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Bear Essentials: Philadelphia vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Hello True Believers...The B's had a big win today, and if you want to follow the Bear Essentials through the whole day, start from the top. A running game blog is at the bottom. JB

It's a nasty morning here in Boston and I suppose things could get even nastier when the Bruins and Flyers renew "acquaintances" this afternoon in the TD Banknorth Garden.

Sure, with the history between the B's and PF's this year, it would not surprise me if there were a few nasty glances exchanged, but perhaps things might get even nastier in DC tomorrow. The last two games between the Caps and the B's have been interesting, to say the least.

And, as I was preparing my stuff for today, I was reading other people's stuff. One of the more interesting pieces was by Corey Masisak in The Washington Times:

Caps fans should root for the Flyers [Saturday] afternoon. Why? Because the team the Caps might be most likely to catch is now…the reeling Boston Bruins.


I'd like to see Our Boys reaction to that thought when they read that line in the locker room this morning or on the plane to Washington this evening. While I am not disputing that the B's have had a tough month, I wonder if that thought put to print in the above manner might strike a chord with player and fan alike -- it certainly stopped me short in my tracks.

After all, Our Boys have not yet rid their psyches of the pain of seeing a 10-spot dropped on them earlier this month, and they showed as such in the two teams last meeting.

In any case, Boston must focus on today's game with Philadelphia this morning and should carry a big 'ol chip on their shoulder pads as they hit the ice at 1. In fact, I would venture a guess and say that not too many of the Bruins are waking up on the right side of the bed today.

For example, Coach Julien was none too happy during yesterday's practice, and after one less than well executed drill was seen and heard "urging" his players to "be sure to complete, crisp, well-timed passes" or "if lacking the ability to complete crisp, well-timed passes, and lacking a better idea, shoot the puck at the general vicinity of the net."

Let's just say I've paraphrased the above and reveal that his tone was somewhat more harsh and leave it at that.

On a more positive note...
I've nothing harsh to say about witnessing Andrew Alberts, Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez practicing this morning. The three men, joined by a couple coaches, worked their tails off during the 9 o'clock hour -- with seemingly no restrictions.

Albe looked very sharp, skating and shooting wise, Bergy was able to pick corners and Manny was challenging both of the skaters with solid left to right movement in and out of the butterfly -- very, very encouraging.

Also very encouraging was the play of Tim Thomas on Thursday night. While he was not as sharp as we have seen over the last two-plus years, he was very solid and can't be blamed for the loss. At 23-17-4, with a 2.56 GAA and a .919 sv% Thomas remains one of the leagues best and would be my guess as the starter this afternoon as he has a 2.04 average and .929 percentage against the Philadelphians.

11:07 p.m.
Hey. If you haven't tuned in already, there is some terrific hockey talk hitting the net right now at

It's "Get to know your announcer" day on the New England Hockey Journal Show, as Mick and Matt will be parked across from the home dressing room at TDBNG with special guest co-host Jack Edwards, Bruins play by play announcer on NESN.

Jack will take calls from 11 a.m. to noon before going into his pre-game prep for Bruins-Flyers at 1:00 p.m.

11:16 p.m.
Head coach Claude Julien's intensity was palpable when we were able to interview just before 11.

"It doesn't matter how many injuries or how many situations you have, when you get to this time of year, you have to win -- period," said Coach, a little softer and a little more intense than usual. "Nobody is going to feel sorry for what's happened to you, so you just have to go out there and play your game.

"Throw the excuses out.

"Excuses just weigh you down," he said.

FYI: Tim Thomas is the starter. Peter Schaefer skated earlier, which may indicate his being a scratch. Bobby Allen was not in sight.

11:54 p.m.
We're closing in on warmups and a final guess at the lineups.

Coach Julien also spoke about the Philadelphia Flyers, pregame.

"We are going to need a real gutsy effort from our team," said Julien, again with severe intensity. "I think we've played them well and we've played them hard.

"They've tried to play the intimidation card and we've held our own and I think that's made for some interesting games, but there is a lot on the line, today.

"I don't anticipate the game changing that much," he said.

Discipline -- particularly for the Bruins -- will be important.

"It is and it is for every game from here on out," said Julien.

