?

Rask: I haven't played a playoff game here but usually it's a great crowd here and this will be an intense game.

-- John McGourty

Bruins have eye for detail
05.05.2010 / 2:13 p.m. ET

Tim Thomas looked like he was going to have a heart attack. The Boston Bruins backup goalie was taking shots in practice at Wachovia Center Wednesday morning when he suddenly stood up as if startled.

He was. As Thomas prepared for a shot coming from the blue line, he was startled by the sound of a shot banging off the boards behind him. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who has a rocket of a shot, had just blasted a puck at a location on the end boards to see how far it would ricochet back into play and at what angle.

It was a veteran move by a rookie, but Boychuk, 26, was the AHL's best defenseman last season and has been skating flawless shifts in the playoffs while paired with captain Zdeno Chara. Boychuk's hard slap shot was on display in Game 2 in Boston when he scored the opening goal in the Bruins' 3-2 victory with a quick shot past Flyers goalie Brian Boucher off a faceoff won by Patrice Bergeron.

If Boucher saw the shot at all, it was probably later on TV.

"I test the boards in every rink to see how (the rebounds) are going to come off and no, I'm not going to tell you my secrets," Boychuk said, grinning. "They come out pretty good, actually. If you have a teammate in the lane, you can put one off the end boards. There was one last night in San Jose that bounced through the goalie and went in the net."

Teammate Tuukka Rask, the rookie goalie who is third in the playoffs with a 2.32 goals-against average, also was paying attention.

"You have to stay on top of that because every rink has different boards and here they're really lively," Rask said. "At home, the puck's not bouncing anywhere and here it's totally opposite. I just have to stay focused and keep that in mind."

Marc Savard is a 12-year veteran and he said he's familiar with the Wachovia Center's bouncy boards. But there's another aspect of the rink that suit's him, he said.

"You always have to be ready for those bounces, but the thing I like here and at home is they're both bright arenas and that's nice," Savard said. "I can see everything out there.

With so many Bruins paying attention to the end boards before their first playoff game here, coach Claude Julien was asked if he and his coaching staff prepare the team with information about the details of rinks the team visits.

"Absolutely. That's always part of the planning. Even the glass -- some have seamless partitions and some don't," Julien said. "Sometime, you have to tell your goalie to stay in his net because a puck can kick out. The dasher boards are different in every building. It's about understanding it.

"It's not just in offensive situations, but also defensive. If they're going to miss the net, where's the puck going to come out? Is it going to be quick? Goaltenders have to be on top of that.

"Same thing with the doors. We have the issue in Boston in the second period where we have to make sure we don't come in through the door because that will put us on the offside side of the blue line. So it's about understanding all these kinds of things and being able to react."

-- John McGourty

Flyers back home; confident

04.05.2010 / 12:30 p.m. ET

For a team trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, the Philadelphia Flyers sure looked to be a pretty confident group during their morning skate on Wednesday in preparation for Game 3 at Wachovia Center.

"You want your team to be loose so they can go out and play the game they need (Wednesday night)," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Certainly we're going to have to be intense in the battles but being all jammed up certainly isn't going to help either. I think we know what's at stake and I think we know what we need to do tonight and we're prepared to do that."

I'll post something regarding the incredible face-off disparity in this series so far. Both Mike Richards and Boston Patrice Bergeron discussed it.

Everyone you'd expect to participate in the 40-minutes skate was present. Coach Peter Laviolette didn't do much line juggling either. Of course, this is practice.

Briere centered Giroux and Leino
Powe centered van Riemsdyk and Ross
Richards centered Carcillo and Hartnell
Betts centered Asham and Nodl

Riley Cote, who did skate, will be a healthy scratch.

Defensive pairs remained the same as well, although Oskars Bartulis and Danny Syvret were also on the ice but will remain healthy scratches for this pivotal contest in the City of Brotherly Love.

Goaltenders Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund were also on the ice.

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers' Gagne close to return?
05.05.2010 / 11:45 p.m. ET

There's a chance Flyers wing Simon Gagne could begin skating this weekend just in time for a potential Game 5 appearance at TD Garden in Boston -- if necessary of course -- on Monday at 7 p.m.

According to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com, Gagne is still wearing a boot on his right foot (broken toe) and seemed optimistic about getting back on the ice with his teammates afer leaving the ice in Game 4 against the Devils in the opening round. He hasn't skated in 17 days.

