Boston Bruins Vs. Philadelphia Flyers: NHL Playoff Preview & Prediction

Lion's Den U's TheCoachCorrespondent IApril 28, 2010

Boston Bruins


Philadelphia Flyers

Season Series: Tied 2-2

NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Round Two - Preview and Predictions

I won’t lie. I knew the Boston Bruins were capable of beating the Buffalo Sabres, but I didn’t they would pull through and actually do it.

If you like low-scoring, defensive hockey games than I'm sure you absolutely loved watching Buffalo-Boston. Defense was the reason the Bruins were victorious and it's also the reason this series could be the exact same style of boring hockey.

When Boston picked up Michael Ryder, they were expecting to get a lot more out of him during the regular season, but he was only able to muster 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists.) In game two, however, Ryder was vital in getting Boston back into the game after trailing 2-0 after for the first two periods, by netting a pair of goals.

Unfortunately for Boston, other than game two (a 5-3 victory for the Bruins), they haven’t gotten consistent production out of anyone offensively.

When your point leader, Recchi, was drafted in 1988, you could be in trouble, no matter who your opponent is. Ryder has been quiet since Game 2, and Bergeron was nowhere to be found early on. David Krejci was finally able to provide a huge boost for Boston in game six, helping to eliminate the Sabres, after being all but ineffectual earlier in the series.

Boston has a great chance at moving past the Flyers, but if they can't rack up points on the stat sheet the way Stanley Cup Champions tend to, they are going to need Tuukka Rask to continue to stand on his head.

A team whose offense is led by Mark Recchi, a man old enough to be Sidney Crosby’s father (when Recchi was drafted Crosby had just turned one) and who was led by a defenseman, Zdeno Chara, early on, is quite frankly doomed.

I understand they were playing against Ryan Miller is round one, who is arguably the best goalie in the NHL, and it’s tough to have an offensive outpour when playing him. However, there lies a problem for Boston as they have their hands full yet again with a talented goalie, assuming Brian Boucher plays the same way he did in the previous series.

Dude was phenomenal in the first round and out-played Brodeur in every way possible. If he continues his stellar ways, the Flyers will be moving on to face the winner of the other series.

In the season series, both teams won two games (one at home, one on the road) and two of the four games went past regulation time.

Personally, I am much more interested in the other series as Philadelphia and Boston could become a very slow, low scoring, boring and defensive game to watch. Let’s be honest, nobody likes to watch that kind of hockey.

Anyone outside Boston or Philadelphia would rather watch the the Habs and Penguins in a fast pased, quick series full of action and lots of scoring.

If you are a Bruins or Flyers fan, I apologize, but don’t get me wrong, whichever style of play works for your team and allows you to win is what your team should ultimately be doing. I just could care less to watch it.

No matter who wins this series, whether it be the Flyers or the Bruins, it won’t matter because when the Penguins smash the Canadiens, they will also smash the winner of this series becoming the Eastern Conference Champs for the third year in a row.

No, I am not a Penguins fan, I am merely speaking the truth.

Don’t let the 14 losses the Philadelphia Flyers had in their last 23 games of the regular season fool you. They were trying to recover from the loss of their goalie Michael Leighton due to injury.

I know they almost didn’t make the playoffs because of it, but when their season has been on the line (literally), they have outplayed and outsmarted their opponents which has landed them a berth in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Boston Bruins.

Winning the game against the hot New York Rangers to clinch a berth and knock out New York was one thing, and the way the Flyers dominated New Jersey through-out the round one series is even more impressive and things couldn’t have turned out better with a second round match-up against the Bruins considering they could have faced Washington’s dynamic offence.

A lot of people are going to be saying "the lay-off since April 22nd is going to hurt the Flyers" but all it’s going to take is the first half of the first period, and Philly will be back. At the same time, it could have helped their players get healthy. 

What are the chances of Boston scoring in the first 20 minutes anyways, five percent?

The Flyers have played solid hockey all around thus far in the playoffs as Mike Richards has been stellar up front with fellow first-line teammates Simon Gagne and Daniel Carcillo.

Strangely enough, the last time the Flyers won the Cup was in back-to-back seasons in 73-74′ and 74-75′ and those were the years of the Broad-Street Bullies when Philadelphia didn’t get just win games but they punished their opponent in the process.

A few players on the current roster would have fit in just perfectly with those 1970’s champs but mainly Daniel Carcillo, who is notorious for getting in his opponents mind, will be dropping hit mitts and spending a lot of time in the penalty box. Another bully the Flyers added this year is Chris Pronger, who is undeniably big and slow. At the same time, howver, he is a dominating force in the Flyers own end and will cash in on the point sheet as well.

Things could get tough for the Flyers with players like Gagne and Carter banged up (they suffered injuries against the Devils,) but players like Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere stepped up in their absence late in the series against New Jersey but will Carter and Gagne be 100 percent against Boston and if not can their teammates do enough for an entire series?

Boucher has shown that when on his game and the defence in front of him playing well, he can outplay Rask (based on the fact he out-played Brodeur, who is one of the greatest, if not the greatest goaltender of all time) but Leighton may just be healthy enough to make his return which will pose question marks all over Flyer-Nation if Boucher has a bad game early on.

Who do you go with, the guy (Boucher) who just got you through the first round against the East’s second best Devils, or the guy (Leighton) who carried you through the season after Ray Emery went down (Emery was the original starter.)

Regardless of who is in net, this series is going to go the distance (or close to it) and expect whichever goalie plays a better six or seven games overall, to steal the series for his team.

TheCoach’s Pick: