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How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning 05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.

After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.

But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘€” two in garbage time ‘€” in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”

“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”

Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.

There was nothing from Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolay Zherdev, an injury-slowed Jeff Carter, a nicked-up Chris Pronger and Scott Hartnell. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Danny Briere
Danny Briere wishes Zdeno Chara would be more careful with his stick 05.01.11 at 3:43 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Flyers forward Danny Briere isn’t about to put up a stink over a missed call in the Bruins’ 7-3 Game 1 victory over Philadelphia Saturday. Speaking with reporters after Sunday’s practice, Briere said he didn’t think Zdeno Chara meant any harm when he got him with a stick to the face in front of the net during the third period, but that it could have been avoided.

‘€œI don’€™t think it was intentional,” Briere told reporters Sunday. “He was battling with someone else in front of the net, but the thing with him is that every time he battles he always has his stick is always in the air. At the size he has, I don’€™t think he needs to do that. You are supposed to be in control of your stick. But it happened, [and] like I said, it wasn’€™t intentional on his part.’€

Briere said Chara’s stick got him on the right side of his head. No penalty was called on the play, though the Bruins did take five penalties in the third period.

The 33-year-old Briere had the Flyers’ first goal of the game Saturday, beating Tim Thomas to tie the game at a goal apiece in the first period. He leads all postseason skaters with seven goals in the playoffs thus far.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Danny Briere, Zdeno Chara,
David Krejci, Bruins beat Flyers in Game 1 04.30.11 at 5:54 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins began the Eastern Conference semifinals on a positive note, chasing Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher in the second period and taking a 7-3 victory at Wells Fargo Center Saturday.

David Krejci and Brad Marchand each had a pair of goals, with Nathan Horton, Mark Recchi and Gregory Campbell picking up tallies for the Bruins. The first five of the Bruins’ goals came against Boucher, who was pulled at 17:14 of the second period after allowing Marchand’s first goal. The rookie winger picked up his second of the night by beating Sergei Bobrovsky at 14:59 of the third, and Campbell scored his first career playoff goal at 17:39.

Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards scored for the Flyers. Tim Thomas made 31 saves on the day.

The teams will play Game 2 in Philadelphia on Monday before heading to Boston to play Games 3 and 4.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Things sure are pretty when the first line gets first-line results. Krejci had just one point — his Game 3 goal — in the seven-game series vs. the Canadiens, and his four-point performance went a long way for the B’s Saturday. The B’s are still waiting to get more out of Milan Lucic, who did not have a point on the day, but his linemates certainly cashed in. Horton now leads the team with four postseason goals.

- The Flyers got some rough goaltending out of Boucher, and that’s obviously something the Bruins would welcome as a series-long trend. Boucher allowed five goals on 23 shots before being yanked, and some of the Bruins’ goals were very soft. Recchi got his own rebound before letting an easy one trickle underneath Boucher for Boston’s third goal, while Boucher knocked Horton’s goal into his own net while trying to stop it. Some goals, such as Krejci’s second, came as the result of traffic in front of the net, but it was just a bad showing for Boucher for the most part.

Saturday’s contest marked the fourth time in eight games this postseason that the Flyers have changed goalies during a game. Goaltending was an interesting topic before the series given that the B’s hold the clear advantage, so we’ll see if suspect Philadelphia netminding ends up playing a bigger role than we may have initially thought.

- The success continues for Patrice Bergeron. The second-line center was Boston’s best player in the conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens, and he had three assists on Saturday. The 25-year-old made a very nice play in redirecting an Andrew Ference shot from the point that would lead to Marchand’s goal off a rebound.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Pretty soon we’re going to have to change it to “What went wrong (aside from the power play not scoring) for the Bruins.” The B’s couldn’t bury one on any of their power plays, even when a shaky Boucher was in net for the first three. They finished 0-for-5 on the night and are now 0-for-26 in the playoffs. Yeesh.

- Sure, it was 5-1 at the time, but the Bruins allowed James van Riemsdyk’s second-period tally at a dicey time. Marchand had scored 16 seconds earlier to chase Boucher from the game, so the goalie change followed by the quick goal could have given Philadelphia a bit of a spark had they kept it up. Fortunately for the Bruins, they didn’t.

- Saturday marked only the second time since Game 2 of the first round that Chris Kelly’s line failed to produce a point. Peverley had a three shots on goal, but Ryder and Kelly combined for just one on the day. Kelly’s line was very good for the Bruins after the first couple games vs. Montreal, and the Bruins can only hope they get big production once again this round.