"It's getting better," Gagne told Panaccio. "I'm off the crutches, walking on the foot a little bit. It's getting better every day. I didn't start skating yet. But it's getting close. I am going to meet with the doctor on Friday. From there, hopefully, I get the ok to start skating."

Gagne, who will undergo another MRI on Friday, admitted pushing himself every day to get back on the ice sooner rather than later.

"It's playoff hockey," he said. "Maybe in regular season you would take more time than usual. I don't think it's going to change my decision to start skating on Friday. Friday was when we were looking to start skating.

"From there, if I feel comfortable enough, we'll see. It may take me a little bit of time. If I am able to play right away, I will try to do it. But right now, it's too far ahead."

--Mike G. Morreale

Satan a Flyers killer
05.03.2010 / 8:30 p.m. ET

Miroslav Satan's goal at 9:31 of the second period was his fourth of the playoffs and 20th of his playoff career.

Satan, a big factor in the Buffalo Sabres' playoff domination of the Flyers earlier in this decade, now has 22 points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games against the Flyers.

He also has a five-game scoring streak that includes the Game 4 double-overtime game-winner against the Sabres last Wednesday and the series-winning goal last Monday when the Bruins eliminated Buffalo in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

-- John McGourty

Not a drop to drink

05.03.2010 / 8:15 p.m. ET

Boston has taken two major punches to the gut in the last week. A fire in the Downtown Crossing subway station injured 22 people Thursday and is causing continuing delays. Downtown Crossing is the intersection of two of the four major subway lines and is connected by a walkway to Park St. Station, served by the third line. The fourth major line is a stop away from all.

Bruins fans using the subway from all destinations are experiencing major delays that in some cases double travel time. And the system smells of electrical fire.

Water service to the metropolitan area was interrupted by a water-main break in Weston, about 30 miles west of Boston. Water surged into the Charles River, raising the level eight inches. A backup system was activated but the water is untreated. Residents in 750,000 area homes are being told to boil water, or better yet, drink bottled water.

After three days, supplies are running out throughout the area.

The Bruins brought in 13,520 bottles of water, 18,720 20-oz. bottles of soda, 4,500 ounces of hand sanitizer and a 40-foot trailer containing six pallets of ice manufactured from unaffected water supplies. Courtesy cups of water are available at Customer Service stations throughout TD Garden. All food preparation is being done with unaffected water supplies.

-- John McGourty


Are Flyers at a defensive disadvantage?

05.03.2010 / 4:25 p.m. ET

An interesting point was brought up at the afternoon press conference for Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on Monday.

Like it or not, each player on the Flyers defensive corps offers a left-handed shot, including healthy scratches Oskars Bartulis and Danny Syvret. Laviolette was asked if the mobility of his defense makes up for not having a righty along the blue line.

"I think that there are definitely advantages to having a right-handed defenseman," he said. "It doesn't seem to be an issue for us. I think sometimes with puck movement in the offensive zone and trying to get shots off in the neutral zone and you're trying to move the puck up ice and you slide pucks side to side to get it outside of the checkers that are coming at you, but it hasn't seemed to be a problem for us.

"We have moved the puck pretty good," Laviolette continued. "We need to control it a lot better (in Game 2) than we did last game from a breakout point of view and a neutral zone point of view. We're certainly happy with our defense and the people we have in there. It just so happens that there are no right shots."

The Bruins, by the way, have three right-handed shots along the blue line. They include Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Wideman and Andy McQuaid.

--Mike G. Morreale

Flyers look focused for Game 2
05.03.2010 / 2:06 p.m. ET

Not that the Boston Bruins weren't chomping at the bit to grab a 2-0 series lead, but the Philadelphia Flyers appeared confident and determined following their afternoon skate at TD Garden on Monday in preparation for Game 2.

There's good reason to believe the Flyers will tighten things up in their end in the opening 20 minutes this time around. Unlike Game 1, when the club was coming off an eight-day layoff following its five-game elimination of the Devils and fell behind, 2-0.

"There are certainly things that you review now that your team has been set up to play the Bruins from before the series," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think you go back and you think about the game. You watch it again and I definitely think that there are areas that you can improve on and you can be better at and we will certainly try and do that tonight."

Flyers captain Mike Richards feels his team will respond on Monday.

