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Gameday: Bruins come to town for final showdown

#1 Boston Bruins (47-17-10, 104 pts) at #4 Philadelphia Flyers (41-23-10, 92 pts)
Wachovia Center - 7:00 PM EST - Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 610 WIP, XM 208
This is the open game thread.
Behind Enemy Lines: Stanley Cup of Chowder

It was an excellent comeback win last night when the Flyers came back to beat the Islanders in a shootout, but when you play the best team in the conference, a similar performance won't cut it. That's the issue for Philadelphia tonight as they host Boston for the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs in the regular season.

Boston is coming off of a win themselves last night, as they beat Toronto 7-5 on the road. Over the month of March, though, the Bruins have been a mediocre team, going 5-5-1, the first loss coming to the Flyers back on the 3rd. They have already clinched a top three playoff spot and they have a pretty decent hold on the top spot in the conference, but it's a different story for the Flyers.

A win tonight would be absolutely huge for the orange and black. Tonight is the crucial one game in hand the Flyers hold over the first-place Devils, and a win would move them within four points of New Jersey and a top three playoff spot of their own. With seven games remaining after tonight, a four point gap is certainly possible to close. But without a win tonight, that feat becomes much more difficult. It seemed almost impossible a week ago, but our team does have a legitimate shot at taking the division crown. With great play down the stretch, they have a good shot at it.

First things first, though, they need a win tonight.

Between the Pipes: Martin Biron and Manny Fernandez started for their teams 24 hours ago. Both will be on the bench at 7 PM tonight, as Antero Niittymaki gets the call for the Flyers and Tim Thomas will be in goal for Boston. Niittymaki hasn't started since losing to the Rangers two weeks ago. He is, however, 2-0 against the Bruins with a 1.17 GAA and a .912 save percentage in those games. He knows he won't be getting many starts the rest of the season, so let's hope he takes advantage of his opportunity tonight.

Thomas has just been fantastic for the Bruins this season. He comes into tonight with a 3-1-1 record in his last five, most recently posting a 42 save effort against the Devils. He's 5-1 against the Flyers in his career.

Boston Bruins Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Marco Sturm knee 12/19/2008

Riley Cote injured his finger last night in a second period fight, so Andreas Nodl was called up to take his place in the lineup tonight. He'll take Cote's place on the fourth line with Arron Asham and Darroll Powe.

Go Flyers.

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