BOSTON – Now that the Bruins have finally taken care of the Montreal Canadiens, the Black & Gold are ready to move on to their next opponent: the Philadelphia Flyers.
|Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46), of the Czech Republic, scores as Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Boucher falls on his chest while trying for the save during the third period of Game 1 of a second-round NHL playoff hockey game in Boston, Saturday, May 1, 2010. At left is Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
Unlike the Montreal series that pitted speed against strength, this series will feature similar systems squaring off as the Big Bad Bruins take on the Broad Street Bullies.
But while the Canadiens conference quarterfinal series was surround by all the hype expected of a first round match-up between long time rivals, the Flyers series isn’t exactly going to be a snooze-fest.
First, consider the recent playoff history of the two teams, in which the Bruins dropped a three game series lead and then a three goal lead in Game 7 to send the Flyers on a trip to the Conference Finals and eventually to the Stanley Cup Finals where they were bested by the Chicago in six games.
Throw in the close contests these clubs have played this season, Chris Pronger’s return to Philadelphia’s backend, Tim Thomas’ Vezina caliber campaign and Philly’s three goalie merry go round and the series is sure to live up to expectations.
“If there is excitement that’s great,” said Boston’s resident tough-guy Shawn Thornton.
“Every time it’s hyped up a little bit more it’s better for everybody in hockey. I’m glad this is a bit of a rivalry and people are excited to see it. It’s a good thing.”
Although the hype will amp up the crowds filling the Wells Fargo Center and TD Garden, the Bruins aren’t focused on the history between the two teams.
Thornton said last year’s series is something the teams can learn from, but isn’t something the players are going to harp on.
“For some of the guys obviously that were here last year it should be a little bit of a motivating tool and a learning lesson,” Thornton said.
“But that being said, last year was last year, this year is this year. Half the team has been turned over, we’ve brought in some great people.
"It’s a whole new year. We have new players, they have new players.”
In fact, just nine players who skated in Boston’s Game 7 against Philadelphia last season skated in Game 7 against Montreal on Wednesday.
That number may be a little bit skewed though, as there were players who didn’t skate in the series, but were still recalled for the postseason and were part of the team as they let go of a three game lead.
One of those players was Brad Marchand. While Marchand is currently just a rookie, he spent time with the team last year and watched the core players go through the tough series.
“Being here I went through it all, I was around all the guys. I had the same kind of feeling everyone else did in the room,” said Marchand.
“It was tough to go through but hopefully we’ll write a new chapter this year.”
Another one of those players, and perhaps the one who holds the key to Boston’s success in the second round is David Krejci. After beginning the postseason strong last year with 4-4-8 totals in nine games, Krejci suffered a broken wrist in Game 3 of the second round series with Philadelphia, ousting him from the remainder of the postseason.
The Bruins never recovered.
“Everything was going our way and then a couple bad injuries, a couple back breaks and then the season was over,” said Krejci of last year’s series.
Despite all the history and the changes that both teams have undergone, the Bruins are confident in their ability to come out on top this year.
“We just have to play our game. We can’t focus so much on their game,” Krejci said. “They are a good team. They have so much offense in front.
"We just have to play our game and trust the system and we will be all right.”