"I think in the last game, we were slapping the puck around, we weren't putting it on each other's tape and when we play that slap-hockey you seem to be chasing it a lot," Richards said. "So as long as we put it on each other's tape, we can generate more pressure."

And Flyers defenseman Matt Carle was also optimistic.

"I think as (Game 1) went on, we got better but we did get out-chanced and outshot in overtime but battled back," Carle said. "There were some positives that we can build on and we'll look to do that in Game 2. We're a 5-man unit out there, and we need to be more aggressive on the walls and keep pucks alive in the offensive zone to create chances."

--Mike G. Morreale

Sturm speaks
05.03.2010 / 1:49 PM ET

Boston Bruins left wing Marco Sturm was hurt 21 seconds into Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday at TD Garden.

It was a crushing blow for Sturm, who was in a scoring drought after leading his team with 22 goals this season. He was held without a point in the six-game Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Buffalo Sabres. Sturm tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee Saturday. He missed the second half of last season after suffering the same injury in his left leg. Sturm missed six games with a leg injury in January. He scored seven goals after he returned but only one in the final 22 games. He said Saturday's injury was unrelated to anything in the past.

Sturm spoke with the media after Monday morning's practice:

Q: What do you remember about the injury Saturday?

Sturm: I tried to hit him and it happened right away when I started to push from my right leg to hit him. I got caught or something like that and I know my knee twisted just a little bit. I could hear right away the big pop. And I heard it again before, and I knew it right away that it’s going to be the same thing.

Q: You know how tough the rehabilitation was last year. Are you prepared to go through that again?

Sturm: Yeah, I mean that’s going to be the toughest challenge here. The last one I didn’t know what to expect so I just went at it. I was around all season with the boys and that helped me a lot. This time I know how hard it was, rehab and all that. It’s a lot of work. And I don’t know. Right now, I’m just still rattled. But I will come back, I know. I just got to be patient. I got my family to support me, I got my family at home, so we’ll see. It will be hard, definitely, but again, I know what to expect now and I just want to try to do the best I can.

Q: Are you planning to go through rehab in Boston or in Germany?

Sturm: I don’t know yet. I’m definitely going to have Dr. [Peter] Asnis, Dr. [Thomas] Gill, who’s going to do surgery again. That’s for sure, I’m going to have it here. But I don’t know how long I’m going to stay here or if I’m going to even go back home. It’s a lot of questions I don’t know and we just have to wait and see.

Q: Was there a problem in your right leg before Saturday's injury?

Sturm: No, not at all. It was healthy and stiff as a rock before. Especially when you injured the other one, my right one even got stronger, I think, because I had to do a lot of things with my right leg. It’s one of those things, you kind of get caught and if you put your whole weight on that one leg, it just took a little bit, a little twist, and that was it.

Q: Are you planning to delay the ACL surgery until the MCL heals?

Sturm: Yes. These guys, they didn’t do it, but it’s acting like (New England Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady. Same thing. But he decided to go to another doctor. And he did it too early, because the MCL wasn’t healed. So you got to get it healed first and then do the surgery. So it could be a while.

-- John McGourty

Thornton in? Bruins' lines from skate
05.03.2010 / 10:59 AM ET

The Boston Bruins are skating here at TD Garden in preparation for Game 2 tonight against the Flyers.

Here are the line combos. Don't forget, Marco Sturm is done for the year with a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee. It looks as if Bruins agitator Shawn Thornton will be making his debut in this series Monday -- I'm sure that'll get the home fans going.

Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Marc Savard-Vladimir Sobotka-Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler-Steve Begin-Shawn Thornton

Defenseman Mark Stuart, who hasn't seen any action in the playoffs due to an infected left hand, was skating and skating well. So, we'll see what the defense pairings look like following coach Claude Julien's morning press conference.

-- Mike G. Morreale

Bruins on the ice for pregame skate

05.03.2010 / 10:54 AM ET

The Boston Bruins are skating here at TD Garden in preparation for Monday night's Game 2 against the Flyers.

Here are the line combos. Don't forget, Marco Sturm is done for the year with a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee. It looks as if Bruins agitator Shawn Thornton will be making his debut in this series on Friday -- I'm sure that'll get the home fans going.

Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Marc Savard-Vlad Sobotka-Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miro Satan
Blake Wheeler-Steve Begin-Shawn Thornton

Defenseman Mark Stuart, who hasn't seen any action in the playoffs with a left hand infection, was skating and skating well. So, we'll see what the defense pairings look like following coach Julien's morning press conference.

--Mike G. Morreale and John McGourty

Mutual respect between former coach and player
05.03.2010 / 12:32 AM ET

Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Boston Bruins veteran forward Mark Recchi share a common bond -- a Stanley Cup title.

Recchi played for Laviolette in Carolina when the Hurricanes made their incredible run through the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Recchi, a trade-deadline acquisition along with Doug Weight, would produce 7 goals and 16 points in 25 games with the 'Canes that postseason. The team would eventually win a seven-game series with the Edmonton Oilers to garner the Cup.

Recchi was asked about Laviolette following practice on Sunday.

"He knows how to play the game, is very smart and plays a very up-tempo," Recchi said. "I knew it would take some time to catch up with his pace. He believes in up tempo and movement and four guys up in the play and guys on attack and skating. When (the Flyers) caught up, they became a better team. Their practices are high tempo and have good flow and you have to be ready to go.

"In Carolina, it took me a little while to catch up to the pace of the players but once I did, I felt great," he added. "He's a terrific coach and he makes great adjustments and plays very well. I really enjoyed my time with him."

For Laviolette, the feeling was mutual. Although Laviolette did admit some surprise that the 42-year-old veteran of 21 NHL seasons is still having such a major impact in the game.

"I'm a little surprise he's still doing well because as players get older, you start to think about retirement," he said. "In that way, it's surprising that he can be a contributing factor but, honestly, it shouldn't surprise me because he's in great shape, loves the game and plays with passion.

"Mark Recchi is one of those players who's capable and has a skill set that allows him to be an effective player and make a difference in a game," he said. "I really enjoyed working with Mark. I thought he was a big factor with Doug Weight at the trade deadline, and our push toward winning a Cup and, outside the fact it's still going on for him, it shouldn't surprise me because he's a very good hockey player."

--Mike G. Morreale

Game 1 left Savard optimistic
05.02.2010 / 6:50 p.m. ET

Marc Savard played 15 minutes and 16 seconds in Game 1, his first action since suffering a March 7 concussion. Savard had only two shots on net, one the game-winner in overtime.

He wasn't a big factor in the game until he sealed the outcome. He described some of his early shifts as "just going out there and doing some small circles."

Savard said his fitness still needs to improve, but that his head felt fine. He talked to the media Sunday morning at TD Garden.

Q: Were you encouraged by your performance in Game 1?

Savard: It was a bit of a confidence-builder, helped me get along a little quicker, but it's going to be tough again. I'm going to still keep (my shifts) short, just keep working hard and keep getting better each game.

Q: Players in your situation, in the past, have said the second game back is harder than the first, when you may run on adrenaline and emotion, which you mentioned after Game 1. Is the second game a concern for you?

Savard: Stay excited. It's playoff time and our crowd has been great, so I don't think I'll have a problem with that. I'm just going to take it a day at a time and be ready to go.

Q: Coach Claude Julien used you judiciously throughout the game, giving you more ice time in the third period and overtime, and moving you to wing late in the game. Do you expect to be used that way again?

Savard: I think so. I felt fresh and that's why I think I had more energy in overtime. Like I said, keep it short. We had some rest today and that was good.

Q: A lot of people think this will be a long series. Is that what you expect?

Savard: Yes. Both teams never give up. I think both of us have the same motto from that standpoint. It's going to be a tough series, and we knew that going into it. Who knows how long it will go, but we expect a tough series.

Q: You said you were giving the fans a gift when you threw your stick into the crowd after your game-winning goal. Why did you do that?

Savard: Because they were great all night. They were cheering us on all night and I was thinking maybe it was one of those guys, so I did that. It was nice they threw it back but too bad they didn't keep it. It was a reaction, I guess. Fans have been great to me whether it was at the mall or at a restaurant, things like that. They've always been great to me and, obviously, last night was a special night. I put the stick away. It's done.

Q: Marco Sturm is obviously a big loss to your team. How will it impact the Bruins?

Savard: 'Sturmie' brings a lot to our hockey team. He has a lot of speed and he was our top goal scorer this year. He's a great penalty killer and a fierce guy. He works every time. He's certainly going to be missed and I'm going to try to fill that void.

