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Game Day: Bruins @ Flyers

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Boston           0 1 2-3

Philadelphia 0 1 0-1

First Period-None.

Second Period-1, Boston, Ryder 19 (Wideman, Krejci), 3:07. 2, Philadelphia, Hartnell 19 (Lupul, Parent), 5:24.

Third Period-3, Boston, Krejci 19 (Hnidy), 5:48. 4, Boston, Wideman 12 (Wheeler), 6:23.

Shots on Goal-Boston 7-12-14-33. Philadelphia 14-6-6-26.

Goalies-Boston, Thomas. Philadelphia, Biron. A-19,748 (19,537). T-2:12.

0:00 - Bruins win. Another Eastern Conference victory.

1:09 - Biron is off for the extra attacker.

1:18 - Boston maintains the pressure.

3:40 - Chara hit Biron high and they had to stop the game to check on him. He looks okay.

6:21 - Thomas stops Asham.

6:55 - Tim's turn to hold on...

9:30 - Biron with a glove save. He hangs on for the draw.

9:57 - Bitz hit the post off a Yelle pass.

12:32 - Giroux is in the box for PHI. Charging.

13:37 - Wideman scores on a shot that was almost an exact replica of the shot that Ryder deflected. It's 3-1, Boston.

14:12 - Krejci wins the faceoff, and the puck goes straight back to Hnidy who fires and beats Biron. It's 2-1, Boston. Krejci gets the goal on a deflection.

14:16 - Spoke to soon. Biron flags down a Savard drive and holds on.

14:32 - It feels as if there has not been a stoppage since the beginning of the period.

15:58 - Ference with a big shot that goes wide.

17:05 - Another save by Biron.

17:50 - The pace is amazing...

18:09 - Biron makes a terrific save.

20:00 - Start of the Third Period. We're four-on-four to start.
0:00 - Gagne finally beat Timmy, but the puck when through his pads and past the goal. It's 1-1.

1:04 - Marty Biron is knocked over (or is an outstanding actor) and Wheeler goes to the box for goalie interference. Wheels is unhappy.

1:38 - Wheeler was tripped and Powe goes to the box. The B's MUST take advantage of this opportunity.

2:50 - Thornton is having an outstanding game. He and the rest of the Yelle line have been difference makers.

4:55 - Thomas turns the trick and snags a Hartnell breakaway bullet...

5:22 - Savard makes Biron work. Nice glove save.

7:07 - Another good kill by PHI.

9:24 - Philly with another penalty. Boston is back on the PP.

9:39 - Another good kill by Philly, but Boston has maintained some good pressure...

12:32 - Carle takes down Bergeron. Boston on the PP.

13:11 - Knuble pops Wideman.

13:41 - Tim bounces back with a save.

14:36 - Someone missed Hartnell in front and a cross ice pass is quickly converted into a goal. It's 1-1.

16:53 - Give that to Ryder. Boston scores off a Widmean shot and a Ryder deflection past Biron. That's his 19th of the season. The Bruins have put a little more emotion into this session. It's 1-0, B's.

17:45 - Icing Philly. Lucic is back on the bench.

18:17 - Lucic limped off after being hit with an Aaron Ward shot. Not good.

19:09 - A little more hitting.

20:00 - Start of the Second. Once more with feeling...
0:00 - It's 0-0. A good period by both clubs. Thomas had 14 saves in the first and was the clear difference in the session.

20.0 - Thornton almost scored again -- very similar play as last game.

1:04 - Thomas stops Gagne (again).

1:42 - Boston's having some trouble getting anything going late.

3:26 - Thomas stops Asham. Bergeron clears.

5:41 - A pretty play from Ryder to Krejci. But Biron tracked the shot down...

6:56 - Lucic with a pretty (but blind pass) that Savard is unable to convert.

8:39 - Tim with another tough save.

9:51 - Good kill by Philly.

11:34 - Brion stops Chara.

12:13 - Knuble in the box. Boston on the PP for the first time.

12:17 - Knuble shoots, hits Andrew Ference's stick, and had Thomas splitting, reaching and snagging the shot.

12:28 - More good work by the Yelle line...

13:19 - Hello Albie!

14:10 - Axelsson had a bid broken up. Philadelphia is not allowing Boston near their goal.

15:11 - Hello Metro!

15:39 - Tim just made next week's saves of the week. Look for it on the highlights -- no use explaining it.

16:30 - Bergeron breaks up a Philly power play formation and clears the B's zone...

17:32 - Bitz gets called for interference (even though Biron pulled Byron down). PHI is on the PP for the first time.

18:08 - Hartnell with another tough shot that Tim had to handle.

19:16 - Gagne makes Tim Thomas make a save.

19:55 - Philadelphia wins the draw.

20:00 - First Period.

Switching to time on the clock...

6:47  p.m.
A decent guess at the lines...
Lucic - Savard - Kessel
Axelsson - Bergeron - Kobasew
Wheeler - Krejci - Ryder
Thornton - Yelle - Bitz
Chara - Ward
Ference - Wideman
Stuart - Hndiy

Hunwick, Nokelainen

6:36 p.m.
NESN is confirming that Tim Thomas will be goal.

