To call this a big game is a bit of an overestimation.
It's not even humongous big.
Yes, both teams are fighting for first place in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia sits in first place with 43 points and Boston is right up their tail pipe with 41. The most amazing thing about this? Philadelphia is currently on a 7 game winning streak and no one is really talking about it. Everyone thought that trading Richards and Carter would more or less cripple the Flyers, but what it did was allow them to get a goaltender, an aging legend and some bit players to fit around Claude Giroux and may have made them better.
What will be a big boost to the Bruins is Chara playing today. From everything I've read, nothing is confirmed yet and it's a game time decision, but like I posted yesterday he skated with the team during practice and participated in most (if not all) of the drills. Like I've mentioned for the past few days, the Bruins defense has been a shell of itself without Chara. They allowed 90 shots in 2 games and if they give a team like Philadelphia 40+ shots, they're going to lose.
This isn't LA and Ottawa folks. Philadelphia is the real deal. I'm sure that Vladdiefan will come on here and call me a Flyers fan now because I'm not sitting here jerking off over Steve Kampfer's amazing defensive play, but like I mentioned in the Grindin' Gears comments, I don't sugar coat things.
The defense is going to have its hands full today. Claude Giroux leads the league in points with 39 and is 5th in the NHL with 23 assists. His goal scoring ability may not jump out at you, but he's definitely raised Scott Hartnell's game and as injected some youth into Jaromir Jagr. These are things you can't deny, nor will I allow you to.
If the Bruins are going to win today, they'll need to limit Philly's offensive chances. Easier said than done, I know. I expect Tim Thomas to be in net this afternoon and the Bruins may need another Superman-style performance out of him. Maybe I'm being a little too positive about Philadelphia's play, but they have won 7 games in a row. That's nothing to scoff at.
Boston needs it's first line to show up today. They've been quiet for too long. If Boston is going to hang with the big boys of the East they can't rely on Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley to provide the offensive spark. As good as it is to have a third line that can score goals, relying on that line to score goals isn't something you want. You need your goal scorers to score goals and right now they're not. Tyler Seguin has 2 goals in his last 14 games. Yikes.
Wait, can I say that Tyler Seguin isn't playing well? Will that make me a Habs or Flyers fan? I mean, the kid hasn't been playing well. Can we dispute that or is that finally common knowledge? Sometimes I don't know with this fan base. Calling out players should be what we do when they're playing poorly.
I may rant about this in next week's Grindin' Gears.
After the jump, more preview...
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Rich Peverley - Chris kelly - Beniot Pouliot
Danny Paille - Zach Hamill - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Joe Corvo
Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Do You Know Your Enemy?
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