The Bruins reached the desperation point of their season a little of a month ago, firing long-time head coach Claude Julien after a 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the team hasn’t been without its bumps in the road since, the 9-3-0 run under Bruce Cassidy was exactly the type of run needed to re-establish the B’s in an Atlantic Division playoff spot.
The Philadelphia Flyers will need a similar run if they’re to make a case for a wild card spot, and—despite a host of names you’d recognize from better versions of this Philly team—they’re running out of time to do it. Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Leafs dropped Philadelphia behind the injury-riddled Tampa Bay Lightning to 11th in the East. Claude Giroux and company are not completely out of it yet, but with only sixteen games left on the schedule they’re five points back of the Islanders for the eighth spot and would also need to leap over Tampa and Toronto.
The Bruins had the pleasure of facing a tired Detroit Red Wings team that had struggled mightily this season before choosing to sell at the deadline, and that meant that Boston snagged as close to an easy win as you can get in the NHL last time out. They’d be wise to show the same killer instinct that they did in Wednesday’s first period, though, since everything about this game points to the Flyers coming out as fast and as hard as they’re able—Philly’s running out of chances to make direct headway against the teams above them in the East, and grabbing a wild card looks like their only avenue to the playoffs with the Metro being so strong this season.
Just the facts:
Who: the Philadelphia Flyers (31-27-8, 70 points in 66 games, 6th in Metro, 11th in East) visit the Boston Bruins (35-26-6, 76 points in 66 games, 3rd in Atlantic, 7th in East)
What: a game that probably should’ve been on Rivalry Night, since Boston-Philly is and will always be bigger than Boston-Detroit. But hey!
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
When: 1:00 PM
How to follow: NESN, CSN-Philly, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Rival SBN Site: Broad Street Hockey
Points: Jakub Voracek, 54 (17-37)
Goals: Wayne Simmonds, 28 (17-45)
Assists: Voracek, 37
Other Skates of Note: Claude Giroux, 13-34-47; Brayden Schenn, 19-23-42; Valtteri Filppula, 8-28-36; Shayne Gostisbehere, 6-23-29; Sean Couturier, 10-10-20.
Brad Marchand, 32-38-70
People Who Might Catch Brad Marchand in one of those stats: Torey Krug (38 Assists), David Pastrnak (27-30-57).
- Tim Schaller didn’t skate at practice on Friday, so it’s likely that he’s rotated out for this one.
- No official word on the goalie match-up yet, but it should be Tuukka Rask for Boston (.914 and 6 SOs in 51 games and still, amazingly, zero murders of Bruins DMen on the year), and it’s either Steve Mason (.906 and 2 SOs in 43 games) or Michal Neuvirth (.888 in 25. Ouch) for the Flyers.