Q: You were OK on the power play in Game 1, five wins and seven losses, 42 percent, but you're often dominant. Were you comfortable and did you come away with expectations of doing better?

Savard: I've been trying to work on it at practice a lot. A couple of times, I felt pretty good. There were some tight losses too so I could have come out even. It's something I've got to build on and be prepared for every time.

-- John McGourty


Sturm may be gone
05.01.2010 / 11:20 p.m. ET

Boston may be without forward Marco Sturm for the rest of its playoff journey this spring.

Sturm left Game 1 on Saturday at the 21-second mark when he tried to hit Flyers defenseman Matt Carle along the boards. He had to be helped to his feet, left the ice with an apparent leg injury and didn't return.

NESN's James Murphy (also an NHL.com correspondent), citing a source, reports that Sturm won't be back for rest of the playoffs. The team hasn't said anything yet. Coach Claude Julien had no comment on Sturm's status during his postgame media conference and said the team would know more on Sunday.

--John Kreiser

Savard puts exclamation point on Game 1 triumph

04.01.2010 / 10:45 p.m. ET

If you're a fan of the Boston Bruins, endings don't come much sweeter than Saturday afternoon's 5-4 overtime verdict over the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. Marc Savard made his long-awaited return to the lineup -- after missing the last 24 games -- and scored the OT game-winner.

Here are some stories filed after Saturday's contest in case you missed them.

Game recap
Savard caps storybook finish
Brian Boucher stars in defeat
What's next?

The Bruins will likely provide some information on the status of forward Marco Sturm, who exited Game 1 in the opening minute with an apparent leg injury.

So the Bruins take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 on Monday. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the Flyers actually have their legs in the opening 20 minutes of the first period. They were dominated by the Bruins on Saturday and it showed when they fell behind, 2-0.

But Philadelphia, to their credit, did rebound and play with renewed vigor in the second and third periods before losing some of its luster in the overtime when the Bruins outshot the Flyers, 15-4.

Despite the fact Flyers goalie Brian Boucher was magnificent, Bruins forward Mark Recchi knew it was just a matter of time. After all, they eventually solved Buffalo keeper Ryan Miller -- the best goalie in the world.

"We don't get frustrated," Recchi said. "We've been through this all year when we've just been in close games so there's no sense in getting frustrated. We showed it against (Ryan) Miller, we just stay with it, and stay with it. That's what we have to do. We have to keep playing our game and there's no sense in worrying about it. Boucher is going to make great saves and they're going to make good plays defensively and you got to make sure you just keep on playing relentless and doing the same thing.

"Like I said, it's going to make for a heck of a series."

--Mike G. Morreale

McQuaid paid for his mistakes
05.01.2010 / 7:15 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid, who is seeing a lot of playing time due to the injuries to defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart, played very well in the series against the Buffalo Sabres. But he took a couple of penalties Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers that cost him team a goal -- and cost him some ice time.

McQuaid was called for hooking at 15:20 of the second period. Twenty-eight seconds later, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger fired a shot from the point past goalie Tuukka Rask that drew the Flyers within 3-2.

On his next shift, McQuaid was called for interference, taxing the Bruins' penalty-killers. McQuaid had a quick seven-second shift in the final minute of the second period and a three-second shift after four minutes of the third period. But that was it: Only 10 seconds of ice time following back-to-back penalties.

His absence seemed to take a toll on the Bruins as they were outshot 13-10 in the third period and surrendered two goals. The Bruins were effectively short two players because forward Marco Sturm was hurt on his first shift of the game and didn't return.

Bruins coach Claude Julien relented in overtime, playing McQuaid 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

"Obviously, being in my situation, I've got to make sure that I'm staying out of the box," McQuaid said after the game. "We were lucky enough to kill the second one off and I'm happy that we won because it looked pretty bad on my part to take a few penalties and turn the game around.

"... The guys were really supportive and told me to put it behind me and move forward. They went out and did the job killing the second penalty."

McQuaid said the second penalty was an accident.

"(Andrew Ference) was behind the net and I was watching him and I was telling him to wheel," McQuaid said. "I was looking at the net. I turned and (Danny) Briere was right there and we collided. I guess they figured I meant to do it. I just saw him at the very last second."

