Bruins-Flyers Semi-finals Preview

The Boston Bruins, thanks to the Montreal Canadiens, are playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the semi-finals.  The Flyers are known for their physical and sometimes dirty play, and are a much better matchup for the B’s than the Pittsburgh Penguins would have been.  The B’s play a lot better against physical tough teams than they do skill teams like Montreal or Washington or even Pittsburgh.

How They Got Here

The 7th seeded Flyers upset the 2nd seeded New Jersey Devils 4 games to 1 in a quick 5 game series. The Devils, who loaded up with Ilya Kovalchuk at the deadline, were unable to put it all together, and struggled offensively, scoring 1 goal or less in 3 of the games, and only scoring 3 or more once. Martin Brodeur also was not himself, and was shelled by the Flyers offense.  Goaltender Brian Boucher looked like a prime Brodeur in net for the Flyers, leading his team to a upset.

The 6th seeded Bruins beat the 3rd seeded Buffalo Sabres 4 games to 2 in a close series.  This was the matchup B’s fans had been hoping for at the end of the season.  The Bruins pulled off two third period comebacks, when the Sabres had gone an ungodly 30-0-0 when leading after two this season.  Former Sabre Mirsoslav Satan was a double OT hero in game 4, giving the B’s a commanding series 3-1 series lead.  The Bruins offense was able to solve Ryan Miller, although he did have some spectacular saves during the series.  B’s rookie goalie phenom Tuukka Rask was better than the likely Vezina winner, posting a 2.18 GAA (somehow worse than his regular GAA) and a .927% save percentage.  Even more amazing, the B’s did this without two of their top 4 defenseman in Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Stuart and their top pivot, Marc Savard.

Offense

The Flyers offense is very explosive, with big time scorers all throughout the lineup.  Youngster Claude Giroux has been a beast this playoffs so far, and Daniel Carcillo is always a pest to deal with.  The regulars are still in the lineup like Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, and Danny Briere.  Unfortunately, two of the Flyers top forward are likely out for the entire series.  Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne underwent surgery.  Carter is out indefinitely, and Gagne could return in three weeks, but the series will be done by then.  Pest Ian Laperriere is also out with a head injuries.  If the Flyers want to beat Tuukka Rask, they will need guys like James van Riemsdyk, Aaron Asham (who is a Bruin killer it seems), and Scott Hartnell to step their game up.  The Flyers defense will also need to score some timely goals.

The Bruins offense had been awful all season, but put it together to beat one of the league’s best goalies in Ryan Miller.  While the Flyers are injured, the B’s are getting healthy.  Marc Savard, out with a concussion, will return for the series, giving the B’s offense a huge boost.  Guys like Vladimir Sobotka, Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi have all stepped up their play for the post-season, but the B’s will need more production from guys like Marco Sturm and Blake Wheeler.  Both guys went without goals in the first round.  The Bruins offense has struggled at times to score more than 2 goals a game.  Like the Flyers, the B’s will need their defense to score some timely goals.

Edge: While the Flyers do have more firepower, due to the injuries of Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne and the return of Marc Savard, it seems the B’s will be able to roll out a deeper team that can score.  Boston gets the edge.

Defense

The Flyers boast a strong blueline, led by future HOFer Chris Pronger and veteran Kimmo Timonen.  Youngsters Matt Carle, Ryan Parent and Braydon Coburn will also patrol the back end along with Lukas Krajicek.  While young, the Flyers defense is full of strong guys who can move the puck.  Will inexperience hurt them? It didn’t in the New Jersey series, but if they rely in Brian Boucher to be as good as he was in the first round, they could be in trouble. Chris Pronger will likely play around 30 minutes a night, so he needs to stay out of trouble for the Flyers to succeed.

The Bruins have one of the best defensive hockey systems in the entire league, allowing the 2nd fewest goals in the league behind New Jersey, who Philly beat in the first round coincidentally.   The Bruins blueline is led by towering Zdeno Chara.  Like the Flyers offense, the B’s defense is injured.  Mark Stuart and Dennis Seidenberg will both likely miss the entire series.  There is an outside chance Mark Stuart could return, but that would probably take a miracle.  Youngsters Adam McQuaid, Matt Hunwick and Johnny Boychuk have stepped up in their absence, and they will need to continue their strong play.  The B’s D needs to be able to avoid turnovers (you Dennis Wideman), and make a good pass out of their own zone to set the offense flowing.  If the Flyers forecheck causes a backup in the B’s end, there could be trouble.

