Well, here’s hoping that the third time’s the charm for the Bruins, as they travel back to Philadelphia to take their third crack at ousting the Flyers in tonight’s Game 6 at Wachovia Center.
The B’s were handed their first home playoff loss of the season on Monday, getting shut out by the tandem of Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton, 4-0 on home ice. Now, even though Boston still enjoys a slim 3-2 series lead, all of the momentum has swung the Flyers’ way.
Winning the closeout game of a series is always the toughest, as evident across the entire NHL here in the second round. Teams with a chance to advance are just 2-5 in those games, with San Jose and Chicago punching their tickets to the Western Conference Finals earlier this week.
Let’s now take a look at a few pregame notes before they drop the puck on tonight’s huge game in Philly…
- First off, let’s note that tonight’s Game 6 is an 8:00pm start, not the typical 7:00pm start. It can be found locally on NESN, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30pm. Also on TV tonight, Montreal takes on Pittsburgh in Game 7 of that series, with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals on the line. That game can be found on Versus at 7pm.
- If Boston and Montreal win tonight, it would mark the first time since 1979 that three Original Six teams would advance to the conference finals. In ’79, it was Boston, Montreal, and the New York Rangers who reached hockey’s “Final Four.”
- Getting back to Game 5 on Monday, the combined shutout by Boucher and Leighton marked the first combined playoff shutout since 1955, and that too was done against the Bruins. It was Montreal’s Jacques Plante and Charlie Hodge that beat the B’s, 2-0, 55 years ago.
- Boucher was forced from Monday’s game in the second period after suffering a strained MCL in his left knee. That injury will sideline the netminder for at least a month, leaving the goaltending duties back to Leighton, who saw his first action since March 16th in relief duty, when he made 14 saves to preserve the Game 5 win. Tonight, Leighton will make his first career playoff start.
- In the other crease, Tuukka Rask will look to avoid his third straight loss. Rask hasn’t lost two straight since early February, when he struggled through an 0-4-2 stretch from January 4th – February 6th.
- Philadelphia winger Claude Giroux will likely be on the ice tonight for the Flyers. He left Monday’s Game 5 with a shoulder injury after a collision with Boston’s Steve Begin. Giroux participated in the team’s morning skate and said he is good to go for tonight.
- The Flyers are 1-13 in series when trailing 3-2, with their only win coming in the 1989 playoffs over Pittsburgh. Boston is 17-3 when enjoying a 3-2 series lead. Of those 17 series wins, the B’s were pushed to a Game 7 ten times.
Tags: Boston Bruins, Brian Boucher, Bruins, Claude Giroux, Michael Leighton, Philadelphia Flyers, Tuukka Rask