-- John McGourty

Marco Sturm leaves game with lower body injury | WATCH
05.01.2010 / 1:05 p.m. ET

Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm left the game in the opening minute of the first period with an apparent leg injury after attempting to hit Flyers defenseman Matt Carle in the Philadelphia end.

Sturm remained on one knee in front of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, unable to move, for almost a full minute before finally being helped off the ice. Sturm was injured just 21 seconds into the contest after a seemingly harmless collision along the half-boards in the Flyers' end.

He's doubtful to return to the game. No word yet on the extent of the injury. Sturm led the Bruins with 22 goals in the regular season. He was pointless in six playoff games.

--Mike G. Morreale

Roach Warriors
04.30.2010 / 12:21 p.m. ET

Believe it or not, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards has never experienced the thrill of beginning a Stanley Cup Playoff series on home ice.

And, really, perhaps it doesn't make much of a difference since the Flyers' center is actually 4-2 in playoff series over his five-season career.

Nothing's going to change on Saturday either when the Flyers open their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

In his rookie season in 2005-06, the Flyers opened their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Round matchup in Buffalo and dropped a disheartening 3-2 double-overtime decision en route to a six-game series setback. When Philadelphia returned to the playoffs two years later in 2008, Richards opened in Washington in the conference quarterfinal round, Montreal in the semis and Pittsburgh in the East Final. Last season, it was Pittsburgh in the conference quarters and, this season, New Jersey and now, Boston.

Richards had a team-leading 8 points against the Devils in his team's five-game series triumph in the opening round.

Richards touched on a few topics following his team's morning skate at their facility in Voorhees, N.J., on Friday before hopping on a plane to Boston with his teammates.

Q: Mike, I know we talked about it in the first round, but how imperative is it, going into this series, and knowing the way that Boston plays, to be disciplined, not commit penalties that you guys were called for in that first round?

"I think it's important in any series, but I think they get a lot of momentum after power plays. (They've) got a great power play and, like I said before, it wears the bodies down if you keep taking penalties, and keep having the same guys out there killing and blocking shots."

Q: Were you impressed with the way that you guys, from a discipline standpoint, were you able to handle yourselves against the Devils?

"From a discipline standpoint? No…had a lot of composure with some of the penalties, didn't let them affect us but we’ve got to stay out of the penalty box. Obviously (we) didn't do a great job of that last series, but as our penalty killers …we won't have to kill as many."

Q: Do you like starting a series on the road? Some people kind of like it, so it's less pressure sometimes.

"Yeah, I don't mind it. It's always nice to play at home, but I don't mind starting on the road. I think, especially with a long playoff, it's always tough to kind of start at home. On the road, I think you go and kind of have more time to prepare maybe, or kind of get in the game a little bit before tonight. When you get there, you’re already focusing on the game."

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins coach talks defensive adjustment
04.01.2010 / 12:11 p.m. ET

Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked prior to the game how his team thin defensive corps was going to handle Philadelphia's physicality down low in the trenches -- both Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart.

"We've been dealing with that for about a month now, since those two guys got hurt and we have had to use more those (other) players," Julien admitted. "It hasn't been an issue so I don't know why we should be looking at it as an issue again. Guys know what to do. they want to stay out of the box. We have to stick together. It's the same old cliche as you hear every day so, again, it's no big deal for me and we will deal with it the way we have dealt with it so far and it it becomes more of an issue, then we will make the adjustment."

--Mike G. Morreale

Bruins excited to get Savard back in the mix
04.01.2010 / 11:36 a.m. ET

The Bruins are pretty excited to be playing in front of their home fans in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal about to take place here at TD Garden.

A few of the players spoke to the media prior to face-off and admitted how great it was to see center Marc Savard gearing up in the locker room for the first time in 25 games, including all six of Boston's opening-round series against the Sabres.

"Everyone is excited to have him back, he brings that type of play that nobody else on our team can and brings that confidence in our team and that'll be a big boost," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "I think it's just playoffs that brings it out in you. Win or go home and we get excited every game."

Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who is usually paired with captain Zdeno Chara, agreed.

"(Savard) settles the locker room down quite a bit and is a great power-play guy," Boychuk said. "He can make passes they I could never dream about making, so it'll help out tremendously."

Savard sat out the final 18 regular-season games and six playoff contests with a concussion after suffering a concussion on March 7 in Pittsburgh. He had led the Bruins in assists and points each of the past three seasons but had just 10 goals and 23 assists in 41 games this campaign. Savard had 6 goals and 13 points in 11 playoff games in 2008-09.

