Bruins Hope For Continued Success in Philadelphia

After snapping a four game losing streak on Sunday, the Boston Bruins (27-12-5) will be back at in Philadelphia Tuesday night. The Flyers (20-22-3), mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, hope to cause some problems for their conference foe. These clubs have met twice already this season, splitting the meetings. Boston blanked Philadelphia, 3-0, back on March 9. The Flyers got the better of the B’s on March 30, winning 3-1.

The Black-and-Gold will look to make it two straight victories as they hope for continued success entering the last week of the regular season. Boston moved into first place in the Northeast Division Sunday afternoon, grabbing an emotional two points from the Florida Panthers. It was the Bruins lone victory in a week filled with distractions, diversions, and bothersome unfolding events.

Philadelphia marks the first of four games the Bruins will play in the next six days. Each game that remains on the schedule is certainly winnable for Boston. If the B’s want to lock up the second spot in the Eastern Conference, home ice advantage in the opening rounds of the playoffs, and finish the 2012-2013 campaign on a high note, beating up on the Broad Street Bullies would be a good start. Montreal is tied with Boston with 59 points but by default they sit in second place in the division, having played more games.

Like Florida, Philadelphia is destined for an early offseason. Although the Flyers are in now way comparable to the Panthers and cannot be taken for granted. The Orange-and-Black have made it clear they are not about to roll over at the feet of their opponent, despite an extremely disappointing year.

Philly’s scorching hot offense has compiled 16 goals in its last four, propelling them to wins in three of the games. The prolific offensive talents of Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek, and Claude Giroux cannot be overlooked by Boston. The Bruins will need to play fundamentally sound hockey considering the Flyers boast the NHL’s third ranked power play unit, converting 22.1% of the time.

Chris Kelly is well aware of what awaits tonight. The Bruins pivot man spoke following this morning’s team skate saying, “they’re not in the postseason but those teams are often most dangerous, the ones you need to be prepared for the most.”

The streaky Boston offense has plenty to build upon. In their last outing they showed improved chemistry up front, rolling four lines with regularity. The Bruins increased fore-checking presence was evident, giving way to strong, lengthy attacking zone shifts. Their forwards moved the puck all around Florida’s end getting the d-men involved. The chances were there and if Claude Julien’s men can keep the pressure on, goals will surely come more frequently.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara summed up his team’s recent progression saying Sunday, “Like I said after last game, even though we didn’t win the game I really liked the way we were physically and emotionally attached in the game. Today was a little bit different, but we found a way to win the game. That’s a good positive step.”

For the B’s, it’s simple. The more guys involved and producing, the more dominant they are. They possess one the more dynamic line-ups in all the NHL and can explode at will when on their game. Jaromir Jagr, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, and Patrice Bergeron have been the most reliable of the bunch lately. Boston’s merlot line (Paille-Campell-Thornton) has added timely energy, while Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley are always dependable in defensive situations. Though to be firing on all cylinders, the Bruins need guys like Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton to start delivering at a higher rate.

Nathan Horton (upper body injury) did not make the trip to Philadelphia. Adam McQuaid on the other hand will likely be in the lineup. Dougie Hamilton seems to be a candidate for a healthy scratch as he has played the most hockey of any Bruin this season. Anton Khudobin is expected in goal after backing up Tuukka Rask in the last two. This could be the final away game we see a full Boston lineup until the playoffs. Claude Julien may opt to rest some of his veterans Saturday, when they travel to Washington.

*Game Notes:

Look for Carl Soderberg to play center tonight. Claude Julien has made it clear he feels the Swede will better serve the team at his natural posistion.

Game time: 7:30 PM

Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Philadelphia

TV: NBC Sports Network

Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Projected lineup:

Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin

Lucic-Krejci-Peverley

Kelly-Soderberg-Jagr

Paille-Campell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk

Bartkowski-Seidenberg

Ference-McQuaid

Khudobin/Rask

Frank O’Laughlin – NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

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