WBZ News Radio's Dave Gaucher reports that tonight's lineup should be the same as last game (minus Tuukka Rask and adding Manny Fernandez) and that Martin Biron will start for Philly.

1:48 p.m.

One player who could give the Bruins an immediate shot in the arm is Phil Kessel.

Kessel, who lost six games to Mono and has just recently returned to the lineup, still has a little ways to go before he regains the world-beating form he had before his illness.

"It’s not at the level it was before the injury," said Coach Julien before the club left for Pennsylvania. "I think that he knows that.

"He may feel good about his skating and everything else, [but] it’s one of those things where he has to find his game again.

"He’s not terrible; he’s just not at the stage where he was before he got hurt, so there’s room for improvement there," said the head coach.

"There’s other guys that I still think can play better [too]," added Julien. "Overall, as a team we’re still playing a decent game.

"I guess when you see those kind of things, it’s even more encouraging for your hockey club."

It's not easy to jump right back into NHL action.

"It’s just getting into the rhythm and finding those holes in your timing or jumping in those holes and making those scoring opportunities happen for you," said the B's bench boss. "It’s just a little bit of timing and some of it is us showing him clips and getting him back on track.

"Some of it is the timing and just working through it."

While Kessel and Milan Lucic work hard to return to form, their center, Marc Savard, is at the top of his game.

"I think even when his linemates haven’t been as good as they have been in the past, he still plays pretty well," said Julien. "Obviously, it takes a little bit away from his game, but he’s still competing and doing all the other things that he needs to do to be successful.

"I think that’s the thing we’ve noticed the most about him: instead of getting really frustrated with what’s going on around him, he’s really focused on keeping his focus on his game and continuing to do the good things."

12:28 p.m.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice...

11:57 a.m.
To my knowledge, everyone on the trip is available. The only person who remains unavailable is Matt Hunwick. He did not make the trip and is fighting flu-like symptoms.

"There’s a possibility he might join us in Ottawa," said Coach Julien on Tuesday. "He’s not well enough to travel with the team or to have him around the team for that matter."

11:43 a.m.
I spoke too soon. Word from the Philadelphia contingent is that everyone is on the ice with the exception of Axelsson, Savard, Thornton, Kobasew, Chara, Yelle, Bergeron and Wideman.

11:40 a.m.
It's an optional down in Philly...

No word yet on who is participating.

9:08 a.m.

Everyone in the Hub of Hockey, including Bruins head coach Claude Julien, is expecting a physical game when the Black & Gold take on the Flyers this evening in Philadelphia.

“They’re another team that likes the physical play and that we don’t back down from that,” said Julien. “We can play any way that needs to be played.

“We’re going in there for the first time to see this team this year so, [we need] just find a way to win the game, no matter what.”

From a fan’s standpoint, there seems to be no end to the motivating factors behind the Bruins/Flyers matchup, but the players on the Boston side just see another team that is hoping to knock them down a peg.

And, instead of focusing on the big picture, the B’s will continue to take each game, period, minute and play, one-at-a-time.

“We have to focus on the little things,” said Bergeron, who might have more reasons than anyone to look at the Flyers differently. “We know, coming into each game, that teams are expecting us to play hard and…they want to beat us.

“That’s the bottom line and that’s what they want. So we can’t take any nights off, because they will make us pay. I think we are aware of that, but we have to approach each game  they way [we have] so far and stick to the system and really play as a team.”

Milan Lucic agreed with Bergeron, 100%.

“I think those are the most important things that you have to focus on,” said Lucic. “Obviously, you can’t forget about the big things, the main things, but if you focus on those little things – getting the puck out, making that first pass, making that smart play, winning that battle – I think that’s what is [important].

“That will help you to maintain focus and keep pushing.”

One group that has helped the Bruins maintain their game plan has been the “energy line” of Shawn Thornton – Stephane Yelle – and Byron Bitz.

“I guess at this stage of the season, a lot of times you have to grind certain parts of the game out,” explained Claude Julien. “They’re extremely good at that.

“You have your skilled players, that a lot of the times that are trying to use their skill, their finesse, to score some goals and play within the system.  But, at the same time, you have to wear other teams down.

"They can get it into the offensive end and they’re very good at getting pressure, bottling them up in there [own zone] and finishing their checks,” said Julien.

All three men bring a punishing physical element to the game, as well.

“Those guys are physical players so [they] create some chances as well,” said Julien. “These are some of the ways you can utilize [the whole lineup] to score goals and they showed that against Montreal by all three of them creating that chance that [Thornton] got, and it ended up being the winning goal.”

And as much as there would be satisfaction in seeing Thornton, Lucic or Bitz squaring off, sometimes you can find more productive ways to “hurt” the other team.

“It always hurts [them] more to score a nice big goal in a big win,” said Bergeron with a big smile.
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