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Bruins know they can’t erase playoff collapse in regular season grudge matches

12.11.10 at 1:21 pm ET
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The Bruins know that Saturday marks the Flyers’ first game back at TD Garden since completing a historic comeback from being down three games to none with 4-3 Game 7 victory that left the B’s dumfounded, confused, and utterly stunned.

They also know that nothing that happens on Saturday will change the past.

The B’s won the first grudge match (if you can call it that) by grabbing a 3-0 win in Philadelphia on Dec. 1, but nothing the team does prior to late April can make up for their postseason collapse. The players see that.

“I think people here are good enough hockey fans to know that redemption comes in the form of the playoffs,” Andrew Ference said. “Obviously, during the season you want to stick it to a team, but it’s a long road and I think people here want to see us play good hockey, want to see us put on a good performance and play to our level.”

Fans will pack the Garden with revenge on their minds Saturday night, and the Bruins are well aware as to why. The players have done everything they could with that Easter Conference semifinals failure: discussed it, tried to forget about it, sought out a lesson in there, etc. The only thing that actually matters is whether they can respond to it.

The idea of responding was discussed plenty in training camp, as Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien, and the players saw it as the only appropriate — and productive — thing to do. As a result, Saturday night won’t be about conquering the Flyers and calling it even.

“You’re never going to make up for that by beating them in the regular season, but that was the past,” Blake Wheeler said. “We can’t do anything about that now. The only thing we can control is how we play now. If we play well tonight in front of our home crowd and do the things we’re supposed to do in front of them, I think they’re going to appreciate it. That’s all we can control now, is what we do today, tomorrow, and in the future.”

Regardless of what happens in the team’s second meeting of the season, each side will have their memories of what happened when it really mattered.

“I think that if you come away with a win during the regular season, it doesn’t redeem feelings from last year or anything like that,” Ference said. “I think that it should be par for the course that when Philly’s in town, it’s usually a pretty good game.”

Read More: Andrew Ference, Blake Wheeler,
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