The Bruins beat the Sabres in six games to get here, and the Flyers took care of the Devils in five. Now the longtime rivals will battle for the right to go to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Bruins will get an offensive and emotional boost with the return of center Marc Savard, who has been out with a Grade 2 concussion since March 7. They will also try to ride the brilliant goaltending of rookie Tuukka Rask, while the Flyers feed off the feel-good story of career backup Brian Boucher.
The Bruins and Flyers will meet 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).
The Bruins beat the Flyers 3-2 in overtime in the 2010 Winter Classic and were 2-1-1 against them this season. Philadelphia won 4-3 in a shootout at Wachovia Center on Oct. 22 and 3-1 at TD Garden on Dec. 14. Aside from the Winter Classic, the Bruins' other win over the Flyers was a 5-1 victory at Philadelphia on March 11.
In the postseason, Tuukka Rask is 4-2 with a 2.18 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He was 22-12-5 this season with a league-leading 1.97 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage to go with five shutouts.
Tim Thomas has not appeared in the playoffs so far. He was 16-18-8 with a 2.55 GAA, .915 save percentage and five shutouts in the regular season.
Brian Boucher is 4-1. The Woonsocket, R.I., native leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.59) and save percentage (.940) 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 has not appeared in the playoffs. He was 0-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .917 save percentage this season.
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Milan Lucic–David Krejci–Miroslav Satan
Daniel Paille–Marc Savard–Michael Ryder
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Steve Begin
Zdeno Chara–Johnny Boychuk
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Andrew Ference–Adam McQuaid
Dan Carcillo–Mike Richards–Claude Giroux
Ville Leino–Danny Briere–Scott Hartnell
James van Riemsdyk–Jared Ross–Arron Asham
Darroll Powe–Blair Betts–Andreas Nodl
Chris Pronger–Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen–Braydon Coburn
Ryan Parent–Lukas Krajieck
Everyone is expecting this to be a physical series, but with all the Flyers' injuries up front, they will need to be careful to not get caught in penalty trouble, and they must rely on a very solid defense lead by Chris Pronger.
The Bruins will do their best to utilize their speed around Pronger and pound away shots on Brian Boucher, who has been in the zone thus far but has always been a streaky goalie. The B's will also try to take advantage of some rust on the Flyers' part, as Philly is coming off a nine-day layoff.