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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Flyers, Game 1

Off we go, as the Bruins and Flyers match up in the second round of the NHL playoffs. The Flyers are here after an improbable 5-game whooping of Ilya Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils, while the B’s were able to get past Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres in 6 games in order to advance to their second straight Eastern Conference semifinals.

Boston and Philadelphia have always been notorious for their physical styles of play, which should make for a downright dirty, but entirely entertaining series.

Let’s dive in and get a closer look at what to expect from this series…

  • The B’s and Flyers have met in just one playoff series since Philly upset the Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup finals. That series was in 1978.
  • This series pits the two squads from this January’s Winter Classic against each other, a game that was eventually won in overtime by Boston, 2-1.
  • Boston and Philly split the season series, each winning twice.
  • The Bruins and Flyers were the only teams in the first round of the playoffs who didn’t lose on home ice. Boston took care of three wins at the Garden, while Philly needed just two victories on their home ice before sealing the deal in New Jersey in Game 5.
  • Boston of course gets back one of their best offensive players in this series, with the return of center Marc Savard. Savard, who has missed nearly two months since the March 7th hit by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke sidelined him with a grade 2 concussion, has been practicing on a third line with Daniel Paille and Michael Ryder. Vladimir Sobotka has now moved to fourth-line duty, centering Steve Begin and Blake Wheeler, leaving Shawn Thornton to likely be the odd man out.
  • For Phildelphia, their injuries have been the top story. The team’s top scorer, Jeff Carter, is lost for the season after breaking his foot in the series with New Jersey. Simon Gagne, another top forward for the Flyers, will also miss time with a foot injury, likely out for the entire second-round series. Then there’s Ian Laperriere, who suffered a concussion of his own after stopping a puck with his forehead, which is not recommended. He’s gone for good as well. The Flyers also are down two goalies, with Ray Emery (hip) and Michael Leighton (ankle) done for the year too.
  • If you think a six-seed hosting a seven-seed in the playoffs is rare, that’s because it is. It’s only the fourth time in league history that it’s happened. Anaheim hosted Colorado in 2006, which was the last time this happened, and the B’s hosted Buffalo back in 1999, in a series eventually won by the Sabres in 6 games. The Sabres would go on to lose in the Stanley Cup finals that year, as a seven-seed.

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