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Red-hot Bruins welcome in East-leading Flyers

by Adam Kimelman /
FLYERS (27-10-5) at BRUINS (23-12-7)


Last 10 --
Philadelphia 7-3-0; Boston 6-1-3

Season series --
This is the third of four meetings this season, with the teams splitting the first two. On Dec. 1, Tim Thomas stopped all 41 shots he faced in a 3-0 Bruins win in Philadelphia. On Dec. 11, Mike Richards scored with three seconds left in overtime to give the Flyers a 2-1 win in Boston.

Big Story --
The Flyers remain undefeated in 2011 and on top of the Eastern Conference, while the Bruins are looking for their third straight victory and a chance to pad their Northeast Division lead.

Team Scope:

Flyers --
With 21 goals in his first 38 games this season, a case could have been made for Danny Briere to make the All-Star team. But when rosters were released Tuesday morning, his name was missing.

Briere never said he was angry about being left off the team, but he certainly had some extra motivation Tuesday night when he had a goal and 3 assists against the Buffalo Sabres. He's now sixth in the League with 22 goals, and his 37 points are second on the team.

"I don't think it (being left off the All-Star team) had anything to do with that," Briere told reporters. "It was just one of those nights where I was getting the bounces and a good effort from my linemates as well. Scotty (Hartnell) and Ville (Leino) both played a strong game."

Bruins -- After rallying for four third-period goals Monday against the Penguins, the Bruins carried that momentum into Tuesday's 6-0 rout of the Senators.

Patrice Bergeron had his first NHL hat trick for half the scoring, but with Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler and David Krejci adding goals, it meant three of the four lines contributed to the offense. Only the top line of Marc Savard, Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder was held off the score sheet, but they skated hard and created chances.

"Four lines going," Savard said. "Kind of like that Atlanta game we had before Christmas. We had every guy doing what they do best, outplaying the guy in front of them, and ended up with a big win."

Who's Hot -- Briere has a four-game scoring streak, during which he's racked up 4 goals and 4 assists. … Thomas, who stopped all 31 Senators shots Tuesday, hasn't lost in regulation in his last seven starts, going 4-0-3.

Injury Report --
Flyers forward Nikolay Zherdev missed Tuesday's game with a strained groin and is questionable for Thursday. Defensemen Chris Pronger (foot) and Matt Walker (hip) have started skating on their own, but aren't close to returning. … Bruins forward Milan Lucic missed Tuesday game for an undisclosed reason. Defenseman Mark Stuart continues his recovery from a broken right ring finger.

Stat Pack --
Thomas' shutout Tuesday was his sixth of the season, surpassing his previous career high of five.

Puck Drop --
Brian Boucher's outstanding recent play had relegated rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to backup, and he showed a bit of rust early in Tuesday's game against the Sabres, giving a up a pair of first-period goals. However, he quickly recovered his form and shut down Buffalo the rest of the night in what ended as a 5-2 Flyers victory. It was Bobrovsky's first start of 2011, and his first win since Dec. 15.

"It wasn't difficult," Bobrovsky said of playing after watching for so long. "I was just waiting for my opportunity to play and getting ready, so when I do get a chance to play, I can perform well."

"He was sharp and you know we weren't very good in front of him," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "Defensively we left some guys open and the puck was bouncing a little bit."

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