Philadelphia Flyers (13-17-3--29pts)
Boston Bruins (21-7-4--46pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
1. ABOUT THE TWO
This is the second of three meetings on the year against the Bruins… They Flyers dropped a 3-0 decision to the Bruins in Boston on Mar. 9, but return home to face the last two of the season series on home ice… The Bruins are coming off a two-day break in games which is their only break of consecutive games in a 63-day span between Feb. 24-Apr. 27… The Flyers are in the midst of playing their fourth game in their last seven days with today marking the first of games on back-to-back days… This is also the first back-to-back series in which both games are at home in over two years - since Jan. 23-24, 2010.
2. THE TOP UNIT
The Flyers have the NHL's best power play, operating at 24.2 percent, going 31-for-128… They have gone perfect on the man advantage in each of their last three games, going 4-for-4 in that span… They also have the NHL's best power play on home ice, going 18-for-59 (30.5 percent)… Their 18 PPG at home make up 41 percent of their goals scored at home… Claude Giroux ranks second in the NHL with 18 points on the power play.
3. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER
This is the eighth daytime start for the Flyers this season - they own a 4-3-0 record, having won four of their last five daytime starts… The Flyers have scored 34 goals in the first period compared to the Bruins' 28… Three of the last five games for the Flyers have gone past regulation play (2 shootout & 1 overtime), while the Bruins have had two straight games decided by a shootout and their last four games by one-goal margins… The Flyers have recalled 6-6, 220-pound defenseman Oliver Lauridsen, who is expected to make his NHL debut with Braydon Coburn out of the line-up due to injury.
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Claude Giroux - (C) #28
Giroux is coming off back-to-back multiple point games and a four-game point streak in which he has two goals and four assists for six points… Giroux also has points in six of his last seven games and through March has posted at least a point in all but three games (8 of 11)… Against the Bruins, Giroux has eight points (2g-6a) in 16 games… Giroux leads the team in assists (22) and ranks second in points (32).
5. Player to watch BRUINS: Patrice Bergeron - (C) #37
Bergeron is coming off a four-point performance in their last game, recording a goal and three assists… He also has points in two straight games and six of his last nine contests… Bergeron leads the Bruins in assists (21) and overall points (31)… He also has the league's best faceoff percentage at 62.4… Another reason to keep an eye on Bergeron is he doesn't get scored on while he's on the ice - he ranks tied for third in the NHL in plus-minus at +24… Against the Flyers, Bergeron is a career -5 in plus-minus and has 21 points (8g-13a) in 28 games.
"You have to believe. That's the main thing. Believe in yourself that you can make plays; play good defense; play against any other line and get points every night."
The Boston Bruins figured Jarome Iginla would be in Pennsylvania for a Saturday matinee with his new team.
That will be the case for Iginla, but he'll be across the state while the Bruins try to regroup during this visit to face the stumbling Philadelphia Flyers.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli thought he had a deal in place to acquire Iginla from Calgary, but the Flames' all-time leading scorer chose to play for Pittsburgh instead. That's where Iginla will be Saturday, although he is not expected to play against the Islanders.
Boston (21-7-4) figures to have a more difficult task to win the Eastern Conference now should it face the powerful Penguins in the postseason.
"It's tough. I mean, we're talking about a really good player," Chiarelli said. "This kind of stuff happens. It shouldn't, but it does. The reality of no-movement and no-trade clauses, it's going to happen more. It's a disappointment, but you get back on your horse and you go out there and find some more players."
The focus is on returning to the ice for the Bruins, who are in a 2-3-1 slide as they play a back-to-back set of games that includes Sunday's visit to Buffalo.
"We really have to focus on those two games this weekend, maybe try to separate ourselves and just getting back into winning ways," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said.
The Bruins are one point behind Montreal for the Northeast Division lead with a game in hand as they look to revive a power play that has tallied once in 14 chances over the last six games. That goal came from Patrice Bergeron in Wednesday's 6-5 shootout loss to the Canadiens.
Bergeron finished with a season-high four points and Tyler Seguin snapped a four-game drought without any as he had a goal and two assists.
Boston has won four straight against the Flyers (13-17-3) and is 9-0-1 in its last 10 visits to Philadelphia. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in a 3-0 home win on March 9.
The Flyers have been one of the NHL's biggest disappointments with 29 points. Only the last-place teams in each conference, Florida and Colorado, have fewer with 26.
Philadelphia's postseason hopes are remote as it tries to avoid its first five-game slide since March 31-April 8, 2011. The Flyers are 0-2-2 in their last four.
"There is nothing to lose," coach Peter Laviolette told the team's official website. "We talked about that a little bit today. We put ourselves in this situation and there's nothing we can do about it except to prepare to go and play a hockey game and plan to be successful against the Boston Bruins."
Claude Giroux has six points during this losing streak for the Flyers, who are six points out of a playoff spot.
"Obviously we have to go on a pretty epic run - like Pittsburgh - if we're going to get in," winger Scott Hartnell said. "You got to believe in something though. You got to believe in yourself."
The Flyers have scored on their last four power-play chances as they face a Bruins' penalty-kill unit that leads the NHL at 91.2 percent.
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