Bruins Can Sweep Their Way Into Eastern Conference Finals With Win Over Flyers

Bruins Can Sweep Their Way Into Eastern Conference Finals With Win Over Flyers The Bruins and Flyers are back at it in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday, and with the B’s up 3-0 in the series, they have a chance to sweep the Flyers and advance to the conference finals for the first time since 1992.

The Bruins are 16-0 all-time when leading a best-of-seven series 3-0. Of those 16 series, they have closed in a four-game sweep on 12 occasions (including the 1977 semifinals against Philadelphia), they have won in five games twice, they have gone to six games once and they were extended to the full seven games once (in the 1939 semifinals against the New York Rangers).

If history is to repeat itself, it’s time to pull out the brooms, because the Flyers have an 0-6 record when trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series.

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (3-0-0) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (0-3-0)
Game 4, Eastern Conference semifinals
May 7, 2010, 7 p.m. (Versus)
Wachovia Center, Philadelphia

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bruins lead the series 3-0 after a 4-1 win in Game 4 on Wednesday.

The Bruins beat the Flyers 3-2 in overtime in the 2010 Winter Classic and were 2-1-1 against them this season. The Bruins' other win over the Flyers was a 5-1 victory at Philadelphia on March 11. Philadelphia won 4-3 in a shootout at the Wachovia Center on Oct. 22 and 3-1 at the TD Garden on Dec. 14.

The Bruins and Flyers are meeting in the playoffs for just the fifth time in their postseason histories, and for the first time since 1978. Each team has won two of the previous four series, which all took place over a five-year span in the 1970s (1974, 1976, 1977, 1978).

GOALTENDING MATCHUP

Bruins
Tuukka Rask is 7-2 with a 2.18 GAA and a .928 save percentage in the postseason. Rask recorded his fourth straight postseason win on Wednesday, a streak that began with Game 6 of the quarterfinals against Buffalo. That matches his longest win streak of the regular season (Nov. 19-25 and Feb. 7-13). Rask has now won seven of his last eight postseason games. During the regular season, he was 22-12-5 with a league-leading 1.97 GAA and a .931 save percentage to go with five shutouts.

Tim Thomas has not played in the playoffs so far. During the regular season, he was 16-18-8 with a 2.55 GAA, a .915 save percentage and five shutouts.

Flyers
Brian Boucher
is 4-4 with a 2.31 GAA and a .916 save percentage in the playoffs. Boucher was 9-18-3 with a 2.76 GAA and a .899 save percentage in the regular season. He had one shutout.

Johan Backlund entered Game 3 for just 1:24, essentially to give Philly an extra timeout in the third period. He was 0-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .917 save percentage in the regular season.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Bruins
Forwards
Daniel Paille–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic–Vladimir Sobotka–Miroslav Satan
Blake Wheeler–Marc Savard–Michael Ryder
Steve Begin–Trent Whitfield/Brad Marchand–Shawn Thornton

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Mark Stuart*

*Stuart has not yet been ruled as a definite, but Claude Julien said Adam McQuaid was "very doubtful" for Game 4.

Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Flyers
Forwards

Dan Carcillo–Mike Richards–Claude Giroux
Scott Hartnell–Danny Briere–Ville Leino
James van Riemsdyk–Darroll Powe–Jared Ross
Andreas Nodl–Blair Betts–Arron Asham

Defensemen
Matt Carle–Chris Pronger
Kimmo Timonen–Braydon Coburn
Ryan Parent–Lukas Krajieck

Goaltenders
Brian Boucher
Johan Backlund

*Note: Simon Gagne (foot) skated on Thursday and could play on Friday.

STAT SHEET

Bruins

  • Miroslav Satan had a goal in Game 3, extending his postseason points streak to a career-best six games, with five goals and four assists during that span.
  • Milan Lucic had an assist in Game 3. He has five points in his last four games.
  • Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist in Game 3 and now has a goal and two assists in his last two games. The goal was his first career NHL playoff goal and it was his second career multiple-point playoff game.

Flyers

  • Mike Richards has six points in his last four games and 12 points in the postseason.
  • Danny Briere has nine points in his last five games.
  • Chris Pronger has three points in his last three games and eight points in the playoffs.

BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins

  • Center David Krejci is out for the season with a dislocated right wrist, suffered in Game 3.
  • Mark Stuart could make his return to the lineup on Friday if he is cleared to play by the team’s medical staff. Stuart has been out since April 1 with cellulitis on his left pinkie finger. 
  • Adam McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury in Game 3 and, according to head coach Claude Julien, is “very doubtful” for Game 4.
  • Dennis Seidenberg had surgery for a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm and is out for 3-4 more weeks.
  • Marco Sturm suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee just 21 seconds into Game 1 of this series and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

Flyers

  • Simon Gagne, who has been out since early April after foot surgery, could return to the lineup in Game 4 after skating on Thursday for the first time in three weeks.
  • Jeff Carter is out indefinitely after foot surgery.
  • Mike Rathje is out for the season with hip and back injuries.
  • Ian Laperriere is out for the playoffs with a brain contusion and a concussion.
  • Ray Emery is out for the season after hip surgery.
  • Michael Leighton is out for the season with a left ankle injury

OUTLOOK

The Bruins have done an amazing job of staying within their system and refusing to be rattled by the things they can’t control. After losing David Krejci for the remainder of the playoffs due to a wrist injury, the B’s will need to continue to stay focused.

They will face a desperate Flyers team trying to stave off elimination on Friday, and they must do their best to match the initial wave of attack and momentum. The B's did that in Game 3 and can do it again.

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