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Pregame Notebook vs. Philadelphia

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins travel to Philadelphia tonight coming off a 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon in TD Garden.

The game closed out a three-game homestand for the B’s, who after tonight’s game, will return home for another three consecutive match-ups.

Boston enters tonight’s game with a 23-10-5 road record, collecting 51 points away from TD Garden.

The Flyers come into tonight with a 21-10-6 home record for 48 points.

With yesterday afternoon’s loss and Washington’s 2-0 win over Montreal, the Bruins sit third in the Eastern Conference six points behind the Capitals for second and eight points behind Philadelphia for first.

Both Philadelphia and Washington have clinched playoff spots.

The Capitals’ victory also give Boston a five point lead over Montreal for first place in the Northeast Division, which gives them third place in the Conference.

Boston enters tonight’s game with a 34-16-7 record against the Eastern Conference and a 10-4-2 mark against the Atlantic Division.

Philadelphia enters Sunday night ][ith a 36-14-6 record against the Eastern Conference and an 11-6-0 record versus the Northeast Division.

Last night vs. NY Rangers

Coming off an emotional 7-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, the B’s had a slow start to Saturday’s low scoring affair.
New York Rangers' Marc Staal (18) tries to break up the play as Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) skated in on a breakaway during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 26, 2011, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
“This is the time our year where you got to make sure that you’re able to push those games aside. There’s a lot of emotional games coming up in the future here, in the near future, and we’ve got to be able to respond night after night,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said.
Boston was outshot 9-8 in the first period where the Rangers scored their only goal of the game, taking the early 1-0 lead.
Derek Stepan netted his 20th of the season at 6:39 in the opening frame.
Earlier in the game, B’s energy line center, Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with the Rangers’ Sean Avery, attempting to spark the Bruins.
The bout didn’t do much however, as Boston had limited offensive opportunities throughout the first fifty minutes of play.
Many Bruins players credited the Rangers’ shot-blocking skills with stifling the Boston offense.
“We have to appreciate that, guys throw their bodies around like that,” B's goaltender Tuukka Rask said. “It’s tough to get those shots through when guys are willing to block shots and I think that’s where every team wants to be.”
B’s defenseman Dennis Seidenberg agreed, saying, “I know for a fact that those guys, I mean you watch the last few minutes they blocked every shot.
“We didn’t seem to get pucks through. Maybe we could’ve done a better job. It definitely helps the goalie when guys are going hard at the shooter and trying to block those shots.
“That was good defense.”

Pronger out for Flyers
Philadelphia’s top defenseman Chris Pronger remains sidelined for the team after undergoing hand surgery.

Known as a physical defenseman, Pronger has been out of the Flyers’ line-up since March 10 after the team’s medical staff discovered he had a small fracture in his hand.

Expected to miss three to four weeks recovering from the surgery, the Flyers expect Pronger to return for the final two match-ups of the regular season and the entire postseason.

Pronger also missed time earlier this season, including the last two times these teams met, with a broken foot.

Since Pronger was pulled from the line-up prior to Philadelphia’s March 10 game against Toronto, to Flyers are 3-0-4.

B’s honored Bob Wilson on Saturday
Prior to Saturday's Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers game at TD Garden, the Black & Gold paid to their legendary radio personality Bob Wilson.

The Bruins dedicated their home radio broadcast booth to Wilson, renaming it the "Bob Wilson Radio Booth."

The Bruins also installed a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Garden’s level 9 façade beneath the home radio broadcast booth.

"Oh, it means a great deal," said Wilson after the ceremony in the press box. "I don’t know how to put it.

"It validates a career, if you will. I’m just honored beyond words with this move by Bruins’ management.

"It’s just wonderful," he said.

Generations of Bruins fans enjoyed Wilson's radio calls, but Wilson never imagined he'd have the longevity he enjoyed with Boston.

"No, I never did," he said. "And it was mostly year-to-year all the way through.

"The Bruins have been very good to me and the variety of radio stations that I’ve been on is amazing, but it worked and I’m really happy with it."

Asked for a specific highlight from his run as the play-by-play voice of the B's, Wilson said, "Well the Stanley Cup in 1972 was certainly a highlight of my career and it’s the last Stanley Cup goal that the Bruins scored.

"It was interesting, Phil Esposito told me after the game that Bobby [Orr] came up to him on that final face-off with about 20 seconds, 30 seconds left in the game and he said ‘Get the puck to me an I’ll kill it off.’ That was Bobby talking to Phil. ‘Get it to me and I’ll take care of the rest.’

"It was an exciting time and the welcome at Logan [Airport] in the middle of the night, that was fun," he said.

Player Profile: Tim Thomas
Just months removed from off-season surgery, Boston’s No. 1 goaltender Tim Thomas has returned to his Vezina form and is again contending for the coveted trophy.

Entering tonight’s game Thomas leads the league in goals against average (2.02) and save percentage (.938).

The 36-year-old netminder also has a career-high eight shutouts this season, and with his 7-0 blanking of Montreal on Tuesday night recorded the 25th shutout of his career.

Thomas was selected to attend this year’s NHL All-Star Festivities and recorded his third consecutive All-Star game victory.

The 5-foot-11, 201-pound native of Flint Michigan has a career .921 save percentage and 2.51 goals against average in 313 NHL games.

Earlier this season, the University of Vermont graduate was named one of the Top-50 players all-time in the ECAC.

Thomas played four seasons in the ECAC, from 1993-1997, at the University of Vermont, now a member of the Hockey East conference. 

While backstopping the Catamounts, Thomas accumulated an 81-43-15 record with a 2.70 goals against average and nine shutouts through 140 career games. 

In 1996 Thomas led the Green & Gold to the NCAA Frozen Four with a 26-7-4 record and a 2.34 GAA. That season, he also received ECAC Goaltender of the Years Honors.

Thomas moved on to play in Europe before joining the Bruins and making his NHL debut with Boston during the 2002-03 season in which he played four games.

But with Boston he has translated his post-season success with UVM to the NHL.

In 18 career playoff games, Thomas has is 10-8 with one shutout and 2.16 goals against average to go along with his .926 postseason save percentage.
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