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Flyers look to slow down Bruins' charge in East

by Mike G. Morreale

BRUINS (21-7-4) at FLYERS (13-17-3)


Last 10: Boston 5-4-1; Philadelphia 2-6-2

Season series: This is the second of three matchups. The Bruins won the opener on March 9 in Beantown as Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots and Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille scored first-period goals to ignite a 3-0 victory. The teams will meet one final time on April 23 in Philadelphia.

Big story: The Bruins are neck-and-neck with the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division, so wins and points are vital at this stage. After scoring just eight goals in five games, the Bruins erupted for five in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Habs on Wednesday at TD Garden. Injuries and a lack of confidence, meanwhile, may have doomed whatever chances the Flyers had with just 15 games remaining. Philadelphia is on the verge of not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, when it finished last in the Eastern Conference.

Team Scope:

Bruins: The Bruins' line of Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron combined for nine points, but the team still suffered the shootout setback to the rival Canadiens on Wednesday. Bergeron finished with one goal and three assists and Marchand's goal was his second in his past 12 games. After spotting the Canadiens a 2-0 lead, the Bruins roared back to open a 4-2 advantage on second-period goals by Dougie Hamilton, Marchand, Bergeron and Nathan Horton. Seguin's goal 11:50 into the third had given the Bruins a 5-3 edge. Rask made 23 saves, and stopped five straight in the shootout before Montreal rookie Brendan Gallagher connected for the winner in the sixth round.

Flyers: Despite grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Scott Hartnell and Mike Knuble, the Flyers would ultimately drop a 4-3 shootout decision to the New York Islanders on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center. The loss was the fourth straight for the Flyers, who are 3-6-2 in the month of March and have plummeted in the Eastern Conference standings.

"I know nobody is comfortable right now where we're at," coach Peter Laviolette told the media after Thursday's loss. "It makes for tough days and tough nights. This team and organization is accustomed to being in a different place that we're not in right now. I don't know if it necessarily surprises me because I'll leave here tonight, guys will leave here tonight, without a win. That won't surprise me. It's certainly not where we want to be."

Who's hot: Marchand has two goals, eight points and a plus-7 rating in the past nine games for the Bruins. … Flyers captain Claude Giroux has two goals and six points in the past four games.

Injury report: Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (shoulder) could be out closer to six weeks than to the original prognosis of 3-4 weeks. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk (foot) is day-to-day. … Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn sustained an upper-body injury against the Islanders and is doubtful. Additionally, defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (upper body) is questionable. Philadelphia has placed forward Danny Briere (concussion) and defenseman Andrej Meszaros (shoulder) on injured reserve.

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