December 11 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“During an 82-game regular season, there aren’t many matchups that ooze with intrigue.
Saturday night’s game against the Bruins is one of them.
The Flyers, who lead the NHL with 103 goals, will be in Boston to face Team Stingy.
The Bruins, anchored by resurgent goalie Tim Thomas and body-clearing 6-foot-9, 261-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara, entered Friday tied with Montreal for allowing the fewest goals (54) in the league.
Adding more spice to the matchup is this: It’s the first time the Flyers have visited Boston since they won the epic Game 7 in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. The Flyers overcame a three-games-to-none series deficit and a 3-0 deficit in Game 7.
“I’m sure we’ll probably get some extra boos going back there,” center Danny Briere said, smiling.
Briere, who has a team-high 16 goals and is on a 44-goal pace, said the Flyers would have extra focus because of their 3-0 loss to the visiting Bruins on Dec. 1.
“They took it to us in the first game in Philly,” he said. “They didn’t like what happened last year in the playoffs, so we’ll have to be better prepared.”
Specifically, it was Thomas who took it to the Flyers in the teams’ first meeting, turning aside 41 shots.
After an injury-bothered 2009-10 season, Thomas has taken the No. 1 job from Tuukka Rask and leads the league in goals-against average (1.49), save percentage (.955), and shutouts (5). He entered Friday tied with the Flyers‘ Sergei Bobrovsky and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick for third in the NHL with 14 wins.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette doesn’t announce his starting goalie until game day, and he has a tough decision. On one hand, rookie sensation Bobrovsky (2.29 GAA, .922 save percentage) is rested and is among the league leaders in several categories; he also played well in the Dec. 1 loss to Boston.
On the other hand, Brian Boucher (2.40, .911) is coming off an outstanding performance in the Flyers’ 4-1 win in Toronto on Thursday.
Briere’s line, with wingers Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell, combined for a plus-8 rating Thursday. Leino missed Tuesday’s practice with an illness, but he has rebounded and scored goals in each of his last two games.
Leino said it would be “a nice moment” to return to the scene of the crime – becoming just the fourth team, in any sport, to steal a series after losing the first three games – “but I’m sure they’re going to come hard at us, so we have to be ready.””
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