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Bruins top Flyers 3-1 in home-and-home opener

by John Kreiser
Simplicity paid off with another victory for the Boston Bruins.

The best team in the Eastern Conference kept things simple Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers -- they combined outstanding defense, solid goaltending by Tim Thomas and a couple of timely goals for a 3-1 victory at the Wachovia Center. David Krejci's tip-in at 5:48 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and Dennis Wideman's shot hit Philadelphia's Jeff Carter and went into the net 35 seconds later as the Bruins improved to 38-8-6.

It's the kind of road game every team wants to play -- and Thomas hopes it extends to the rematch Saturday in Boston.

"Everyone in the NHL talks about playing a good road game," he said after stopping 25 of 26 shots. "I think we play a good road game. I think we play our best at home when we pretend to play it like a road game. I'm not talking about fan support -- I'm talking about making it simple, getting it deep, not making turnovers and working hard to get chances.

"I think we did a good job of that."

Thomas did a good job, too -- especially in the first period, when he stopped all 14 shots by the Flyers. His best save was a diving stop on Carter, who appeared to have a wide-open net after Thomas made a save but couldn't control the rebound during a power play.

"It bounced right to Carter," he said. "If you're going to give up a juicy rebound, you'd better find some way to save it."

The flu-ridden Flyers, who were without forwards Mike Richards and Scottie Upshall and defenseman Braydon Coburn due to illness, managed only a second-period goal by Scott Hartnell that tied the game at 1-1.

"Timmy was great in the net, and our D and forwards are doing a great job getting back and keeping teams to the outside," Wideman said. "That's something that we stress a lot. If a team is going to take a shot, make sure that they are taking it from the outside. I think we did a pretty good job at that and we limited their quality scoring chances."

The slumping Flyers have lost five of eight games to drop to sixth in the Eastern Conference after a brief stay atop the Atlantic Division.

"There's a reason they're the best team in the League," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "They have a very committed team, they don't take a lot of chances and they have gifted offensive players committed to the checking game."

After a scoreless first period, Michael Ryder gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead on a redirection of Wideman's slap shot at 3:07 of the second period. Hartnell beat Thomas 2:17 later to tie it, converting a perfect crossing pass from Joffrey Lupul. But Thomas stoned Hartnell on a breakaway later in the period to keep the game tied after 40 minutes.

It was just another team effort by the Beasts of the East.

"Every night it seems that somebody else comes up big and gives us a big lift," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We have a lot of different guys stepping up, and that's allowed us to be competitive and be consistent."

Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report

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