--Mike G. Morreale

Who's the favorite?
05.01.2010 / 8:25 a.m. ET

It appears as though both the Bruins and Flyers would prefer playing the underdog role rather than being considered the favorite in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series that commences Saturday at TD Garden.

And why wouldn't they. The us-against-the-world mentality seems to be working like a charm.

"Everyone had us as the underdogs going into the playoffs, and now we're favorites," said Bruins forward Marco Sturm. "But we need to take the same approach we had going into the first round. We have to play with confidence and be confident, but we can't think of ourselves as favorites."

The sixth-seeded Bruins upset the third-seeded Buffalo Sabres in the opening round in six games. The seventh-seeded Flyers, who needed a shootout victory over the New York Rangers on the last day of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs, became the first team to win a first-round series when they beat the second-seeded Devils in five games.

"I guess you consider us the favorites because of how we're seeded, but I see two evenly matched teams," said Boston's Daniel Paille. "It's going to come down to who wants it more."

Actually, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said his team would be comfortable assuming any role.

"I don't know if (playing as an underdog) is more comfortable," Pronger said. "Certainly you could look at it as less pressure or look at it as we have higher expectations than being an underdog. That means no one is picking you to win, which is not good. Injuries aren't an excuse we should be using or looking for. You can look at those as excuses but at the end of the day, you have to play the game hard and play the game well no matter who's in the lineup. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs, it's not exhibition."

--Mike G. Morreale


Blair betting on 'special' series
04.30.2010 / 10:50 pm ET

While the loss of forward Ian Laperriere to the Flyers lineup creates a huge void on the team's penalty-killing unit, Blair Betts knows that just means others will have to pick up the slack.

"Penalty kill will be as big a part of this series as any series," Betts said. "They got some guys over there that can fire the puck on their power-play, and obviously some good offensive players who our penalty kill's going to need to be great (against). Our power play was really successful against the Devils, and I think that was a big part of the reason why we won that series. We're going to be looking for that as well."

How evenly matched are these rivals on specialty teams -- the Flyers enter Saturday's opening-game tilt hitting at a 27.6 percent efficiency (8-of-29) with the man advantage and the Bruins are at 27.3 percent (6-of-22).

The Bruins have yet to allow a power-play goal in the playoffs in 19 times shorthanded. The Flyers have killed 19-of-23 opportunities (82.6 percent).

"If you look at the teams that got bounced, Washington I think was 1-for-33; Buffalo was 0-for," Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. "So (special teams) are very important. Your penalty-kill is just as important as the power-play but you need your power play to put a dagger in them when you get the chance, because it sends a message that if you want to take penalties we'll just score on the power play and make you pay for it. So, get enough to make the power play start rolling and making sure that we're playing more disciplined than we did in that first series is going to be critical for us."

--Mike G. Morreale

Familiar scenario for Pronger
04.30.2010 / 10:18 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger has gone seven days between playoff rounds but never eight.

That's the situation he'll be in when the puck finally drops Saturday at TD Garden when the Flyers face the Boston Bruins in the series opener of the Eastern Conference Semifinal. The Flyers eliminated the New Jersey Devils in the opening round last Thursday.

Pronger last experienced a long layoff during the 2006 Playoffs as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. After his team knocked off Anahem in five games in the Western Conference Final on May 27, the club was forced to wait for the completion of the Carolina-Buffalo series, which lasted seven games before coming to an end on June 1.

The Stanley Cup Final began June 5.

"The last time I had this long a layoff was going into the Stanley Cup Final against Carolina with Edmonton and everybody was waiting to see how we were going to come out in Game 1," Pronger recalled. "They were saying, 'You're not going to be game ready, you're not going to be.' I think you make what you can with it. We have to focus on the start and be prepared. We've had good practices and have focused on key areas that will be important in the series so I think we'll be OK."

"I think you wonder and worry about everything," coach Peter Laviolette said. "All I can tell you is, I liked (Friday's) practice -- the energy, the competitiveness, the jump. It's different then, say, the Olympic break because all our guys are here. They're working hard. There's eight teams playing for the Stanley Cup so there's a lot of excitement."

