The Philadelphia Flyers
and Boston Bruins
are meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1978. Boston won that series, 4-1, and Philadelphia hasn't won a playoff game in Boston since 1976. But who can forget the 1974 Stanley Cup Final that saw the "Broad Street Bullies" defeat the "Big Bad Bruins" in six games to become the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup?
-- Boston won the season series against Philadelphia with a 2-1-1 record, including the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, a 2-1 overtime win. In their most recent game, a 5-1 Bruins win on March 11, Philadelphia goalie Brian Boucher
came in as relief for Michael Leighton
in the second period stopping 11 of 12 shots -- the 28:44 that Boucher played was the only time that he went head-to-head with Boston's Tuukka Rask
in the four games. Boston's Marco Sturm
(2-2-4), David Krejci
(1-3-4) and Patrice Bergeron
(1-3-4) led the way for the Bruins in the season series with 4 points each, while Kimmo Timonen
(2-1-3) was the leading scorer for the Flyers with seven other players registering two points.
No. 6 vs. No. 7
-- This is the first time since 2006 (Anaheim vs. Colorado) that a sixth and seventh seed have faced each other in the Conference Semifinals and the first time in the Eastern Conference since 1999 when sixth seeded Boston lost to Buffalo in six games. These two seeds have only met four times (1998, 1999, 2003 and 2006) since the current playoff format was adopted in 1994, three of the four were sweeps and each seed won twice.
Special teams neck-and-neck
-- The Bruins were No. 1 in penalty-killing in the first round, fending off all 19 Buffalo attempts while Philadelphia's penalty kill was fourth (4 of 39 -- 87.5 percent). With both teams averaging 17.2 penalty minutes per-game and both power-plays clicking at around the 27 percent mark, staying disciplined could be a key to second round success.
Losses and Gains
-- The Flyers lost some key players in their first round series against New Jersey -- top goal-scorer Jeff Carter
and skilled winger Simon Gagne
were felled by foot injuries and key penalty killer Ian Laperriere
suffered a head injury blocking a shot. In contrast, the Bruins likely will be buoyed by the return of play-making center Marc Savard
, who has been out since Mar. 7.
-- Rookie goalie Tuukka Rask
outdueled Vezina Trophy candidate Ryan Miller
in the first round, posting a 2.18 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in the 4-2 series win. Rask showed flashes of brilliance under pressure and no save was more important than the glove save made on Buffalo forward Thomas Vanek
's partial breakaway in the second period of Game 6. It kept the score at 2-1 for the Bruins, who held on for a 4-3 series-clinching victory.
-- Mark Recchi
, the Bruins' leading scorer so far (3-2-5), had two long stints in Philadelphia (1992 to 1995, 1999 to 2004) and was a part of each of the Flyers' last two runs to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004 and 2000. Recchi, at 42 years old, made key plays in key moments during round one, including a pivotal assist on Patrice Bergeron
's game-winning goal in Game 3 and scoring a power-play goal in Game 6 that gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the second period.
A better 'Boosh'
-- Ten years later, Brian Boucher
successfully exorcized the ghosts of goaltending past, defeating the New Jersey Devils
in round one. As a rookie in 2000, his team held a 3-1 series lead against New Jersey before losing the Conference Finals in seven. Boucher led all goalies in the 2010 first round with a 1.59 goals-against average and .940 save percentage -- he hasn't allowed an even-strength goal in 187:39, or nine-plus periods.
Filling the void
-- With the absence of Jeff Carter
and Simon Gagne
late in the series, 22-year-old sophomore Claude Giroux
stepped up to fill the void, scoring two goals in the series-clinching win and finishing the series with six points (4-2--6). His four goals rank first among all players in this series.
The upset specialist
-- The Flyers' Chris Pronger
averaged 29:03 per game for the Flyers while providing key offense (2-3--5) to add another upset to his playoff repertoire. Pronger was on the Edmonton Oilers
(No. 8) when they knocked off the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings
en route to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006 and on the Anaheim Ducks
(No. 8) when they defeated the San Jose Sharks
(No. 1) in 2009.