Tag: Bruins-Flyers

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three

Sharks, Bruins try to complete sweeps of Red Wings, Flyers tonight

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If things keep going the way they’ve been, two more series might be complete by the end of Friday. That’s a big change of pace from the four Game 7’s found in the first round, but these playoffs have been as nutty as they’ve been captivating, so you never know.

Let’s take a look at the two Game 4 contests that will dominate tonight’s hockey action. As always, start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

San Jose @ Detroit (Versus) – 7 p.m.; Sharks lead series 3-0

Both the Red Wings and Sharks are expected to stick with their lineups from Game 3. Some Red Wings fans might be a little upset about that, but honestly, I think most alterations would likely qualify as “change for the sake of change.” After all, it’s not like the Red Wings are getting blow out by the Sharks.

We’ll wait and see if this ends up being the last game for Nicklas Lidstrom and/or Mike Modano. If that’s the case, Modano would do so on the bench.

Check out CSN’s game notes for more on this game.

Philadelphia @ Boston – 8 p.m.; Bruins lead series 3-0

While the Red Wings are wise to stand pat despite a 3-0 deficit, the Flyers are equally justified in making a change in net. As we speculated, Sergei Bobrovsky will start Game 4 after Brian Boucher failed to win a single game in this series.

Naturally, there will be many who wonder if the Flyers can turn it around. Tim Panaccio thinks that Philly will play loose with little to lose while Joe Haggerty points out what makes this year’s Bruins team different.

Video: Hockey Central previews Game 4 of Sharks-Red Wings and Flyers-Bruins

Scott Hartnell, Johnny Boychuk

The first round of the 2011 playoffs really was one of the best in ages. That’s not just a subjective statement of phrase but rather an opinion backed up by facts. When half of the series go a full seven games, nearly every night features an overtime period or two and comebacks are plentiful, you know you’re in for a great round.

That set a difficult bar for Round 2, and even with some compelling games, it looks like the second set of games could be much shorter. The Tampa Bay Lightning already swept the Washington Capitals and now the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins could do the same to the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

Of course, the Red Wings and Flyers are talented teams despite their predicaments, so assuming that they’ll fold is dangerous. To get you pumped up for Friday’s duo of games, the Versus crew provided previews of each contest, which you can see in the video below.

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Sergei Bobrovsky is the odds-on Game 4 starter for Philly; Can the Flyers come back again?

Brian Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky

Despite my bigger picture positivity about the team’s philosophies toward goaltending, there’s little doubt that the Philadelphia Flyers have mishandled their situation in the 2011 playoffs.

If you ask me, the biggest mistake was that the team didn’t use the same wait-and-see approach with Sergei Bobrovsky as they did with Brian Boucher. I understand that Boucher is the more experienced goalie, but the man named “Bob” was a huge reason why this team won the Atlantic Division title in 2010-11.

Bobrovsky earned an nice 28-13-8 record with a slightly above average 91.5 save percentage and 2.59 GAA this season. He was clearly the No. 1 in Philly, earning 20 more appearances than Boucher.

Sure, Bobrovsky had an awful game-and-a-half to start the team’s first round series in the Buffalo Sabres, but Boucher was the goat in two out of three games against the Bruins in Round 2. Sarah Baicker of CSN Philly reports that Bobrovsky is likely to get the start in Game 4, but the obvious question is whether it will be too little, too late.

Let’s take a quick look at the similarities and differences between Philly’s situation in these consecutive 3-0 deficits.

What’s similar

  • Boucher has been weak-to-awful against Boston once again. Boucher lost all three games in this year’s series, didn’t make it through two of those contests and allowed 12 goals overall. He was a bit better last year, going 2-3, although one of his wins was in relief in that Game 7 comeback. He allowed 15 goals in those four full starts, so maybe the Bruins just have his number.
  • Bobrovsky = Michael Leighton? Last time around, Boucher was injured and gave way for Leighton, a relative unknown who helped spur a Flyers comeback. Could Bob have a little more luck against Boston? It’s possible, although he’s probably a more “known entity” than Leighton was in some ways.

How this year is different.

  • Chris Pronger isn’t healthy. If you ask me, a great case could be made for Pronger to be a three-time Conn Smythe winner, even in two losing efforts. He willed the Edmonton Oilers to a full seven-game series against the Carolina Hurricanes with Jussi Markkanen behind him. He was a big reason the Anaheim Ducks won a Cup and was a huge difference maker last year, too. Simply put, a near-100 percent Pronger can make a weak goalie look good. That happened last year, but injuries are keeping him from being a security blanket for Philly this time.
  • The Flyers are a mess. The Pronger point probably bleeds into this one, but the Flyers don’t have the same mojo. Last year, they went into the playoffs on a hot streak. This year, they backed in. That indicates that, despite their deep reserve of talent, Philly just isn’t playing their best hockey right now.
  • Two blowouts already. The Bruins did built a 3-0 lead in ’10, but much like Vancouver’s 3-0 lead against Chicago this year, it was a bit misleading. Those games were mostly close, a point best exemplified by Marc Savard’s emotional Game 1 overtime winner.

