ECSF Game 1: Welcome back, playoff hockey

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Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 1
#7 Philadelphia Flyers at #6 Boston Bruins
Series tied, 0-0
TD Garden - 12:30 PM ET - Boston, Mass.
TV: NBC HD, TSN HD, RDS HD
Radio: 610 WIP (internet stream here), XM 204, SIRIUS 208
Get the Boston perspective at Stanley Cup of Chowder
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It's been nine days since the Flyers last played in a hockey game, so obviously, the big question heading in to this Eastern Conference semifinal Game 1 is how much the long layoff will hurt or help the team. We can't possibly know the answer to that until game time, and even then, it might not be a clear answer. But there are a few things we do know, and we know that certain things are going to come into play in this game and this series that will likely be the deciding factors.

On my list, the first thing has to be emotion. These are two teams, the Flyers and the Bruins, that can get off of their game when they get pissed off. You can get guys like Milan Lucic off of their game. You have to believe the orange and black will be chasing Marc Savard each and every time he steps on the ice. Tuukka Rask is one of those guys who can get pissed off easily as well:

So, how can the Flyers get to Rask early? You know they're going to try, and if I had to bet, I'd expect to see a lot of Chris Pronger in the crease on the power play. That leads us to the other note of importance in this series: special teams.

Boston's penalty killing is very good. The Flyers power play is very good. This could determine the series. But I think the Bruins power play against the Flyers penalty kill is going to be the more important match up. If the Flyers take the number of penalties they did against the Devils, the Bruins will make them pay. It doesn't help that Ian Laperriere is out of the lineup, either. Philadelphia needs to stay out of the penalty box in this game and this series.

Which brings us full circle here. Piss the other team off, get them off of their game, and play smart hockey yourselves. That's what the Flyers need to do in Game 1. Establish control right away.

At 11:30, we'll have the game thread, complete with lineups and questions to answer. Go Flyers.

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