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Gameday: Flyers host Bruins in classic benchmark test

Boston Bruins (37-8-8, 80 pts) at Philadelphia Flyers (26-14-9, 61 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 206
This is the open game thread.
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Behind Enemy Lines: Stanley Cup of Chowder

What To Watch For: Um, the Bruins are good. Scary good. It's kind of hard to pin down exactly why they've been so good. They're just getting contributions from everybody, every night. Offensively, they're a lot like the Flyers. They're led by a young guy having a breakout season in Phil Kessel, whose 24 goals lead the team. They also have a very balanced attach where eight players have at least 10 goals. They don't have anybody with a minus rating. Not one regular player, unless you're counting Petteri Nokelainen. 

Right, my point exactly.

The reason for that unreal stat is the goaltending. Tim Thomas has been absolutely fantastic for the Bruins, as I'm sure you've probably heard. He's got a .933 save percentage and a 2.11 GAA. He's also 22-5-5 on the year. Ridiculous.

The Flyers are not going to be able to take penalties at will tonight. Boston is just as good as the Flyers are on the PP, and it's quite possible tonight's game will be decided on the PP. Philadelphia is ranked second in the league with a 24.2% rating and Boston is ranked third, converting at 23.9 percent. The penalty kills are tied, down to the tenth of a percent, at 83.1.

Boston is one of the least penalized teams in the league though, so as I said, it's absolutely imperitive that the Flyers stay out of the box.

It's weird that we haven't played the Bruins yet, but that means we've got them four times in the next two months. Tonight's game could go a long way in showing us how these Flyers matchup against the league's best.

Between the Pipes: It will be Martin Biron in goal for the Flyers. He's lost his last three, last winning on January 10th against Toronto. He also hasn't played in a week, but John Stevens is vesting his confidence in him for this important game.

Tim Thomas is in for the Bruins, as expected. Manny Fernandez has taken some time off lately, and Boston called up Tuukka Rask to beat the Rangers on Sunday, but he was sent back down now that Fernandez is feeling better.

Injury Report: Randy Jones will return from the flu, while Braydon Coburn is listed as questionable. He didn't practice Tuesday.

Marco Sturm is the only notable injury for the Bruins. He's out for a while with a knee problem.

Questions To Answer

  1. How do the Flyers stack up against the best team in the East?
  2. Does the offense rebound for a dreadful showing against St. Louis?
  3. It's Patrice Bergeron's first game against the Flyers since the hit by Randy Jones last season and it'll clearly be fresh in all the Bruins' minds. Any retaliation?
  4. The Flyers took two days of practice off this week.
  5. Can the Flyers, for the love of God, stay out of the damn penalty box?

This is the open game thread. I'll be in here during the game talking to myself if nobody joins, so by all means, keep me company. Go Flyers.