NHL Playoff Odds: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers

By: David Schwab | Friday, April 29, 2011

The ’under’ was 3-1 in the regular season between the B’s and Flyers.

For the second year in a row the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers will square off in the Eastern Conference semifinals with Game 1 scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. The puck is set to drop at 12 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.

Boston needed some late series heroics in its first round matchup with Montreal to advance, including a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night as a 175 home favorite. The Bruins open this series on the road as a 110 underdog with the ‘over/under’ set at 5 ½. They will look to jump out to a fast start in this series after falling into a 0-2 hole against the Canadians.

Last year Boston got off to an incredible start against the Flyers by winning the first three games, only to drop four straight in an historic collapse. It remains to be seen what kind of effect, if any, that may have this time around.

The collapse certainly didn't affect the B's in the regular season after they won three of the four meetings with the Flyers, including both games in Philly.

If Boston hopes to get by the Flyers this year it will need another strong effort from centers Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergerson, who combined for five goals and eight assists in the series against Montreal. The Bruins averaged 2.43 goals a game in round one, but will most likely need to elevate that production against Philadelphia.

They will also have to do a much better job on the power play after the Canadiens shut them out in all seven games.

Tim Thomas has been solid between the pipes for Boston all year long with a 2.00 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .938 in the regular season. He started all seven playoff games against the Habs and recorded a 2.26 GAA with a .926 save percentage.

The key for Philadelphia in not just this game but the entire series is morr consistency from its top scorers. The Flyers averaged 3.14 goals a game against Buffalo, but were shut out twice.

Philadelphia was also less than spectacular on the power play; converting on just 14.4 percent of the opportunities.

Danny Briere and Claude Giroux did most of the damage in the quarterfinals for Philly. Briere tallied six goals and one assist and Giroux had a goal and eight assists.

The Flyers’ leading goal scorer in the regular season, Jeff Carter, remains questionable for this game after suffering a knee injury in Game 4.

Philadelphia’s revolving door at goalie could be an issue, but it will be up to Brian Boucher on Saturday afternoon when he is expected to get the start. Boucher started four games and played in six vs. the Sabres, recording a 2.10 GGA and .934 save percentage, but he did look sketchy at times.

The Flyers were average at best defending the power play with a 77.4 percent kill rate against the Sabres.

Boston is 12-11 as an underdog this season and the total has stayed ‘under’ in four of its last seven games. Philadelphia is 38-29 as a favorite and the total has gone ‘over’ in eight of its last 10 games.

Head-to-head, the Bruins are 3-1 in the last four games with the ‘under’ also 3-1. Philadelphia opened as 130 favorite in Game 1 and remains a solid pick to gain the early series edge with a win.

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