The Bruins and Flyers are set to clash once again in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight season. Last spring, it was the Flyers advancing to the Conference finals despite trailing the series 3-0.
This year is different. The B’s have Vezina Trophy finalist Tim Thomas between the pipes and a balanced offensive attack that features newcomers Nathan Horton, Brad Marchand, Rich Perverley, Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell — five guys who weren’t involved in that playoff collapse a year ago that were key contributors in the B’s recent series win over the Canadiens.
Helping protect Thomas is Tomas Kaberle, who many labeled to be the biggest trade deadline pickup across the entire league. Unfortunately, Kaberle has not been able to help out on the power play the way Boston was hoping, as the team went 0-21 on the man-advantage against the Habs.
Luckily for the former Maple Leaf, there’s no better time than now for the smooth-skating puck mover to redeem himself as the B’s will need all the offensive firepower they can get against the potent Flyers, who are led by the red-hot Danny Briere. The speedy sniper was tied with Teemu Selanne for the league lead with six goals in the opening round.
Labeled by many “experts” as the best all-around team remaining in the playoffs, the Bruins will need to stay healthy. As seen in last year’s postseason round against the Flyers, the B’s were unable to win after center David Krejci was bounced from the third contest with a broken wrist. Last week, the B’s dropped Game 2 to the Habs when captain Zdeno Chara was sidelined with dehydration. Clearly, a healthy Bruins team is a dangerous Bruins team.