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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Flyers

Teams are separated by just one point in the Eastern Conference

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - The Bruins return home after a lengthy four-game road trip Saturday for a matinee matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers.

This will mark the second of three contests between the teams this season. Philadelphia took the first meeting with a 3-2 shootout victory at Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 29. Flyers goalie Steve Mason made 45 saves in the victory.

Puck drop is set for 1:00 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

Postseason Positioning

There is, of course, nearly half a season remaining, but the Bruins and Flyers are in a fight for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff positions. Boston has 49 points, good for second in the Atlantic Division, but has just a three-point lead over fourth-place Florida for the third and final postseason spot in the division.

Should the Bruins fall out of a top-three spot, they would be battling the Flyers for the second wild-card position. Philadelphia has 50 points, seven points behind the Rangers, who have a hold of the first wild card.

"I don't think we need to focus too much on the standings, per se," said Bruins forward Dominic Moore. "I think we need to focus on our game and improving from game to game and the standings should take care of themselves."

While the Bruins scored just one goal in a 2-1 loss to Nashville on Thursday, Boston had notched 12 goals in three previous games on the trip. The Black & Gold are hoping the offensive uptick is a sign of things to come.

"I think we played with a lot of emotion last night," said coach Claude Julien. "I thought we played hard. Probably the only thing I can see from [Thursday] night is where we had some chances we have to bear down on hitting the net and that's going to give us some more scoring.

"But we've been scoring goals as of late and [Thursday] night we were a little bit off maybe and we've got to recapture that part of our game that was heading in the right direction."

Video: Rask practices after leaving game in Nashville

Opposing View

The Flyers, 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, are fresh off a 5-4 win over Vancouver on Thursday night, with Claude Giroux potting the lone goal in the shootout. Goalie Michael Neuvirth relieved Steve Mason, who allowed four through two periods.

Jakub Voracek paces the Flyers with 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) this season, which ranks him 12th in the NHL. Claude Giroux is second with 36 points (10 goals, 26 assists). Wayne Simmonds, who was chosen as the Flyers' All-Star representative earlier this week, leads the team with 17 goals.

Brayden Schenn is first in the NHL with 10 power-play goals, while Giroux leads the league with 19 power-play points. The Flyers' power play is fifth in the league, clicking at 22.7%.

"They had a stretch there where they were pretty unbeatable," said Moore. "They're dangerous, they have a dangerous power play. We know what they bring. We need to continue to focus on our game though and play to our strengths."

Forward Travis Konecny is eighth among rookies with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).

Wait, There's More

  • Tuukka Rask practiced on Friday after leaving Thursday night's game in Nashville after taking a shot up high. He said he was feeling good and should play on Saturday afternoon. Read more.
  • Matt Beleskey skated with his teammates Friday for the first time since suffering a right knee injury Dec. 3 in Buffalo. Julien said, however, the forward is not yet cleared for contact.
  • Colin Miller, who left Tuesday night's game in St. Louis with a lower-body injury, will not play on Saturday, according to Julien.
  • The Bruins have scored power-play goals in four of their last six games, securing tallies on 5 of 19 opportunities for a 26.3% success rate. For the season, Columbus leads the league at 25.8%, while the Bruins have inched up to 23rd at 15.9%.
  • Torey Krug has the Bruins' last two power-play goals, one each against St. Louis and Nashville. The blueliner now has scored in back-to-back games after not having scored since Nov. 10.

Video: Julien provides updates on Rask, Beleskey

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