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Peter Laviolette points to Game 1 dud as the real reason for his team’s collapse 05.07.11 at 12:44 am ET
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Peter Laviolette did not get the results this time around. (AP)

In sweeping the team that spent most of the season atop the Eastern Conference, the Bruins thoroughly frustrated the Flyers from the opening faceoff through all four games, ending with Friday night’s 5-1 win in Game 4 at TD Garden.

“Look at tonight’s game, it’s 1-1 halfway through the third,” Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette said. “The chances are relatively close. I would’ve liked to have generated more, offensively. I think in all the losses, we needed to generate more, we needed to spend more in the offensive zone. Defensively, even tonight, we turned some pucks over in the neutral zone trying to get through their trap and trying to get a sustained forecheck that could generate some offense and we weren’t able to do that, and in the losses, that seems to be one of the key things that factors in.

“The other thing for me, looking back on the series, you have an opportunity in Game 1. You’re in your building and we don’t play the way we need to. Game 2 we played hard, we did the things we wanted to do, we lost in overtime. It was a tough bounce, a tough break but that happens in the playoffs. But I really look at Game 1 as an opportunity that was lost for us to get into the series. We never seemed to get into it. We didn’t get a win. We didn’t get into the series. Game 1, that was a blown opportunity.”

The Bruins swept Philadelphia for the second time in playoff history, having disposed of them in four straight in 1977. The Bruins won seven of the eight meetings between the two teams this year and Tim Thomas improved to 10-0-0 lifetime against the Flyers, including regular season and the playoffs.

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Sergei Bobrovsky to start Game 4 for Flyers 05.06.11 at 5:52 pm ET
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Flyers coach Peter Laviolette announced Friday at TD Garden that Sergei Bobrovsky will start for the team in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Bruins. Boston leads the series, three games to none.

Rhode Island native Brian Boucher has started the first three games of the series, dropping all three contests and allowing 11 games. He was pulled in favor of Bobrovsky in Games 1 and 3 and left Game 2 briefly with an injury concern. Bobrovsky has allowed three goals in 55:15 this series.

“We found ourselves down three here, and Bob has come off the bench a couple times and looked good,” Laviolette said in a pre-game briefing with the press. “We are getting him back in there tonight.”

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Little being said with Jeff Carter a game-time decision for Flyers in Game 3 05.04.11 at 12:39 pm ET
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The buzz Wednesday morning at TD Garden surrounded Flyers forward Jeff Carter, who participated in the team’s morning skate and could lace up for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Bruins. The 36-goal-scorer hasn’t played since leaving Game 4 of the first round with a knee injury suffered in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers. General manager Paul Holmgren has listed him as a game-time decision Wednesday, but aside from that, coach Peter Laviolette and Carter himself had very little to say on the subject.

Jeff Carter could provide the Flyers with a big boost in Game 3.

“Jeff Carter looked good this morning,” Laviolette said after the morning skate.

Here is every word Carter had to say this morning:

Can you be a factor at half-speed?

“It’s a quick game right now, so I’m not too sure.”

Do you want to be in the lineup tonight?

“Of course. Everybody wants to be in the lineup.”

Are you optimistic you will be?

“I don’t know.”

More likely you need another game?

“I don’t know. Holmgren talks about all the injuries. We don’t talk about that.”

How many minutes do you think you could play?

“I don’t know. I’m not worried about that right now. I’m worried about getting myself healthy to get back. When I’m healthy, I’ll worry about the other stuff.”

So you’re not 100 percent?

“I don’t know. We don’t talk about injuries, remember? It’s been like that all playoffs.”

Is there more urgency to get back in the lineup down 0-2?

“Of course. You want to be in every game.”

——-

Defenseman Chris Pronger was not on the ice for Philadelphia’s morning skate. He did not play in Game 2.

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Mark Recchi on D&C: ‘The pressure’s all on them’ at 10:06 am ET
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Mark Recchi

Bruins forward Mark Recchi checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning, hours before the B’s host the Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins have a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Boston. A year ago, the B’s led the Flyers 3-0 in the series before losing in seven games. Recchi said the Bruins have not avoided discussing last year. “We know that. We’ll talk about it. There’s no question we’ll address it,” Recchi said. “We’ll get ready. Our thing is: Hey, focus on what we do. Don’t focus on the big picture, focus on tonight. Focus on what we do as a team. Don’t focus so much on them and what’s going on on the outside, what people are saying, what people are talking about. Get in our bubble and let’s get ready for tonight.”

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that the pressure is on the Bruins now because they are expected to win. Recchi isn’t buying it. “The pressure’s on them,” Recchi countered. “They have to come in here and win. We went and did our job. They had home ice. The pressure’s all on them. If they don’t win, they’re down 3-0. They can talk all they want about last year and all that, [but] the pressure completely is on them right now.”

Tim Thomas has stood out in goal for Boston and has drawn comparisons to Dominik Hasek for his unconventional yet successful style of flopping all over the crease. “They found a way to stop pucks,” Recchi said of Hasek and Thomas. “It doesn’t matter how, they found a way. There’s a method to their madness, too. Timmy might look like he’s all over the place, but he really knows what he’s doing in there. He’s really controlled, and actually probably controlled in his mind in how he wants to play.”

At 43 years old, Recchi is in his 22nd NHL season. Asked about his ability to continue to produce as the oldest player in the league, Recchi said: “It’s all how you rest and prepare. I’ve got lots left in the tank. … Once playoffs start, I just basically play right now. I don’t do a whole lot of practicing. I just try and keep myself sharp as much as possible.”

Recchi said he does his best to play through pain. “Regardless of my age, I want to be counted on,” he said. “And I want the coach to know that I’m going to be there. And I want my teammates to know I’m going to be there for them all the time.”

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After losing a pair on home ice, Peter Laviolette plays a psychological card on the Bruins 05.03.11 at 12:14 am ET
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PHILADELPHIA — After his team fell into an 0-2 hole with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bruins Monday night, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette attempted to play a psychological card on the Bruins. Simply put, Laviolette said all the pressure is on Boston to advance now that that have a stranglehold on the series for the second straight year.

“We have to go into Boston and win one hockey game,” Laviolette said. “Going to the well is not an easy thing to do. It’s a difficult thing to do and we did it last series and we did it last year against Boston. When you lose your first two games in your home building, I would say there’s a real expectation for the Bruins to win the series now. So it relieves us of the pressure, I believe, a little bit to just go in and play a game in Boston. And while it relieves us of the pressure, it certainly mounts onto them to be successful now that they have a 2-0 lead.”

The Flyers came back from 3-2 down against the Sabres in the first round while the Bruins overcame losing the first two games to the Canadiens on their home ice to advance. Laviolette went as far as to guarentee that his team would play well enough in Games 3 and 4 in Boston to bring the series back to Philadelphia for a Game 5 this Sunday.

“I really like our guys,” Laviolette said. “I think we’re going to go into Boston, we’re going to play a strong hockey game, we’re going to win a game. This team never quits. We get to remove some of that pressure right now and just go play, have some fun and see if we can score some more goals than we did tonight. I truly believe this team still has a lot of fight in it.”

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Brian Boucher back in net for Flyers in Game 2, Chris Pronger a game-time decision vs. Bruins 05.02.11 at 11:39 am ET
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PHILADELPHIA — After allowing five goals on just 23 shots in Game 1 Saturday, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette announced Monday morning that Brian Boucher will get a second chance and will start Game 2 tonight against the Bruins at Wells Fargo Center.

“Brian will go back in net today,” Laviolette announced after the Flyers pregame skate at Wells Fargo. “Today is a game, for me, where we all get to go back in there and right some wrongs so, everybody gets an opportunity. He’s deserves it.”

The Flyers have been in crisis mode with their goaltending in the playoffs so far, with Laviolette changing goalies midgame already four times in the first eight playoffs games, and six times in their last 14 postseason games, dating back to last year’s Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks.

On Saturday, after yielding the fifth goal in the second period, Laviolette turned to rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who allowed two goals in the third period of Boston’s 7-3 romp that put the Bruins up, 1-0, in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Flyers could be without two of their top players tonight as defenseman Chris Pronger and forward Jeff Carter both missed the morning skate. Pronger came back late in the first round after dealing with a broken hand while Carter injured his knee during the Sabres series and hasn’t returned.

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Peter Laviolette won’t take another shot at Brian Boucher 04.30.11 at 8:56 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did something after his team’s 7-3 humiliation at the hands of the Bruins that his forwards and defensemen failed to do. He came to the aid of Brian Boucher.

For the fourth time in the last eight playoff games, Laviolette has resorted to the desperate move of pulling a goalie. That isn’t stunning. That is downright shocking for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Is he concerned that he’s had to do it so often?

“Certainly you don’t want to do that but tonight I think that just based on the way we played in front of our goaltender, we as a team deserve all of the responsibility as far as that goes,” Laviolette said. “But, it certainly is not where you want to be.”

So what was the coverage problem? Was it being out of position, or effort in front of the net?

“I’d say it was a combination of both,” he said. “It wasn’t very good tonight, the defensive play. Especially, you know, right in front of our goaltender. Too many easy goals, too many easy plays, we weren’t strong enough right in front of our goaltender.”

The Flyers were coming off a 5-2 win over the Sabres in Game 7 Tuesday night and seemed to have rediscovered their mojo a bit – the same feeling that had them sitting on top of the Eastern Conference for most of the season until a late-season swoon that dropped them to second in the standings.

“Well we weren’t very good tonight, you know,” Laviolette. “We come off one of our strongest performances in a while, come out and you know we don’t have a good game. That was not the way we need to play in order to be successful, so there’s lots of things that can change; actually everything’s got to change, everything’s got to improve. So, we’ll work on that.”

The Flyers will have Sunday to figure it out. But if the Flyers don’t bring it with more intensity Monday night, the Bruins – including David Krejci will roll over them again.

Laviolette knows this. That’s why when he was asked after the game what made Krejci’s line so successful, he had a short but fair answer.

“Most of their lines had success against us,” Laviolette said, before thanking everyone for showing up. He hopes his players do Monday night.

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