--Mike G. Morreale

Stuart starts skating
04.30.2010 / 3:53 PM ET

Don Cherry might put it this way: Don't punch opponents in the helmet, kids. Mark Stuart would back him up.

Stuart scuffled with Los Angeles Kings forward Wayne Simmonds on Jan. 30 and missed seven games because he broke a pinkie finger. Stuart returned to the lineup March 2 but the finger continued to give him problems. It was then that doctors realized he had a serious infection. He hasn't played since April 1.

Stuart was given approval to resume skating and hit the ice for the first time since then Thursday. He skated again Friday, after his teammates were done with practice. Stuart also spoke briefly to the media Friday.

"Yesterday was my first day and I'm excited," he said. "It felt good to get back out on the ice. It's been tough, a roller coaster these last few months, but we're still playing and I'm still holding onto hope that I have a chance to get back out there."

Stuart, who Boston chose with the 21st pick of the 2003 Entry Draft, has matured into a top-four defenseman, but he had a tough season. He missed 14 games, including the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, when he suffered a sternum injury in December. He played only seven games before cracking his pinkie on Simmonds' helmet.

Stuart had 2 goals, 7 points and a plus-1 rating in 56 games this season.

The Bruins are skating with two of their top defensemen out of the lineup. Dennis Seidenberg is done for the season after severing an arm tendon. Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid have stepped into the lineup and done a good job, but the Bruins would be a better team with a healthy Stuart, one of the League's strongest defensemen, on the ice.

"It's been really frustrating. The timetable has changed quite a bit," Stuart said. "I held out hope it was two weeks, and then it turned into four and then six. I just have to go with it ... try to stay on an even keel. The team has been playing great right now and it's been fun to watch. I'm happy we're still going and I'm still hopeful that I can help the team somehow."

As Stuart spoke, it was impossible not to notice the rectangular lump, under bandages, on his arm. It was a container of antibiotics that drains into his arm. He was held off the ice until a wound healed, doctors afraid that sweat would get into it.

"I'm still undergoing treatment for the infection, but now I'm allowed to go back out on the ice and that's huge because for a while, I wasn't allowed to do anything," Stuart said. "I have an IV that I plug in twice a day."

-- John McGourty

Boosh on Rex
04.30.2010 / 2:58 PM ET

The last time Brian Boucher was on an extended playoff run, it was with the Flyers in 2000. One of the main cogs in that Philadelphia machine was Mark Recchi. Ten years later, Boucher is having a career renaissance, while Recchi just keeps on doing the same thing he's done his entire career -- skating well, scoring goals and being a great leader.

"He's a great teammate," Boucher said during a conference call Friday. "He's one of those guys that you really, truly enjoy being in the same locker room as him. He's a good leader. The things he does on the ice are pretty darn good, too, because he wouldn't be playing still if he didn't do a good job.

"He still can skate. The guy can move, and he's a smart hockey player. He has a knack for the net. He's scored timely goals." The Buffalo Sabres certainly can speak to that, as Recchi had 3 goals and 5 points in the first round.

"He's going to be a guy we're going to have to pay particular interest in, making sure he doesn't get those chances," said Boucher.

In those 2000 playoffs, Recchi had 18 points in 18 games; 10 years later, he's still a point-per-game player.

-- Adam Kimelman

Lines and pairings
04.30.2010 / 2:04 PM ET

With Marc Savard returning to the lineup, the Bruins have changed the lines that they used in the Buffalo series. Savard is in, Shawn Thornton is out and Blake Wheeler will play on the fourth line. Wheeler is an important part of Boston's penalty-killing unit.

Here are the Bruins' lines and defense pairings from today's practice:

Marco Sturm-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Miroslav Satan
Daniel Paille-Marc Savard-Michael Ryder
Steve Begin-Vladimir Sobotka-Blake Wheeler

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Wideman-Matt Hunwick
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Goalie: Tuukka Rask
Backup: Tim Thomas

The Flyers practiced this week with these lines and pairings:

Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Claude Giroux
Ville Leino-Danny Briere-Scott Hartnell
James van Riemsdyk-Jared Ross-Arron Asham
Darroll Powe-Blair Betts-Andreas Nodl

Matt Carle-Chris Pronger
Kimmo Timonen-Braydon Coburn
Ryan Parent-Lukas Krajicek

Goalie: Brian Boucher
Backup: Johan Backlund

-- John McGourty


Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players