Conversely, this year’s series includes two blowouts (7-3 in Game 1; 5-1 in Game 3) and one overtime thriller. That’s not a great sign for a comeback, although the diversity-proven Flyers probably won’t care.

  • This is probably a better Bruins team. Tuukka Rask did a great job last season, but Tim Thomas simply instills more confidence. This year’s roster seems a little bigger, tougher and deeper than the 2010 edition. The fact that they won the Northeast Division this time around strengthens that suspicion.


The Flyers are a talented and tough team, so you can’t count them out of this altogether. There are a few reasons for hope, but the cons outweigh the pros this year. Some think that Bobrovsky has a lot of weight on his shoulders, yet in a way, he has nothing to lose.

He didn’t dig this hole, but could he help them out if it? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Your primer for tonight’s three playoff games

Joe Thornton, Patrick Eaves, Brian Rafalski

As I mentioned earlier today, from a sheer quantity standpoint, this will likely be the best remaining night in the 2011 playoffs. Obviously, schedules are subject to change, but if things stay the same this would be the last night with three games. The rest of the evenings will likely include no more than two contests, with many one-game nights as the playoffs go on.

Don’t be too sad, though, because each game becomes that much more significant as we go deeper into May and eventually June. If you want a quick guide of tonight’s three games, you’ve come to the right place. As always, start times are according to Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Philadelphia @ Boston (Versus) – 7 p.m.; Bruins lead series 2-0.

The Bruins are saying all the right things about taking this game seriously. Considering their recent history (from their first round comeback against Montreal to last year’s collapse against Philly), they obviously should.

The Flyers’ lineup changes are still a bit up in the air, with Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter’s statuses unknown. Boston should see few changes aside from Shane Hnidy taking big Adam McQuaid’s spot on the blueline.

(Other links of potential interest: Peter Laviolette won’t blame the goalies alone and Tim Thomas dominates Game 2.)

Washington @ Tampa Bay (NHL Network) – 7 p.m.; Lightning lead series 3-0.

It’s natural to focus a lot of attention on what the Capitals are doing wrong, but don’t lose sight of the great work by the Lightning. They are getting contributions from big name players and lesser known skaters alike, not to mention their outstanding elder in net.

It’s unclear if Mike Green will play for Washington while Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina are question marks for Tampa Bay. Alex Ovechkin says the Caps will win this game while Bruce Boudreau thinks that it’s dumb to ask if his job is on the line. Yes, you’re right in thinking that there is a lot of pressure on the Capitals at the moment.

San Jose @ Detroit – 8 p.m.; Sharks lead series 2-0.

The Sharks and Red Wings were in this exact position last year, at least from a series score standpoint. San Jose ended up splitting the two road games before closing out Detroit, so surely the Wings want to hold serve at home.

They’ll try to mix things up by separating Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, a perfectly reasonable move since both are comfortable (and adept) in the center spot. There’s been plenty of “gamesmanship” as this series gets nastier, with all of the vitriol caused by the impolite Jimmy Howard snow showers and the back-and-forth between the teams’ two coaches. These two teams are high on talent, but that’s not the only reason this series has been so entertaining.

Bruins say the right things about Game 3, Hnidy will take McQuaid’s spot

James Wisniewski, Shane Hnidy

When you build up an early lead, it’s almost natural to sag a bit. After all, you’ve acquired some sporting insurance and you’re inherently less hungry than your opponent. If the talent levels are close, losing that heightened sense of urgency can be an issue.

Despite building up a 2-0 lead, the Boston Bruins are saying all the right things as they prepare for Game 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. It’s not as if they need to search far and wide for an example of how fickle a two-game (and yes, even a three-game) series lead can be, considering the team’s recent history.

The Flyers will be the team facing the biggest changes, as Chris Pronger is expected to miss tonight’s game while Jeff Carter will be a game-time decision. (Naturally, these situations are always subject to change.)

Nope, the only difference for the Bruins is some home cooking and that Shane Hnidy will replace an injured Adam McQuaid. All indications point to Tim Thomas going up against Brian Boucher in the nets, so the biggest changes could be in execution and attitude.

Here’s what the team said about Game 3 against the Flyers.

“If we play well, we’ll be up by another game,” said coach Claude Julien, shedding some light onto the approach in the B’s dressing room. “I don’t think there’s anyone in that dressing room, including coaching staff and players, that are certainly sitting comfortable. This is going to be a tough task, and they’re a good team, and we’re ready to face that challenge.”


“For us, it’s about taking all the emotion and energy from the crowd and use it to give us everything that we need,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We need to take whatever we can to do the job at home because that’s going to be huge going down the stretch.”

Game 1 was a blowout, but Thomas really bailed the Bruins out in Game 2. It should be interesting to see if Game 3 has the same neck breakneck pace or if Boston will use home ice advantage to clog things up a bit. Either way, they’re taking the Flyers’ threat seriously, at least on the record.