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Bruins can finish off sweep of Flyers in Game 4

by Mike G. Morreale /

(Boston leads best-of-seven series, 3-0)

Big Story --
It comes down to this for the Philadelphia Flyers: win or set up tee times. The Bruins have a stranglehold on this conference semifinal matchup after scoring a 4-1 verdict on Wednesday at Wachovia Center. The Flyers have only held a lead in this series for 1:39 and that has worked like a charm for the Bruins, who play defense as well as anyone in the League behind towering captain Zdeno Chara and rookie goalie Tuukka Rask (7-2, 2.14 goals-against average, .916 save percentage).

Team Scope:

Bruins -- The Bruins lost Marco Sturm (right ACL and MCL) early in the opening minute of Game 1 and then David Krejci (dislocated wrist) in the first period of Game 3. Both are gone for the remainder of the season. They also lost rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid midway through the first of Game 3 with an undisclosed injury, but the team will likely have Mark Stuart back on the blue line for Game 4. It's probably a good thing Boston has built a 3-0 lead in this series. Then again, it certainly appears that no matter who's in the lineup, a one-goal lead is all it takes. Boston has won its last four playoff games and is riding an emotional high right now behind Rask.

Flyers -- Left wing Simon Gagne skated with the team on Thursday for the first time since April 22, when he left Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils with a broken toe on his right foot. Gagne, who has two assists and a plus-1 rating in four playoff games this spring, looked sharp and will most likely be a game-time decision. In the absence of the injured Gagne and Jeff Carter -- who combined for 50 goals in the regular season -- coach Peter Laviolette has had to rely on Scott Hartnell, Daniel Carcillo, James van Riemsdyk, Ville Leino, Darroll Powe and Arron Asham for secondary scoring, and it just hasn't happened. The six skaters have combined for one goal and a minus-8 rating in three games against the Bruins.

Who's Hot -- Boston center Patrice Bergeron scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on Wednesday and has 2 goals and 5 points during a four-game points-streak. Meanwhile, teammate Miroslav Satan has a goal in four straight games and at least one point in six straight (5 goals, 4 assists).

Injury Report -- The Bruins are without forwards Sturm and Krejci and defensemen McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg. … For the Flyers, Gagne is probable but Carter, Ian Laperriere (brain contusion) and goalies Michael Leighton (high ankle sprain) and Ray Emery (bone graft surgery) are out.

Stat Pack -- The Bruins were outshot in Game 3 against the Flyers for only the second time in their last 24 games and first time in six.

Puck Drop -- Only two teams in history have ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders. The other 158 teams have skated off losers. If the Flyers are swept, it would mark the first time since the 1997 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings that they were ousted from the playoffs in four straight.

"For whatever reason, we haven't gotten the results and you don't want to pin it all on bad breaks, but last night we didn't get the breaks," Flyers goalie Brian Boucher said. "But that's the way it goes sometimes. You have to make your own opportunities and I think it's a matter of sticking with the game plan here and taking the same approach as we did (Wednesday night) and get one win -- get one and go from there."

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