Bruins-Flyers Bad Blood Exposed As Philadelphia Returns to TD Garden for First Time Since Game 7

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Bruins-Flyers Bad Blood Exposed As Philadelphia Returns to TD Garden for First Time Since Game 7 BOSTON — The Bruins have had almost seven months to put last year’s playoff debacle behind them, but the wounds remain fresh.

They exorcised a few demons by beating the Flyers 3-0 in their first meeting this season on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia, but that doesn’t come close to making up for last May’s postseason collapse.

A win Saturday when the Flyers pay their first visit to the Garden since Game 7 won’t make up for it either, but the Bruins know it would be the least they could do for their long-suffering fans.

“With the way the playoffs went last year, there’s still that desire to kind of get payback,” forward Brad Marchand said. “It’s in the back of our minds, but it’s not the main thing. It’s a new year, but obviously, there’s a lot of hatred between these teams. There’s always been a lot of bad blood, and I think the fans really want us to get some revenge and beat them at home. That would be huge for our team, and the fans would really enjoy that.”

Marchand was with the team throughout the postseason, but did not play in any games as he was relegated to practice duty as a Black Ace. He’s made an impact in the lineup this year though with four goals and seven assists.

Marc Savard did play in last spring’s series, but didn’t play again until last week as he suffered a recurrence of post-concussion symptoms in the summer. He also continues to be haunted by the outcome of that series.

“I’m sure every time we line up against them before we play them, we think about it,” said Savard. “We try to keep it out of our heads for every other game, but when we do face them, it’s definitely on the top of our list. The boys did a good job up there so they’re going to look to redeem themselves too and will be hungry, so it’s going to be a good hockey game.”

WHEN AND WHERE

Boston Bruins (16-8-3, 35 points) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (18-7-5, 41 points)
Dec. 11, 7 p.m. (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

NOTES

  • Three of Marchand’s four goals this year have come shorthanded, including a key strike on the penalty kill on Thursday. He and Philadelphia forward Claude Giroux are tied for the league lead in that category, with those two plus Flyers captain Mike Richards and Pittsburgh villain Matt Cooke tied for the NHL lead with four shorthanded points.
  • Both the Bruins and Flyers have struggled on faceoffs this season, with Boston ranking 19th in the league at 49.8 percent and Philadelphia 17th at 50.0 percent. But the Flyers won 68.3 percent of the draws Thursday in Toronto, led by Jeff Carter (13-1) and Richards (11-4). That same night, the Bruins won 60 percent against the Islanders, led by Patrice Bergeron (13-3), while Savard (8-5) earned his first point of the year with a faceoff win that set up a Milan Lucic goal.
  • Philadelphia’s third defense pairing of former Bruin Sean O’Donnell and Andrej Meszaros are tied for the league lead in plus/minus at plus-18. Bruins Nathan Horton and Andrew Ference, as well as Flyers forward Danny Briere, are among the players tied for fourth in the league at plus-16.
  • Flyers agitator Daniel Carcillo hasn’t played since Nov. 15. He missed eight games with a sprained knee, but has been a healthy scratch for the last four games.
  • Philadelphia defenseman Matt Walker (hip surgery) and goalie Michael Leighton (back) are both on conditioning stints in the AHL. When they are ready to return, the Flyers will have to make moves to get under the salary cap, as Philly faces a similar situation to what Boston will be dealing with when Marco Sturm (knee) is ready to return later this month.

Outlook

The Bruins have finally started to overcome the struggles at home that have plagued them since last season. Boston has won three straight at the Garden and would love to make it four at Philadelphia’s expense. That won’t be easy, though, as the Flyers are 8-2-3 on the road this year and 6-1-3 overall in their last 10 games. Of course, that lone loss in regulation came at the hands of the Bruins, when Tim Thomas posted the most recent of his league-leading five shutouts with a 41-save effort in Philadelphia on Dec. 1.

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