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Lower seeds face off as Bruins host Flyers in Game 1

by John McGourty /

Season Series --
The Flyers won the first two meetings this season and the Bruins won the last two: Claude Giroux's shootout goal helped the Flyers to a 4-3 victory in Philadelphia on Oct. 22. … Tuukka Rask made 36 saves for the Bruins. Kimmo Timonen had two goals and an assist in the Flyers' 3-1 victory in Boston on Dec. 14. … Mark Recchi scored the tying goal with 2:18 left in regulation and Marco Sturm scored at 1:57 of overtime to lead the Bruins over the Flyers, 2-1, on Jan. 1 in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park. … The Bruins chased Michael Leighton out of the net in a 5-1 victory on March 11 in Philadelphia. Brian Boucher stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief. So, the Bruins haven't beaten the Flyers at TD Garden this season.

Big Story -- Amazingly, the Bruins and Flyers have played only one playoff series, in 1978, since the Flyers upset the Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup Final. This is a matchup of the two teams that contested the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, a 2-1 overtime affair in the outdoor atmosphere of Fenway Park that left a lifetime impression on all those fortunate to be there. The Bruins and Flyers are the only playoff teams that haven't lost at home, the Bruins winning three home playoff games and the Flyers two. Watch the injuries: The Flyers are calling up minor-league forwards while the Bruins are sitting forwards who were regulars during the regular season. The Bruins have depth in goal, the Flyers none. Both teams strengthened their defense this season.

Team Scope:

Flyers --
The Flyers were fourth-best at penalty killing in the first round, killing 28-of-32 shorthanded situations, or 87.5 percent. They were third-best on the power play, scoring on 8 of 29 opportunities, or 27.6 percent. The Flyers were the last NHL team to qualify for the playoffs, when they won a shootout on the final day against the Rangers, and the first to advance to the second round of the playoffs when they eliminated the Devils in five games. Boucher achieved a long-held goal of outplaying Martin Brodeur in the Devils' series.

Bruins -- The Bruins are getting their best forward back. Marc Savard hasn't played since he suffered a concussion on a blind-side hit from Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke on March 7. Savard led the Bruins in scoring the previous three seasons. The Bruins beat the Sabres with excellent special-teams play. They went 19-for-19 on the penalty kill and 6-for-22, or 27.3 percent, on the power play. You may never see this stat again: The Bruins were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL with 196 goals during the regular season but wound up plus-5 because they gave up the second-fewest, 191. The Bruins have three Stanley Cup winners on their roster, Recchi, Miroslav Satan and Shawn Thornton.

Who's Hot -- Both goalies. Boucher leads all playoff goalies with an .800 winning percentage (4-1), a 1.97 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. Rask (4-2) is fourth with a 2.18 GAA and .927 save percentage. … Former Flyers right wing Recchi tied for the Bruins' first-round scoring lead with three goals and two assists. David Krejci had three goals and two assists and Satan had two goals, both game-winners, and three assists. ... Flyers captain Mike Richards leads the team with eight points, on two goals and six assists. Giroux leads with four goals and has two assists. Chris Pronger is tied for eighth among NHL defensemen with five playoff points.

Injury Report --
Savard is expected to return from injured reserve for Game 1. He has not played since suffering a March 7 concussion. Defensemen Mark Stuart and Dennis Seidenberg are recuperating from injuries that will likely keep both out of this series.

Flyers leading goal scorer Jeff Carter suffered a broken foot against the Devils and is lost for the season. Left wing Simon Gagne had foot surgery last week and will miss three weeks. Ian Laperriere suffered a brain bruise and concussion stopping a shot with his forehead last week and is done for the season. Arron Asham's facial laceration should be healed enough for him to play Saturday. Goalie Ray Emery is out for the season after hip surgery. Leighton is doubtful after suffering an ankle sprain in mid-March.

Stat Pack --
Satan has had great success against the Flyers in the playoffs. In 21 games, he has eight goals and 19 points. Captain Zdeno Chara has one goal in 11 games and Steve Begin had no points in five games. … Asham has one assist in two playoff games against the Bruins, the only Flyers player with playoff experience against Boston. During the regular season, Philadelphia was slightly better than Boston at 5-on-5 play, much better on the power play and a little worse at killing penalties.

Puck Drop --
This is only the fourth time that a sixth seed has hosted a seventh-seeded team. The last was Anaheim hosting Colorado in 2006. Boston hosted Buffalo in 1999 and lost in six games as the Sabres went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. There were sweeps in three of the four series and each seed has won twice.

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