Edge: While the Flyers arguably have more talent on their D, the Bruins overall system is much better and it is hard to argue going against a team who has finished 1 and 2 in the past two years in goals allowed.  Edge Bruins.

Goaltending

A lot of series depend on goaltending, and a goalie can steal you a series as everyone knows.  The Flyers will roll old vet Brian Boucher in net.  While he played fantastic in the New Jersey series, he was not very good during the regular season.  If for some reason Boucher does not play well, their backup isn’t going to get the job done.  Boucher will need to be near perfect throughout the series.

Tuukka Rask has been spectacular all season and during the playoffs, and if he keeps up his play, the B’s should be set in net.  He will need to continue his third period dominance, and try and eliminate letting up some soft, 1st period goals.  If Rask goes Carey Price on the B’s, reigning Vezina winner Tim Thomas is waiting on the bench, and even he is a better goalie than Boucher.

Edge: Rask and Thomas are both better goalies than Boucher, and even though Boucher had a good series against the Devils, after beating Miller, I have hard time believing the B’s will fight to score against Boucher.  The Flyers will need solid goaltending to win this series, but I’m not confident Boucher can deliver that.  Edge Boston.

X Factor

Aside from goaltending, the Flyers X factor will be Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk.  These two guys will need to find a way to score if the Flyers want to win this series. They cannot rely only on Claude Giroux and Mike Richards to support all of the offense.

The Bruins X factor is Marco Sturm and Blake Wheeler.  Will these guys be able to find the net with the return of Marc Savard?  The B’s need all of the scoring they can get, and will need production from their top two scoring wingers.  Mark Recchi can’t do it all at 42.

Prediction:

This series will be physical and warlike.  The Flyers are not a team to take lightly, and the B’s should know they are not good enough to take anyone lightly.  They need to play every game hard and not get too confident and slack off.  With the return of Marc Savard, I see the B’s team coming out strong.   Injuries and shaky goaltending will catch up with the Flyers, and the Bruins will win in 6.

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62 Responses to Bruins-Flyers Semi-finals Preview

  1. pearson says:

    you gave the bruins the edge in all the categories. sooo you mean bruins in 4?

    i think id give the offensive edge to the flyers. savard hasnt played in quite awhile, the physicallity of a playoff game might intimidate him, and i believe that it will throw the chemistry off on his line.

    ultimately, i think krecji and bergy need to play like savard is NOT back.

    anyone know what the lines are going to be?

    • Mook says:

      wrong. offensive edge is for the bruins. we have been not scoring goals all year, so we know what it takes to win. flyers have just recently lost carter and gagne…they won’t be able to adjust.

      • da wreck says:

        They adjusted enough to beat up Marty Brodeur and the Devils in games 4 and 5 for 7 goals. Not that I’m saying they’re not in trouble because losing Gagne and Carter is huge, but I think they’ve got enough secondary scoring guys like Richards and Briere to make it interesting. Should be fairly evenly matched all over except for:

        Tuukka.

        The kid’s the real deal.

      • pearson says:

        yea. i would really just call the offense topic a wash. bergeron and krejci are the wild cards. if they play like they played when savard wasnt there boucher might be riding the pine pony by game 2

        and yes. tuuuuuuk trumps the whole round. b’s in 5. savard with a goal and 4 assists for the series.

  2. ELWOPPO says:

    Now Halak is a siv? I dont get this guy???

  3. backbruin says:

    That was way to long winded and inaccurate…i just wasted 7 minutes that’ I’ll never get back!!!can you please get to the point and not be so long winded!!!

  4. Andy says:

    Look, you cannot take Philly (or any team in the 2nd round for granted). Having said that, I find it funny that people were saying Philly would miss the playoffs because of Boucher (who I played w/ at MSC in RI – playing with him & Bryan Berard is pretty much my only claim to fame), but now they act as if the goaltending is EVEN for Rd 2?

    Of course, we’re all biased, but I just think that the B’s have been in playoff mode for 5 weeks now. There are firing on MANY cylinders (not all – see Wideman, Sturm, Wheeler) and Philly is missing Carter, Gagne, & Laperriere (who I think they will miss most). They still have Richards, Briere, Pronger, etc. I think it will be a LONG, physical series. No predictions, but I like the matchup and if the B’s can somehow take the 1st 2 at home, things will be looking good!

