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Flyers-Bruins a battle of offense vs. defense

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com
FLYERS (18-7-5) at BRUINS (16-8-3)

TV -- CSN-PH (HD), NESN (HD)

Last 10 --
Philadelphia 6-1-3; Boston 5-3-2

Season series -- This is the second of four meetings between the teams this season. On Dec. 1, Tim Thomas made 41 saves for his League-best fifth shutout of the season in a 3-0 Bruins win in Philadelphia.

Big Story -- This one is offense vs. defense. The Flyers have scored the League's most goals (102); the Bruins have allowed the fewest (51).

Team Scope:

Flyers --
Philadelphia enters one of its toughest stretches of the season starting Saturday, playing in Boston, followed by a home game against Pittsburgh on Tuesday and then a trip to Northeast Division-leading Montreal on Wednesday. They wrap the stretch with a home game against the Rangers next Saturday.

They'll enter that grueling period with a bit of confidence, however, after rebounding from a tough loss to the Sharks on Wednesday with a 4-1 win at Toronto on Thursday. Unlike Wednesday's loss to the Sharks, the Flyers didn't give away a three-goal lead.

"It was a chance for a little bit of redemption," Danny Briere told CSNPhilly.com. "We wanted to shut the game down and not give them too much, and I thought we did a much better job tonight. Still little plays here and there that we have to improve on, but it was definitely a step in the right direction."

Bruins -- If anyone forgot how good a player Milan Lucic can be, he's certainly reminding them now. Lucic had a pair of goals in Boston's 5-2 win Thursday against the Islanders, and has 5 goals in his last four games. His 15 goals in 27 games are two short of tying his career high from 2008-09, when it took him 72 games to score 17 goals. And with 25 points, he's already more than halfway to his previous best of 42 points, in that same 2008-09 season.

Last season was a lost one for Lucic, who was limited to just 50 games due to injuries.

"I am taking advantage of my opportunities right now, and it's also nice to have a little luck," Lucic told reporters Thursday night. "It's a credit to my linemates. They are finding me when I am open."

Who's Hot -- Flyers forward Danny Briere has 4 goals and 5 points in his last four games. … Bruins forward David Krejci has 2 goals, 7 assists and a plus-8 rating in his last seven games.

Injury Report -- Flyers goalie Michael Leighton (back) is continuing his conditioning stint with the club's AHL affiliate. … Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken finger.

Stat Pack -- The Bruins' Brad Marchand scored his third shorthanded goal of the season Thursday against the Islanders, tying him with the Flyers' Claude Giroux for the League lead.

Puck Drop --
The last time the Flyers played in Boston was Game 7 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Bruins took a 3-0 first-period lead, but James van Riemsdyk scored late in the period, Scott Hartnell and Briere added goals in the second and Simon Gagne scored the winner with 7:08 left in the third.

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