Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bruins Must Be Careful in Flyers' Territory

If they're not cautious, the Bruins' series lead could fade away...

The semi-finals shift to Philadelphia and the Bruins hold a 2-0 lead over the Flyers. As dominating of a lead that seems, it's not completely revealing of how the games have gone. Both have been extremely close - the first victory coming in overtime and the second with a late score to prevent it. Coach Claude Julien knows the Bruins need to step up their game to have some road success,
"I know our team is certainly not overconfident. Both games, one is decided in overtime and the other by one goal, so they can go either way. Right now we've got a 2-0 lead, but that doesn't mean anything. I think it's important for us to really go in there and be ready to battle because they're going to be ready.
The two games have contained a concerning trend for the Bruins - building up leads and giving them up. Boston has been able to score first but they've failed to keep up the pressure. Last night, the Bruins scored early in the beginning of both the first and second periods only to let Philadelphia even it up at the end of each. This is something they can't afford to do heading into Flyer's territory.

The Bruins are undefeated at home in the post-season so far, but so are the Flyers. That home-ice advantage may be just enough to swing these close games one way or the other. Coming into Philly isn't going to be a walk in the park for Boston. In a recent poll, NHL Players voted Philadelphia as the toughest place to play in the league. The Flyers are well aware of the edge that gives them. Philly Center, Danny Briere, echoed that poll's outcome as a vote of confidence for his team; saying, “Coming back in our building, the atmosphere will be up there. We all know it’s one of the toughest places to play for a visiting team, so we have to use that energy on our side,”. Flyer trouble-maker and left winger, Daniel Carcillo, scoffed at Boston's home arena saying, "I expected TD to be loud, but nothing is comparable to our building."

In order to keep the Flyers from pulling a come-back in this series, the Bruins need to make sure they continue to hold their ground against this very physical team. ESPN's Matt Kalman quotes Bruins' Winger, Miroslav Satan, giving keys to matching the rugged Philly team, "You have to be hard to play against also, and the same way be smart and not sucked in or take any penalties,". Satan should know, as he's racked up a career 10 goals and 13 assists against the Flyers - including 2 goals in this series thus far. Boston has done a good job of standing tall and it's helped them to come away with the two wins. However, the true test will come in hostile territory Wednesday night.

Thankfully, the players and their coach are understanding of what they have to accomplish. Johhny Boychuck told reporters, "We can't think we can go in there and close it out. We have to think it's 0-0 and at least get one win. If you think you're up 2-0, you might sit back on your heels, and that's probably what they want." Treating Game 3 like Game 1 is exactly the strategy the Bruins must employ - as there will be no room to relax in the hostile Wachovia Center. If the B's are able to hand the Flyers' their first playoff loss at home in Game 3, it would be deflating to Philadelphia and huge for Boston. In order to that, the Bruins can't let their guard down. They can't build a lead just to let the Flyers back in it. In hostile territory, they have to be careful.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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