    • Bruins says:

      To be fair to Wideman he’s actually played very well since being booed at home minus that one horrible giveaway in the playoffs.

      Wheeler and Sturm have been pretty bad though. No finish.

  5. bbears24 says:

    i really have to question some of these “hockey experts” like matthew barnaby, hes taking philly in 7, just because they had a more convincing series win against the devils…basically he’s taking philly because they won in 5 as opposed to the bruins 6 games.

    • Bruins says:

      I find that the Bruins seemed to never be picked by the “experts”. Even last year.

    • Andy says:

      Barnaby was opened rooting for BUF and actually stated a few times on ESPN that he was growing his “playoff beard” for BUF’s playoff run.

      The one that gets me is Scott Burnside at ESPN, who said “we didn’t pick the B’s before and there’s no reason to start now…” THAT’S your reasoning?!

      Who gives a shit what experts say? Game’s played on the ice, boys!

  6. Bruins says:

    Good review. I like the B’s in 6 as well. With Chara assigned to Richards along with Bergeron shadowing him with Savard back the Flyers offense will probably rely on Briere and Giroux to get things done. What line will the Flyers match Pronger up with? Our offensive depth looks pretty good right now.

    • da wreck says:

      Chris Pronger scares the hell outta me. He’s won before and he knows what it takes to win. He’s also one of the meanest bastards in the league. He’ll step on your neck if that’s what it takes to win.

      • Birdman2403 says:

        Slow and takes dumb penalties ! He will be hooking Krejci and company all series !

      • #4 says:

        The boys just need to keep there head up out there and pronger is a non issue.

        Remember how bad bergy tooled him last game between phi and bos??

  7. backbruin says:

    Let’s go boys….

  8. Pearson says:

    Lets gooo

  9. Gcole says:

    2-0 after 1. Not a bad start

  10. ELWOPPO says:

    I know sturmy is out! But any word on Sobotka? I hope he’s not out aswell!!!

  11. Gcole says:

    No more dumb penalties god dammit!!!

  12. ELWOPPO says:

    one more penalty Mcquad gets, Bench his ass!!!
    WTF?

  13. Gcole says:

    How many more penalties are they gonna fucking take??? flyers pp is doing good so STOP!!!

  14. WARDOFTHERINGS says:

    FUCK WIDEMAN

    • pearson says:

      i bet the fattest girl in the girl scout troup coulda done a better job taking out briere on that goal

  15. pearson says:

    wowww

  16. Gcole says:

    Way to curl up and die bruins what the fuck! Don’t lose this god dam game

  17. ELWOPPO says:

    We dont deserve to win, Plain and simple! U blow 3 two goal leads??? Give credit where its due!!! Those orange fuckers want it more!!!!

  18. mcpuck says:

    kind of crappy game all around… and the brier goal was garbage… the puck kept bouncing off his stick into his skates and it kept ending right back on his damn stick.

    Bruins need to show some more heart outside of Bergy, Recchi and Krejci.

  19. Birdman2403 says:

    Well, Well Wideman is back ! The WORST POSSIBLE PAIRING OF WIDEMAN and HUNWICK !! What the fuck is with the coaching staff….

    Man, Stuart and Seidenberg back and those 2 fucks scratched would be awesome !!

  20. pearson says:

    wow. the replay just ruined daniel paille… he shot it RIGHT at bouchers chest

  21. bruinskid says:

    welcome back savard

  22. d-dawg says:

    SAVAAAAARD!!!!

  23. ccm says:

    no fucking way…savvvyyyyy

  24. Birdman2403 says:

    Give Boucher credit….He was unreal in OT !

    Best celebration ever by Savvy….his stick went 20 rows…love it !

    But seriously, split up Hunwick and Wideman PLEASE !

  25. backbruin says:

    Lopk at the fools saying were done going into O.T…you should be ashamed of yourself, don’t you learn your lesson time after time….as soon as the going gets tough the same few say…”it’s over”…”were fkn done”….so sick of you idiots giving up!!!so what they tied it….did you see how we came out in o.t….i certainly didn’t see any give up attitude!!!!

    honestly you humps..and you know who you are, go cheer for somebody else…hey how about pitt!!! maybe you won’t give up on the “stanley cup champs”!!

    you guys make me sick!