- The Bruins took four power plays in the first 13 minutes of the third period, and it finally paid off when Mike Richards ripped a wrist-shot past Thomas with just under seven minutes remaining in the contest. Sure, both teams in this series have bad power plays, but the B’s can’t assume the Flyers’ is as bad as theirs.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Danny Briere, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron
Bruins/Flyers Game 1 live blog: Gregory Campbell makes it 7-3 at 2:31 pm ET
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Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and others from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia as the Bruins take on the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second time in as many years. The live blog begins at 2:30.

Bruins/Flyers Game 1 Live Blog

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Danny Briere, David Krejci, Gregory Campbell
Claude Julien: We don’t need to change ‘a ton’ for the Flyers 04.29.11 at 2:06 pm ET
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Before the team left Boston for Philadelphia Friday, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said the Flyers are a better match up for his team than the Canadiens were in the first round. The Bruins captured three of the four meetings in the regular season and were even able to score on the power play four times, something they failed to do in 21 tries in the opening round.

“We match up well against them and they’€™re always close in tight games and we got to go in there with some confidence and obviously some determination,” Julien said. “Playoffs is a different situation than the regular season, but again as I mentioned it’€™s just one of those things that we feel that we don’€™t have to change a ton of things. And if there’€™s adjustments to make along the way, we just have to be prepared to make them.”

The Flyers, however, did not have big defenseman Chris Pronger at their disposal in the last meeting on March 27 in Philadelphia as he was still healing from the effects of a broken hand.

“He’s an experienced guy, a guy who has got good size as well and has got a good shot,” Julien said. “I know he certainly hadn’€™t used it much when he’€™s come back now. Whether he’€™s 100 percent, we don’€™t know, and it really shouldn’€™t matter to us.

“But he’€™s been a big part of their power play and when you get a guy like that back, it’€™s no doubt that it’€™s a boost for their hockey club and certainly helps. So we’ve just got to continue I guess playing the way we have been against them for most of the year this year. I thought we played them well and we came out with three wins, and I think we had the overtime loss.”

The Bruins’ only loss to the Flyers came with three seconds left in overtime on Dec. 11 at TD Garden when Mike Richards beat Tim Thomas with a wrist shot. The Bruins also showed they can win all sorts of games against Philly, 3-0, in Philly on Dec. 1, 7-5 in a Garden shootout on Jan. 13 and 2-1 on Brad Marchand’s goal late on March 27. The Bruins also appear to have the clear advantage in goal with Thomas starting all seven games of their series against Montreal while Brian Boucher was one of three different Philadelphia netminders to see action against Buffalo. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Brian Boucher, Chris Pronger
Flyers help Bruins make dubious history 05.14.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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Summary — The Flyers became just the third team in the history of the National Hockey League to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win a seven-game series, in the process coming back from a 3-0 first-period hole to score four straight goals to advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-3 win over the Bruins at TD Garden on Friday night.

Tuukka Rask was the loser for Boston, allowing the four Flyers goals on 27 shots. Michael Leighton overcame a shaky first period to put the clamps down on the Bruins season with 25 saves. Simon Gagne scored the game-winner at 12:52 in the third period on the power play after the B’s were whistled for too many men on the ice.

The Bruins struck first (and, for that matter, second and third), jumping to an early lead eight seconds into a power play after Scott Hartnell went to the box for a high sticking call on Matt Hunwick in the neutral zone at 5:18 in the first period. Boston wasted no time, controlling the puck on the face off and getting a couple attempts on Leighton. The second — of the stick of Zdeno Chara — rebounded down to the right dot, where Michael Ryder sent it right back on the crease past a hopping Mark Recchi and the Bruins were off and running at 5:27.

Boston made it 2-0, again on the power play, at 9:02 when a broken rush through the neutral zone ended up in a reset by Dennis Wideman, who decided to take it all the way down the right wing into the corner and send it back towards the crease where Milan Lucic timed his crash perfectly to bang it past Leighton for the two-goal advantage before the first period was halfway over.

Leighton would let in a third straight Boston goal at at 14:10 as Lucic struck again when he turned a giveaway into a lamplighter when he rushed all the way down the right wing and let off a snap shot by the right faceoff dot that went five-hole and made TD Garden erupt.

But the Flyers, remarkably, refused to concede defeat. James Van Riemsdyk fought hard to the right of Rask, leveling Wideman and getting a broken-play dribbler under the net minder’s left pad for a soft goal that made it 3-1 at 17:12 in the first. It was Van Riemsdyk’s first career playoff goal in his second professional season (first in the NHL) coming out of the University of New Hampshire.

