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Bruins-Flyers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Bruins-Flyers Preview
Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are among the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but the Bruins left little doubt in the teams' last meeting which club was superior.

It may be even more difficult for the Flyers to compete with the Bruins with three more players banged up.

Boston looks to continue its recent run of success in Philadelphia when the teams face off Sunday afternoon.

Philadelphia is two points behind Boston in the conference standings, while the Bruins (30-13-2) sit just two points in back of the first-place New York Rangers.

Despite the proximity, there was nothing close about the teams' meeting at Wells Fargo Center last month, with Boston winning 6-0.

That was the Bruins' fifth straight victory in Philadelphia, including a pair in last season's Eastern Conference semifinal. They're also 8-0-1 in their last nine regular-season visits.

Boston could have an even easier time handling Philadelphia given the Flyers' injury concerns. Already without Chris Pronger and James van Riemsdyk because of concussions, Philadelphia lost Jaromir Jagr (lower body) and Danny Briere (concussion) indefinitely Saturday in New Jersey, putting a serious damper on a 4-1 victory.

Forward Zac Rinaldo (upper body) was also injured and is considered day to day.

Their absences, particularly those of Jagr and Briere, could make it tough for the Flyers to get a measure of revenge after six different Boston players scored in the last meeting. Tim Thomas recorded 31 saves in the shutout.

Thomas should be back in net Sunday after Tuukka Rask started in Boston's 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers on Saturday. The Bruins came from behind twice before giving up the winning goal with 3.6 seconds remaining in the extra session.

"We don't have a choice," forward Shawn Thornton said of Boston's needing to move on. "We have to get on a plane, go to Philly and forget about it."

Having Thomas between the pipes should help. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 15-3-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average in regular season and playoff starts against the Flyers, posting a 1.59 GAA while going 9-1-1 since January 2010.

Facing Philadelphia could be what Thomas needs after a stretch of what - for him - has been some inconsistent play. After going 13-1-0 with a 1.70 GAA between Nov. 1 and Dec. 19, he is 3-4-0 since with a 2.60 GAA.

Boston, however, will be missing a key member of its defense. Andrew Ference was ejected in overtime Saturday for pushing New York's Ryan McDonagh into the boards, shoulders and chest first, earning him a five-minute major and game misconduct.

It also got him a suspension, although the length remains unclear.

"Ference isn't a dirty player," coach Claude Julien told the Bruins' official website. "He's one of those guys who supports what the league is trying to do as far as minimizing those injuries."

The banged-up Flyers (28-14-4) won't have much sympathy.

Still, Philadelphia has weathered injuries before and overcame its losses Saturday. After Jagr went down in the first period, the Flyers responded in the second with goals from Matt Read and Scott Hartnell, the latter of whom had two power-play scores - increasing his team-leading goal total to 22.

"We ran (Hartnell) back out there, and the team responded," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We needed to get goals there, and Scott was able to get through some traffic."

In response to the injuries, Philadelphia called up forwards Ben Holmstrom and Tom Sestito.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 17 '12PHI 2 at BOS 3 - SOP. Bergeron
Jan 22 '12BOS 6 at PHI 5 - SOT. Seguin
Dec 17 '11BOS 6 at PHI 0B. Pouliot
Oct 06 '11PHI 2 at BOS 1J. Voracek
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
T. Seguin45182442+341645
P. Bergeron46152641+271632
D. Krejci43112738+12210
M. Lucic45172037+78851
B. Marchand40161733+267522
N. Horton46171532+05463
R. Peverley4072532+181611
Z. Chara4472027+285350
C. Kelly46141024+233013
A. Ference4341620+153701
B. Pouliot418917+183414
J. Corvo4621517+141311
D. Seidenberg4621315+172401
D. Paille428513+7501
G. Campbell436713+105600
S. Thornton464610+39000
J. Boychuk45369+254201
A. McQuaid41257+185100
J. Caron17224+0400
Z. Hamill12022+5400
S. Kampfer8011+6400
M. Bartkowski3000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
T. Thomas3120-9-0639452.12.933
T. Rask1711-4-2284941.69.943
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Giroux43183755+02355
S. Hartnell47251944+1871134
J. Jagr40122234+81451
M. Read44151631+12233
D. Briere43131730+14522
K. Timonen4722830+123220
W. Simmonds47131427-25553
J. Voracek4772027+42002
M. Carle4742024+12230
M. Talbot47121022+13211
J. van Riemsdyk37111122-12221
S. Couturier4310919+131203
A. Meszaros4761117+53012
B. Coburn4621012-13800
C. Pronger1311112+11010
H. Zolnierczyk33325-122800
Z. Rinaldo36145-612400
B. Schenn19224-51100
M. Bourdon28213+04201
A. Lilja30033+32000
J. Shelley18011-62700
A. Nodl12011-1200
E. Gustafsson10011+7200
E. Wellwood1011+3000
K. Marshall10000-1800
M. Walker4000-21600
T. Sestito4000-22000
B. Holmstrom3000+0200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov3318-10-4948912.99.895
S. Bobrovsky1810-4-1394792.46.919