Both teams today will be battling, but they'll be battling for very different things: the Bruins are fighting to lock up the number one seed in the Eastern Conference while the Flyers are trying to put more distance between themselves and a Wild Card spot and, better still, gain some ground back for home-ice advantage.
Great opportunity to show how dominant the Flyers are, right?
Seriously though, the Bruins are the most impressive Eastern Conference team, bar none. They lead the conference in goal differential by a wide margin--like, an almost forty goal margin. Last year, they were two wins from the Stanley Cup and this year, they've punched their ticket for another shot at it. Right now, they're looking to clinch the conference and win the President's Trophy. They're currently leading that race, just one point ahead of St. Louis. And really, any team that trades away Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin with no issues and can still decimate the competition is a team to be feared.
If you need another, more personal reminder of how good the Bruins are, think back to the last time the Flyers faced them. On January 25th, the Flyers lost 6-1 and got absolutely annihilated in every facet of the game. Jarome Iginla scored two goals, Zdeno Chara scored two goals, David Krejci had three assists...really, it goes on and on. It was an utter disaster. The Flyers have been playing better as of late, though, beating teams comparable to Boston. The level of competition that the Flyers have been facing is much higher and they've definitely responded to the challenge.
Since then, we've parted ways with one of our spare defensemen and chances are that we'll probably see our old friend, Andrej Meszaros, again. Since the trade, Mesz has scored four points, one goal three assists, in eight games. He's been doing well when he's been able to play, yes, good for him, but also keep in mind that he's on the frickin' Bruins, for god's sake.
As for lineups, according to Sarah Baicker, Steve Downie will still be out of the lineup due to his upper body injury though it seems like he'll be returning soon. Because of this and the fact that Berube was presumably happy with the way the team played, line combinations will not change from Friday night's game against the Leafs. Perhaps we'll get to see more of Zac Rinaldo: Good Hockey Player. Would be fun!
Easily my favorite angry person, Tuukka Rask, will be in net for the Bruins. I was going to link to a video of one of his tantrums, but I honestly couldn't pick just one. They're all so good. Regardless of his anger issues, he's had a unsurprisingly great year so far, with a .931 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.01. Those numbers are good enough for second and third in the league, respectively. Also, he's first in the league for shutouts, with seven under his belt thus far. I bet it's because of all that Finnish magic. Anyway, Steve Mason will start for the good guys. He played a really good game against the Leafs. Let's hope it continues.
Ideally, the Flyers will win today in commanding fashion. Realistically, if the Flyers win, I think they take advantage of the fact that the Bruins are coming off a game against the Capitals and wear them down with tight defensive play (lol) and an aggressive, physical game along the boards.
Hope it's more fun than the last time these teams played each other. Go Flyers.