12:40 p.m.
Warmups are seconds away and I am hoping to see #91 come out of the runway (it looks as if Chara is out). Savvy was hit by an errant puck during the last game.

Biron is the goalie for Philly.

Savvy was second in line to Timmy. Wardo was next. Looks like it is just Zee. Schaefer and Nokelainen look to be today's scratches.

This is a decent guess:
Stuart-Wideman (sg) Thomas
Ward-Ference (bg) Auld

1:00 p.m.

I am going to keep it here tonight, folks. My intern will post recaps between periods. JB
Lashoff-Hnidy Go Bruins!

First Period
0:00 The lights are down. The crowd is filling in. Very exciting atmosphere...Opening score is "Last of the Mohicans" and pretty much all I can think of right now is Daniel Day Lewis tearing through some enemies on the way to rescue his girlfriend in the movie of the same name.

They are showing highlights of great moments and the crowd is oohing and ahhhing to the beat of the music. VERY NICE!

Both teams are now on the ice. Sturm, Krejci and Kobasew up front. Wideman and Stuart on the Blue and Timmy in goal.

1:00 B's dictating play, early. Two big hits by Milan Lucic.

3:02 Good fight between Thornton and Cote. I give it to Thorts on points. He came out of it fired up and screaming, "Let's go!" Crowd is pumped.

6:17 Good pace, good hard work by the B's -- but not much to show for it, 2 shots. Biron is too good a goalie to let feel "comfortable" for too long.

7:44 Philadelphia is really clogging the shooting lanes...

8:15 Muzz just hit the post. Philadelphia takes the puck down the ice and forces a penalty. Previous to the play, Hatcher went off with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

12:21 With Biron fighting the puck, Kobasew put a wristshot over his blocker -- Chuck's 21st, a new career season high.

12:54 B's on the PK

15:40 Scary PK, but the B's made it through and pushed the puck into the Philly zone for three excellent chances.

Aerosmith on the PA! Outstanding. Dial that up again...

16:43 Philadelphia draws another PP. Ugh.

19:59 Short fight between Mark Stuart and Scott Hartnell -- not much before the takedown, which went to Stuart.

20:00 All-in-all, an outstanding effort for the Black & Gold. Missing Chara, shutting down the 2nd ranked PP in the league is no small feat. Let's do that again -- TWICE!

Second Period
0:00 Four-on-four to start the period.

:32 Boston draws a penalty on Timonen.

2:17 Tim might have just made a game saver. Late in the PP, the Flyers took it ice length and Thomas made a nice stop.

6:09 B's back on the PP.

9:14 Hmmm. 1-1. Mike Richards deflects a crossbar hight puck by Thomas, who had the initial save hop on him (think shortstop).

12:25 Briere (yell it like, "Newman!") scores...not good.

15:00 This game has really turned in favor of the Flyers, who now seem to be playing with a useful abandon.

20:00 This game is trending badly. For much of the period, Boston played their game and took it straight to the Flyers. But for the remainder of the session, Philly out Bostoned-Boston. Very unfortunate turn of events for the B's.

Third Period
0:00 Nail bitin' time, folks.

:11 Four-on-four to start. Ward and Upshall got high sticking minors at the break.

1:07 Some hard work by Metro and Savvy leads to a Boston PP.

1:47 Marco Sturm came within inches of scoring...

4:00 Tim just made three stellar saves...

6:31 Another outstanding play by Thomas, who leaps to get his body in front of a floating wrister...

10:56 Lucic has had a terrific game. Hits, scoring chances, good passes...outstanding.

13:19 B's have hit the 30-shot mark. Chances are coming...

13:57 A little scrum after Sobotka crashes the net.

15:17 B's on a late PK.

17:30 Good PK. Now we need a goal.

19:33 Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal! I have no idea how it happened, but thank goodness.

20:00 Speechless.

:27 Apparently Mr. Sturm had a problem with one of the Flyers.

:34 Very nice glove save by Biron on Muzz.

2:17 Nice goal Wardo -- seems to like beating Philly!

5:23 p.m.
I am on a VERY HAPPY Bear Force One. The Club is on to Washington, so keep it here for the latest. JB
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