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.