PHILADELPHIA – It should be quite a sight to see when the Bruins take the ice tonight. Only the city of Philadelphia can rival Boston for its links to our beginnings as a nation, and it’s always been considered a sister city to Boston in pretty much every category.
So the Flyers are preparing quite a pregame “Boston Strong” ceremony for the Bruins. It started with a “Boston Strong” banner waiting for the team when they checked into the Ritz on Monday afternoon. It will continue with Tuesday night’s game, as the Flyers Charities 50/50 raffle will give all of their proceeds to onefundboston.org. Also, the Flyers will wear a “Boston Strong” patch on their uniforms and a patch on their helmets. At the conclusion of the game, every player’s jersey will be available for auction with proceeds also benefitting onefundboston.org at meigray.com.
Members of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Department will take part in a pregame ceremony that includes a tribute video and performance of “Gold Bless America” by Lauren Hart and video of the late, legendary Kate Smith. Throughout the game there will also be tributes, including recognition of Temple Podiatry students who were on site at the Marathon lending their services.
Through it all the Bruins players and coaching staff will be truly appreciative of the support they’ve received, while knowing all of the time that they’ve got a job to do and a Northeast Division to win.
“There’s been a lot happening that makes it tough for everybody to handle,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We’re struggling to get back to normalcy. The city is trying to do that and we’re trying to do that. But as much as we want to get back to normal, you don’t want to forget what’s happened to these unfortunate people. We’ve said it so many times. The pro sports’ cities have all been unbelievable and I don’t see anything different going on here. We can’t thank the people and the cities enough for the support they’ve shown us.
"But at the same time we have to . . . do our job. This is a big game tonight and we’re looking to hang onto the top spot in our division.”
The Bruins and the Canadiens are both playing on Tuesday night in the race for that top spot in the Northeast Division and No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.
PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRES PUMPED: David Krejci has been remarkably consistent all season, but he’s got just a single assist and is a minus-4 in his last nine games and hasn’t had a very good month of April. Some of it is the musical-chairs game being played with his wingers, and some of it is clearly the struggles of both Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. But Krejci needs to pick his game up a notch before the Bruins hit the playoffs, and start creating both five-on-five and on a power play that desperately needs him.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “We’re getting back to Bruins hockey and feeling good about our game. We have all four lines playing well, and that’s what you want heading into the postseason.” – Chris Kelly on a Bruins team that finally seems to be settling into something in the season’s final week.
KEY MATCHUP: It should be all about the Bruins attacking the NHL’s 26th-ranked defense that’s allowing three goals per game, and that becomes more of a priority when it’s learned that Kimmo Timonen is done for the season with a foot injury. The Bruins have started playing better over the last couple of games and have averaged 41 shots per game over those three contests. So this could be the game where the offense finally explodes for the Bruins against a Philly team that’s playing out the string with a patchwork defense and some struggling goaltenders.
STAT TO WATCH: 4 – the number of players (Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference and Tyler Seguin) that have played all 44 games headed into Tuesday night’s tilt against the Flyers.
INJURIES: Forward Nathan Horton (upper body) is out for the Bruins and will miss his second consecutive game. Adam McQuaid missed Saturday’s game with a lower body injury, but looks like he might return to the lineup vs. Philly. The Flyers are missing forwards Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Maxime Talbot (leg), and Jody Shelley (hip), and defensemen Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Kent Huskins (concussion) and Bruno Gervais (torn stomach muscle). Philadelphia also announced that Kimmo Timonen is out for the season with a stress fracture in his foot.
GOALTENDING MATCHUP: Anton Khuodobin was the first goalie off the ice during Tuesday morning skate, and has taken points in each of his last four starts while going 3-0-1 over that span, including his first career shutout in a 2-0 win on March 31 over the Buffalo Sabres. The Flyers didn’t skate on Tuesday morning at the Wells Fargo Center, but one would imagine that new goaltender Steve Mason will get the call and look to improve on a 5-8-1 record with a 2.72 goals against average and .908 save percentage for the Flyers.