The Bruins hold a 1-0 lead in this series and obviously want to extend that, while the Flyers are hoping for a split before the matchup shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Wednesday.
The Bruins exhibited a first-period prowess in Game 1 that they were not able to create in their first-round series against the Sabres. Boston produced high-quality scoring chances and got a lot of pucks to the net and plenty of traffic in front of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
Philadelphia needs to stifle that surge and create its own in the first period if the Flyers are to have success tonight.
Before this series started, the key for both teams was to be physical, so it was a little strange to see a total of nine goals scored in Game 1. That trend probably won’t continue and it’s a safe bet there will be more of a physical presence from both sides Monday night.
After a sloppy second and third period for Boston in Game 1, the Bruins took it to the Flyers in overtime before Marc Savard netted the game winner at 13:52 of the extra frame. Philadelphia skated on its heels in overtime and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette expects his team to come out with a better approach for Game 2.
“You go back and you think about [Game 1], you watch it again and I definitely think that there are areas that you can improve on,” Laviolette said. “We can be better and we’ll certainly try to do that tonight.”
Here are three things to watch for:
GOALTENDING: Boucher was actually surprised by the number of goals scored in Game 1. He doesn’t expect a repeat performance tonight. Boucher enters tonight’s game with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage in six playoff games, while Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask has a 2.36 GAA and a .921 in seven games.
Boucher doesn’t know too much about Rask, but he did watch highlights from the Buffalo series and knows he’s a solid goaltender.
“He’s obviously had a great year,” said Boucher. “He’s a great goalie with great reflexes. He seems to be a pretty good athlete. For him to beat Buffalo in the first round, obviously, he had to have done a pretty good job. We’re going to have to bear down on our chances because I don’t think we’re going to get four goals on him every night, especially the way they play defense. We’re going to have to bury our chances when we get them.”
The Flyers’ plan of attack on Rask is similar to what the Bruins did to the Sabres’ Ryan Miller. Philadelphia will use its size and strength to create havoc in front of the Bruins’ net. Besides the pair of power-play goals the Flyers scored in Game 1, Philadelphia’s other two tallies were goals Rask should have had.
“Nothing I wasn’t expecting,” said Rask. “I knew that was their style of play and they can get pucks to the net. It wasn’t anything unusual and I just have to adjust to that.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: It’s not surprising the Bruins allowed two power-play goals after Marco Sturm left Game 1 with a knee injury. He’s lost for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, so Boston’s penalty-killing unit will need to be tweaked just a bit. Prior to the Flyers scoring a pair of goals while on the man-advantage, Boston was a perfect 21-for-21 on the PK in the playoffs.
“I think we’ve got some other guys who can step in there,” said Julien. “We’ve got guys that can do the job.”
Moving ahead for the Flyers in this series, it’s important they focus on staying out of the box because they have a better shot for success at even-strength play.
HOME ICE: The Bruins enter Game 2 tonight with a 4-0 record at home this postseason and they’re looking to build on that success. Even on the road, Boston stole a game in Buffalo during the first-round series. The Bruins are confident on home ice and on the road.
“You’ve got to be prepared for all kinds of scenarios,” said Julien. “When you’re at this stage and you got good teams left in the playoffs, you have opportunities to win at home as well as on the road.”
Julien added the team’s not intimidated going on the road.
“We don’t fear that and I’m sure a lot of teams are thinking the same way.”
That is exactly the Flyers’ mindset.
“You want to come here and get a split,” said Boucher. “Our focus was Game 1 and we really wanted Game 1. We didn’t get it and now our focus shifts to Game 2. This is a big one for us.”