The Boston Bruins hold a two games to none lead in the best of seven series with a difficult Philadelphia Flyers opponent that conjures up bad memories from last year’s playoff debacle. This year seems different though based on the first two games in the series. It could be argued that the Flyers have outplayed the Bruins for about half the series but still are down 2-0.
Tim Thomas was stellar in net in Game 2 and basically stole the game in which the Bruins defense gave up 55 shots. Etch his name on the Vezina Trophy now, he is that good and may lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals. The trade acquisitions Boston made at the deadline of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley continue to provide a steady checking force with occassional scoring prowess. Kelly has driven to the net and been rewarded with 4 goals during the playoff series with Philly and Montreal. Other Bruin forwards would be well-advised to follow his lead. Unfortunately, trade deadline acquisition Tomas Kaberle has not panned out as expected. He is playing on the third pairing and not producing on the power play as expected.
The Bruins powerplay is a mystery. Going 0-29 during the playoffs is breaking all NHL records. It is overdue that changes happen but Coach Julien is hesistant to mix things up given the overall wins the team is getting during 5 on 5. It remains to be seen whether they will send Zdeno Chara down on the box during the PP or perhaps be a bit dramatic and get 2nd overall pick Tyler Seguin into the lineup in favor of pugilist and checker Shawn Thornton. One would assume no changes as the team is performing as needed thus far versus Philly. If things go the Flyers way in the next two games, those are two changes you would look for.
Philadelphia is playing desperate and it showed in Game 2. Pouring on 55 shots during the game indicates they were on their game and just had the misfortune of facing Tim Thomas’ magic hands and feet. James Van Rymsdyk had a coming out with 2 goals and adding a strong forecheck to his game. He may be a difference maker in this series going forward. The Flyers are missing top performers Chris Pronger and Jeff Carter. These two players play top minutes for the Flyers and are difference makers. It remains to be seen when they will find there way back to the ice.
Philadelphia will need to figure out the best netminder to go with the rest of the way. Brian Boucher has been hot and cold playing fairly well in Game 2 after a Game 1 mistep. One would assume that Boucher will get the nod the rest of the way although Sergei Bobrovsky could find some ice time, especially if Philly cannot find a win in Game 3.
The Game 3 matchup will go a long way in determining the winner of this series. If Boston pulls out a win at home, it would be remarkable for the Flyers to runout 4 wins in a row like last year. Coach Julien hopes his team is not thinking about that now, but just go game to game and put together the best 60 minutes they can and expel the demons of a year ago.