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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Flyers

The Bruins face Philly on Saturday in search of their seventh home win in eight games.

by Chris Weyant @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - The B's were able to quickly rediscover their winning ways on Wednesday evening in a 6-1 rout of the Detroit Red Wings.

With their victory, the Bruins were able to maintain pace in the Atlantic Division, widening their lead to four points over the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third playoff slot.

With Toronto notching a 4-2 lead over Philadelphia on Thursday, the Bruins lead is back to just two points. Toronto has one game in hand on Boston.

The Bruins will look to hold serve in a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden.

Saturday's game is the third of three matchups between the two teams this season. The Flyers won the first contest, 3-2, in a shootout back on November 29, while the Bruins skated to a 6-3 victory at TD Garden on January 14.

Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

Home Cooking

The Bruins (35-26-6, 76 points) have yet to lose consecutive games under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy. Coming off the heels of a lackluster performance in Ottawa, Cassidy and company made certain not to break that trend on Wednesday.

With the win over Detroit, the B's have now won six of their last seven games at TD Garden, pleasing the Boston faithful in the process.

"We've been playing well here for a little while now," said Torey Krug. "Our record is starting to separate wins and losses here at home, and if we can take another step forward [Saturday], it would be huge."

Unfortunately, the B's will be without forwards Ryan Spooner (concussion) and Tim Schaller (lower-body injury) on Saturday. Cassidy said it would be a game-time decision as to whether Peter Cehlarik or Matt Beleskey replaces Schaller in the lineup. Austin Czarnik will likely slot into Spooner's third-line center slot for the second straight game.

"We have Beleskey and Cehlarik and they're both left shots, so we certainly have options there. We'll make that decision tomorrow," said Cassidy. "Matt Beleskey's been working hard, he could help us. Cehlarik, I think it was beneficial for him to go upstairs. But, again, we'll make that decision tomorrow."

After Saturday afternoon's tilt, the team will head north of the border for a four-game road trip, which will conclude with what looks to be a massive game against Toronto on March 20.

"Anytime you leave for a road trip, you want to end on a good note at home so you can propel into the road trip," said Krug.

The Bruins will go on the road for their most important stretch of the season, and they know that every game from here on out is crucially important.

"We've got to take a rest when we can get it," said David Backes, who wants his team to be able to stay fresh in the midst of such an intense and compact final four weeks of the season. "But, when it's time to play for points and we've got a competition at hand, we need to take care of business."

Toronto's victory over Philadelphia Thursday served as a reminder to the B's that they will need to bring their best game every night rather than rely on help to get into the postseason.

"One game at a time," said Backes, who accumulated plenty of playoff-like experience during his stint in St. Louis. "We can't control what other teams are doing and games we're not playing in. But, we can beat our opponents and play great games every night."

The 11-year NHL veteran had praise for his team's ability to avoid falling into prolonged slumps, but wants his bunch to remain focused and goal-oriented.

"That's the sign of a maturing team that is bound together and knows what our next task is," said Backes. "Besides winning the game at hand, the longer-term goal is getting into the playoffs. We can worry about our next goal after that."

Opposing View: Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers (31-27-8, 70 points) are clinging onto their playoff lives after the loss Toronto on Thursday night, unable to gain separation in their tightly contested races.

Philly's loss on Thursday set them five points back of the Islanders for the second wild card slot in the Eastern Conference. They would need to jump the Maple Leafs and Lightning, in addition to the Islanders, to clinch a playoff berth.

A win over Boston is a must for the Flyers, who have just 16 games left to close the five-point gap.

Jakub Voracek's 54 points (17 goals and 37 assists) are good for the team lead, while Wayne Simmonds leads the team in goals with 28.

Flyers captain Claude Giroux has 47 points (13 goals and 34 assists) to date and remains a top weapon for the Flyers on their first line alongside Simmonds.

The future looks bright for the Flyers, especially on their back end. Ivan Provorov, the Flyers 7th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, has drawn praise for his play during his rookie season. Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin made note that he sees Provorov as a future All-Star after the two teams battled in February.

Provorov has five goals and 19 assists this season, logging a team-leading 21:41 of ice time per game. The rookie has posted a plus/minus rating of -9, while matching up against top weapons around the league.

Steve Mason is likely to get the nod in net on Saturday. Mason is 19-17-7 this season with a 2.76 goals against average and a save percentage of .906. Mason has been strong of late, going 3-0-1 in his last four games with a 1.45 GAA and a .945 save percentage.

Philadelphia ranks 21st in the NHL in goals for (2.52 goals per game) and is tied for 24th in the NHL in goals allowed (2.92 goals per game).

Friday's Practice Lineup

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Backes

Drew Stafford - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano - Austin Czarnik - Jimmy Hayes

Matt Beleskey - Dominic Moore - Riley Nash

Peter Cehlarik

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Colin Miller - Kevan Miller

Joe Morrow - John- Michael Liles

Goalies

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Wait, There's More

  • Brad Marchand moved into a tie for second place in the NHL with his 31st and 32nd goals of the season on Wednesday. Marchand trails only Sidney Crosby, who leads the league with 34 goals on the year.
  • With his two goals and an assist on Wednesday, David Krejci logged his first three-point game of the season. Krejci finished Wednesday's game with a plus/minus rating of +4 and three shots on net in 18:11 of ice time.
  • Saturday will mark the 192nd all-time meeting between the Bruins and the Flyers. The Bruins hold a 102-60-21-8 record against Philly.
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