The brooms will be out at TD Garden this Friday night when the Philadelphia Flyers try to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins in their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup. Game time is set for 5 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast nationally on VERSUS.
Philadelphia finds itself trailing Boston 3-0 for the second year in a row in the conference semifinals. The main difference this time around is it looks extremely doubtful the Flyers will be able to mount another miraculous comeback after Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss as a 125 road underdog. The total went ‘over’ the 5 ½ goal line.
The team came out completely flat in Game 3 and quickly fell behind 2-0 when the Bruins tagged it for back-to-back goals in the first 63 seconds of the game. Things only got worse from there as Philly still had no answer for beating goalie Tim Thomas.
The Flyers goalie situation continued to be a complete mess as once again Brian Boucher was pulled and replaced this time by Sergei Bobrovsky. The two combined to save 23 of 28 shots. At this point, Boucher is expected to get the start in Game 4.
Philadelphia went into this game without its top defenseman, Chris Pronger, who has been out of the lineup the last two games with a hamstring injury and remains doubtful for Saturday. The Flyers did get Jeff Carter, their top goal scorer, back after he missed the last five games with a knee injury.
His return did little to help an offense that has managed to score just six goals in this series after averaging over three goals a game in the regular season.
Boston appears to be a team on a mission after pulling out a 4-3 overtime win over Montreal as a 175 home favorite in Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs. Since falling behind 0-2 in that series, the Bruins have won seven of their last eight games and are 4-1 on the road, 3-0 at home.
The B's are 5-1 as a favorite and 2-0 as an underdog and have averaged 3.87 goals a game over this span.
Center David Krejci, who scored the game winning goal in overtime in Game 2 and added another on Wednesday night, joins Nathan Horton as the top two goal scorers in the postseason with five apiece. Center Patrice Bergeron leads the team in assists with 10 and total points with 12 and center Brad Marchand has four goals and six assists.
The MVP of this series so far has been Thomas, especially in the third period of Game 2 when he stopped 22 shots. All told in that game, he turned away 52 of 54 shots to preserve the win. He stopped 37 of 38 shots in Game 3 and now has a goals-against-average of 2.13 and a .935 save percentage in 10 playoff games.
Defenseman Adam McQuaid is the only injury concern for the Bruins and remains questionable for Saturday after hitting his head in Monday’s win.
Philadelphia is 2-2 in the playoffs as an underdog and the total has gone ‘over’ in seven of its last 10 games. The total has split in Boston's last 10 games, 5-5 'over/under.' Head-to-head, the Bruins have now won six of seven games from the Flyers this season and the last five straight.
The Bruins have clearly been the better team in this series and should be a moderate home favorite in Game 4. Stick with Boston to use the memory of last year’s historic meltdown as motivation to pull off the sweep with a win.