Flyers present different challenge for Boston Bruins

Carcillo4.jpgBoston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
12:30 p.m. EDT, May 1, 2010
Live on NBC

The Philadelphia Flyers needed a shootout in the final game of the
season just to make the playoffs, yet needed just five games to
eliminate the 2nd seeded New Jersey Devils. With some opportunistic and
timely offense, along with some surprising goaltending from Brian
Boucher, the Flyers enter their second round matchup with the Boston
Bruins as a team confident and rested.

They also present a bit of
a different challenge for the Bruins, who had a surprising series win
of their own against the Sabres. The Flyers are a much more physical
team than the Bruins were able to be in the first round, who will be
able to keep up with the brutality the Bruins can show at times —
especially on defense.

While the Flyers will never be mistaken
for a top-notch offensive team — and the loss of Jeff Carter and Simon
Gagne will certainly hurt — they’ve been able to use strong
forechecking and a crash the net mentality to be incredibly successful
against one the best defensive teams in the NHL.

The Bruins also
didn’t have to deal with a player of the likes of one Dan Carcillo. He’s
not going to single-handedly beat any team, but his physicality and
energy spark the rest of his team and he’s been able to score some
timely goals of late for the Flyers. Compared to the Flyers skating
behind Carcillo, the Sabres were a rumbling and stumbling team that
resembled hockey players sleepwalking on ice skates.

The question
is, especially without Carter and Gagne, is whether the Flyers have the
firepower left to get past the goaltending of Tuukka Rask. The Flyers
can certainly bring the wood and put forth a tremendous forecheck, but
do they have the talent level needed to negate the defense and
goaltending that has worked so well for the Bruins of late?

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.