Bruins Unsure What to Expect from New-Look Flyers, But Respect Ability of Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Bryzgalov

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Bruins Unsure What to Expect from New-Look Flyers, But Respect Ability of Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Bryzgalov BOSTON — The Bruins exorcised their demons with a second-round sweep of the Flyers last spring.
In the summer, the Flyers simply showed much of that team the exit.

Philadelphia underwent a radical overhaul this offseason, trading away captain Mike Richards and high-scoring forward Jeff Carter in a pair of blockbuster deals and signing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51-million deal.

Gone too are agitator Dan Carcillo, veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell and skilled forwards Ville Leino, Kris Versteeg and Nikolay Zherdev, among others. In all, 19 of the 33 players listed on the expanded playoff roster when the Flyers completed their comeback from three games down to stun the Bruins in 2010 are longer playing in Philadelphia.

That makes Thursday's opener a journey into the unknown for the Bruins, who will get the first crack at the revamped Philly roster after Boston raises its Stanley Cup banner to the Garden rafters.

"I have no idea what's going to happen with their team," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It's not really that important to me. It's more about what's going to happen with us, but even as an outsider, I don't know. I know that they feel they've made some right decisions and they're the only ones who know whether it's good or bad and whether it's going to make them better. 

"I know we're going to see a different team and goaltending was the biggest thing they seemed to feel they've addressed," Julien added. "They had a lot of depth up front and there's still some pretty good players there even though they lost some real good ones as well, but they replaced them and [have] maybe a different look and we'll have to wait and see."

Bryzgalov could be the big difference maker, as Philadelphia's Achilles' heel has long been its suspect goaltending.

"I think the biggest thing for them is they got a new goalie, and that's where they struggled a little bit in the past," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "Bryzgalov is coming in and he's a good goalie. I know when we played against him with Phoenix last year he made a lot of big saves.

"We got a couple lucky, easy goals against them last year that I wouldn't expect to happen this year," Marchand added.

The Bruins expect beating Bryzgalov to be more of a challenge than Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky proved in the playoffs, but they'll try to take the same approach against the Flyers' new netminder.

"We're going to have to bring our game to them and make some traffic in front of him," Bruins center David Krejci said. "He's a good goalie. I'm sure they have a little better goalie than they did last year, so we've got to make some traffic and when we get our chances we have to make sure we can bury them and get some goals on the board."

In addition to Bryzgalov, the Flyers have also added forwards Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Maxime Talbot, as well as bringing five-time NHL scoring leader and former Hart Trophy winner Jaromir Jagr back to North America.

"[It will] be a little different because [Richards and Carter] were the makeup of their team the last few years, the core guys," Marchand said. "They lost some great players, but they have Jagr coming in and Simmonds and Voracek, who are all great players. It's a little different dynamic, but still great players."

Marchand has never played against Jagr, but he's eager to test himself against the veteran star.

"I'm excited," Marchand said. "I've seen him play before. The way he controls the puck and controls the game, he's so big and strong that he's tough to play against. We're going to have to do a job on him."

Might that job include the master agitator Marchand reaching into his bag of tricks to get Jagr off his game?

"I can't chirp a guy who has his stats," Marchand said. "I'll just have to try to hit him or something."

© 2015 New England Sports Network

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