    • ELWOPPO says:

      Boston blowing three 2 goal leads in the playoffs MAKES ME SICK!!! But yeah, I can see ur point!!!

    • mcpuck says:

      no one said they were done, and as it stands we have every right to be not impressed at their play in the 2nd and 3rd

      • ELWOPPO says:

        Thanks mcpuck,
        I guess some bruins fan’s on here are more “Gung ho” about this team than me!? Just simply saying that thier play in the 2nd and third was discusting…..I guess backbruin was happy when we blew all those leads? And he must have known that we were gonna score in OT by the way he’s talking!!!

      • backbruin says:

        You do have every right mcpuck, but instead of critisizing and getting down on them which i have done as well. Let’s get behind these guys, and i mean for the entire game as they have and are going to make mistakes from here on in!

        I understand during the regular season pin pointing every mistake that is made. what i’m trying to say is, instead of the anger keep the faith bra!

      • backbruin says:

        Elwoppo don’t start with me kid! don’t start spewing bs as you normally do!!

        “Ya man i was happy when they blew the two goal leads…that’s why i’m on this site…so i can be happy when they don’t play well…get your head out of your ass man….were all on the same side here…

        Let’s use Mark Recchi as an example from me too you…i don’t get to excited and say were done because a team came back on us as you do….Your like a little rookie who folds when the going gets tough…i’m like a vet who while i’m excited as hell i keep my composure!!!

        cmon wop let’s get together here baby!

    • Andy says:

      Backbruin & Elwoppo, I can see both your points, although I don’t agree that we should just give up when the going gets tough.

      Yes, of course we’re all behind this team, or we wouldn’t be on this site. We are one of, if not the, most passionate fan base in sports.

      On the other hand, we did blow 3 two-goal leads at home and that is VERY frustrating, especially considering how their 4th was scored on an awful defensive play by Hunny and Wideman.

      At the end of the day, though – SAVVY!!! I’m just so happy for them and that was one of the best celebrations I have ever seen!!

      This is going to be a long, physical series. Philly is different than Buf in that they have a good mix of talent and grinders (similar to the B’s) and even those grinders can light the red light. Glad to get the W, but Philly came out flat in the 1st and overall outplayed us in the 2nd and 3rd. We have to make sure that we play a more complete game in gm 2 and if they can get the win, then we are in good shape heading to Philly.

      One last thing about this whole “Let’s go boys – we’re playing like shit – we suck – this game’s over – way to get back into it – we won!” back and forth thing. That’s just us as Boston fans. I think it’s the way we were raised. I know I’ve had those similar feelings w/ the Sox, B’s, and Pats. I think it’s what makes us one of the most passionate fanbases in the world!

      Having said that, it’s going to be up and down, back and forth, so let’s try and keep the faith…

  26. mcpuck says:

    lol who cares how they get it, they got the win

  27. ELWOPPO says:

    LOl im gonna let those silly comments go, Since “MY” Bruins won today! But for the Future your No vet and im pretty sure Ive watched more games and know A HELL OF ALOT more about this game than u!! And stop trying to start shit with me, Cuz ur gonna hurt yourself!!!
    Ok Backshots or whatever you call urself!!!???

    • backbruin says:

      hey eldummo, i havent missed a game all year and for that matter one in many. Ive played triple A hockey which i’m sure is 3 levels higher then you have ever thought about. I REALLY DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN MYSELF TO YOU AND YOUR POTTY MOUTH YOU BRING TO THE TABLE EVERY POST! YOUR A 22 YEAR OLD PUNK WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THIS GAME!!! you couldn’t sip out of my jock strap moron!! 30 years of playing and coaching, and reffing hockey here kid so shut your fkn mouth for once!!!

      I simply stated that when the chips are down you turn in to a puddle of emotion and it’s not your fault it’s your simple brain and young age!

      i’m in London and help run an elite hockey clinic! If you wanna look me up i’d be glad to have you come down to my great camp and show you a couple things!

      Look up our clinic over here and if youer such a thug you can find me very easy you punk faggot!

    • Andy says:

      Guess my “peacemaking” attempts were too late…

  28. willisss says:

    holy shit

  29. backbruin says:

    Everyone go back and read elfucko’s posts and tell me he’s not a guy you would look at and tell to shut the fuck up!!!he’s a loud mouth punk who is only with this team when everything is perfect…as soon as there is a bump in the road he turtles like a punk bitch!!!

    fuck you elretard you ignorant fk!