The Flyers made it a one-goal game early in the second period on an even strength play where Danny Briere was able to penetrate the Rask’s crease after Ville Leino put the puck deep. Briere did a spin-o-rama and put the puck across the crease, where Andrew Ference could not put a stick on it at the goal line and Scott Hartnell flipped it back over Rask at 2:49.

The comeback was complete when Briere struck on his own, this time with the assist from Hartnell at 8:39 of the second period. Briere came back down around the net and did a wrap-around on Rask that rattled through the net and back out the other side to tie the game at three. The play was reviewed but it was conclusive that Briere had put the puck in the net and Boston had relinquished another 3-0 lead in the series.

Three Stars

Simon Gagne — His Game 4 return from a broken toe made all the difference for the Flyers in this series as he scored his second game-winner of the series to complete the series comeback.

Danny Briere — Perpetual thorn in the Bruins side was instrumental in getting the Flyers back in the game as his goal and assist in the second period were the answer Philadelphia was looking for after it went down 3-0 in the first.

Milan Lucic — Two first period goals got TD Garden pumping as the Boston forward set the stage for the excitement that was to come.

Turning Point – When Briere and Hartnell teamed up to take over in the second period. The pair was able to bring the Flyers back from the brink as the Bruins went soft in front of Rask. The wily center and his large wingman were able to get deep into the crease twice to tie the game and give the Flyers a chance to win it in the third period.

Key Play — The Bruins took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at 11:10 of the third period, which set the Flyers up to score the go-ahead goal by Gagne when he found the puck on the right dot in front of Rask for the wrist shot top shelf to bury Boston and its Stanley Cup dreams once and for all.

Read More: Danny Briere, Game 7, James Van Riemsdyk, Michael Leighton
Flyers shut down Bruins to force Game 7 05.12.10 at 10:37 pm ET
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Summary — The Flyers became only the sixth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7 as they beat Boston 2-1 at Wachovia Center in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup semifinal series. Michael Leighton got his first career playoff start and made 30 saves as the Bruins could not end their sudden scoring woes. Tuukka Rask was not up to the task to close out the Flyers for the third straight game as he allowed two goals on 27 Philadelphia shots.

The Flyers continued their charge with their sixth consecutive goal in the series as they opened the scoring at 6:58 in the first period. Simon Gagne put the puck on Rask who made the initial save, but Daniel Carcillo crashed the crease and prevented Johnny Boychuk from clearing the rebound. The puck squirted into the slot where Mike Richards was there to clean up the mess and Philadelphia had an early lead once again.

Danny Briere put the Flyers up by two goals at 16:20 in the second period on the power play as the Flyers had a 4-on-3 advantage with Marc Savard, Daniel Paille in the box for the Bruins and Chris Pronger for Philadelphia. Briere crossed through the slot and let a wrist shot off that Rask got a piece of with his chest and arm but still got through to make it 2-0 heading into the third period.

With Rask on the bench in the final two minutes of play the Bruins pressed the 6-on-5 advantage and Milan Lucic banged home a rebound with 1:00 remaining on the clock to make the final minute of play tense but Leighton was able to hold on. The goal snapped 134:12 of scoreless play from the Bruins as they had not scored since the final minute of Game 4 when Mark Recchi forced overtime.

Three Stars

Mike Richards — Scored the opening goal and assisted on the second to pace the Flyers attack.

Michael Leighton — Withstood the Bruins second period pressure and delivered a win to Philadelphia to push the Bruins to a Game 7.

Matt Carle — The oft-overlooked defenseman paired with Chris Pronger had six blocked shots to keep the puck from getting to Leighton’s crease. Carle also has a plus-6 rating for the series.

Turning Point – Briere’s goal. The Bruins spent most of the second period in the Flyers zone but started taking penalties starting a high-stick by Savard at 15:15 and then a Paille elbow at 15:49. Pronger checked Zdeno Chara at the top of the crease and went for interference and the Flyers wasted no time in the 4-0n-3 as Briere used Rask as a pinball flipper to stop any momentum the Bruins had gained.

Key Play – Leighton made a save on a Mark Stuart shot early in the third period off his shoulder and Miroslav Satan crashed the net but was unable to slam the puck through the crease and a chance for the Bruins to make it a one-goal game was snuffed out. Boston would go on the power play a few minutes later when Matt Carle went for tripping at 5:15 but could muster nothing as the Flyers were aggressive at the point of attack to thwart the chance.

Read More: Danny Briere, Matt Carle, Michael Leighton, Mike Richards
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