  30. ELWOPPO says:

    Im actually 30 years old backshots…Not quite sure where your getting 22 from?? BTW do you smash rails before you post here?? WOW………Relax old man!!!!

  31. backbruin says:

    fkn right i do! hey man i just said to keep the faith and chill when things aren’t going our way..If anything we should be proud the way our boys are playing and should stay behind them….that was my only point!!!

    They aren’t going to win them all from here on out so we should chill and take it all in…I’m feeling like something special may be at our feet here and want all positive energy…hey i know we aren’t all going to be happy with the way they play period by period, but let’s not say shit like…”were done it’s over we blew it”!!

    When we lose a game then we can make some points but please don’t put the jinx on until it’s over!!!

    let’s go b’s….and i’m only 5 years older bro!!!not that old yet!

  32. mook says:

    i just wanna say that it is still going to be the bruins in 4. this game was not as close as the score makes it seem…

  33. Pearson says:

    Here they go again. Shut the fuck up. Both of you. Are you really doing this after todays game? Nobody here cares. Give each other an address, meet up, and beat the shit out of each other.

    Any word on sturm or sobotka? Personally, i think the sturm injury is good for the team. I originally proposed that they scratch him and let thornton play his policeman role against the dirty philly phucks and then give sturm a chance around game 3 or so. Now, the struggling winger will be replaced by thorty anyway?

    I dont see the loss.

    • bruinsfanupnorth says:

      sturm is done for the year with a lower body injury. read it on nesn.

      • #4 says:

        Def an ACL/MCL tear/sprain Ive seen it too many times. Good luck goes out sturm I hope its not but thats what it looked like for sure.

    • backbruin says:

      All i have been is positive, if i wanna rip that faggot i will. so you shut the fuck up!!!

      I STATED NOT TO JUMP SHIP WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH AND THE DICK STARTS ON ME SO I DEFEND MY SELF!!!

      WOULDN’T YOU MR. PEARSON??????

  34. #4 says:

    Oh and BTW

    Great game, well not really I was shocked when philly tied for OT. Some bad calls against the B’s.

    But I dont think hollywood could have written it better to have Savard score the winner awesome. GO BS

  35. Bruins says:

    You couldn’t have scripted that any better. Savard’s celebration was one of the high points for me being a Bruins fan. Just an awesome moment. I fully expect one of those “History will be made” commercials.

    Overall it was sort of a Jeckyl and Hyde performance though. The first period and the overtime the Bruins dominated. That might have been their best hockey of the year. The second and third were pretty weak though. Oh well, they got the job done in the end.

    Bergeron was unbelievable today. Krejci and Satan had good games. Ryder played well too. Rask played pretty well despite the stats. The only one he should have had was the Pronger one, and he made some huge saves.

    Sturm is done. It’s unfortunate, and that’s his second major leg injury in the last year.

    I wonder what the line-up will look like without him? I’d go with:

    Paille-Bergeron-Recchi
    Lucic-Krejci-Satan
    Begin-Savard-Ryder
    Wheeler-Sobotka-Thornton

    I don’t know if Savard will be up with Bergeron again. I also wouldn’t mind Marchand getting a shot as well as he can replace Sturm’s speed and blue-collar work ethic and style.

    Let’s go B’s!!!

    • Pearson says:

      Those lines look weird to me. Paille shouldnt be on the top line. And id put wheeler with savard to get him going:

      lucic-bergeron-rex
      the devil- krecji- Sobotka
      wheeler- savard- ryder
      paille- begin- thornton

      i think that 2nd line could own shit if the flyers keep pronger on the front line against bergeron.
      thoughts?

  36. DanD says:

    The reason why sobotka was centering the 4th line in game one instead of savvy’s left wing was because he wasn’t comfortable playing wing. He’s a natural centerman because he’s all over the ice trying to hit anyone. So I doubt he’ll be playing right wing with krejci. The bruins aren’t really gonna be playing “lines” its’ gonna be like game 1 where they were roatating guys throughout the game. Savvy isn’t completely ready to roll out every 3rd shift

  37. wonderful post, very informative. I’m wondering why the other specialists of this sector don’t understand this.
    You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

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