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Bruins vs Flyers Play-in Game Preview

With NHL play in series beginning in August the Bruins and Flyers will be suiting up in their first tune-up game before playing in their playoff series. The top four seeds in each conference will face off to determine the seeding for the playoffs and the first game of the eastern conference seeding series will be between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.

Bruins Year Review

The Bruins were the best team during the NHL’s shortened regular season. Boston finished a league-best 44-14-12 for a total of 100 points. The Bruins were one of the best offensive teams in the league during the shortened regular season finishing tied for 7th in the league with 227 goals. To complement Boston’s excellent offensive their defensive is even better. The Bruins allowed the least goals during the shortened regular season. The Bruins only allowed 167 goals during the 70 game shortened season.

Boston’s special teams are also top-notch as they convert 25.2% power plays into goals. This is good enough for second in the league. Their penalty kill is nothing to sniff at either as the Bruins kill off 84.3% of their penalties. They rank third in the league and will be difficult for the Flyers to breakthrough. 

Flyers Year Review

The Flyers were also a very good team during the regular season. After finishing sixth in the league the Flyers have their eyes on the Stanley Cup. Philadelphia finished the shortened regular season with a 41-21-7 record for 89 points. Philadelphia actually scored the same number of goals as the Bruins during the regular season. Finishing tied for 7th in the league for goals the Flyers will pack a powerful offensive during the playoffs.  On the defensive side, the Flyers finished 8th in the league with 191 goals allowed during the regular season.

Regarding the Flyer’s special teams, they rank in the middle of the league in both power play and penalty kill. The Flyers rank 14th in powerplay percentage as they turn 20.8% of their power play opportunities into goals. Making an improvement in ranking Philadelphia ranks 11th on the penalty kill as they kill off 81.8 of their penalties. The Flyers will give the Bruins a tough task during their first seeding game.

Season Series

The Bruins lost two out of the three games against the Flyers this season but these teams have been incredibly competitive. During the first game, the Flyers defeated the Bruins in a 3-2 shutout victory.

During the second game, the Flyers defeated the Bruins in a shoot out again. A 6-5 final ended with Boston’s Brad Marchand over skating the puck in the shoot out.

DALLAS, TX – OCTOBER 03: Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) skates up the ice with the puck during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins on October 03, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire)

In the last game before the regular season cancellation due to Covid-19 the Bruins finally defeated the Flyers when Tuuka Rask pitched a shutout in a 2-0 victory.

Tuukka Rask Squares up too a shot during a home game at the TD Garden.

Carter Hart started all three games for the Flyers vs the Bruins and seemingly has had their number all season. Jaroslav Halak started the first two games for the Bruins in the season series. Both of these games resulted in losses but when Tuukka Rask got into the net during the third game the Bruins were able to find their stride and get a victory. The last time the Flyers and Bruins matched up in the playoffs was during the 2010-11 season. The series resulted in a second-round sweep by the Bruins en route to the Bruins Stanley Cup Victory. 

Carter Hart takes shots during warmups before a home game.

Key Players in the Game

The Bruins have had a coronavirus scare in the locker room and have responded by shutting down key players such as Tuukka Rask and David Pastrnak. If these players can not join the team by game time then the Bruins will turn to Brad Marchand and Jaroslav Halak to replace their production. Marchand and Halak are used to being in the bright lights and helping lead their team through the playoffs. For Marchand, this will be his eighth playoff run and it is no different than any of the others. If the Bruins are going to be successful than Marchand will need to be productive during the playoffs. Halak is no stranger to playing stressful playoff hockey either. He has been the starter in the playoffs for multiple teams. The Bruins will rely on him to backstop they need to avenge the tragic loss the bruins suffered last season. 

Halak moving laterally during a game for the Boston Bruins.

The Flyers have been fortunate to not have any coronavirus cases in their locker room. The Flyers will be able to count on their starting goalie Carter Hart and captain Claude Giroux to make them go far in the playoffs. Carter Hart is a 21-year-old phenom. He has taken over the starting position will look to carry his success from the regular season into the seeding games and the playoffs. Claude Giroux will also be one of the most prominent players that will help Flyers during the playoffs. The captain has lots of skills and poses that he brings to the Flyers locker room. Giroux, a playoff veteran will bring lots of experience to a Flyers team with lots of players making their first playoff appearance.

Captian Claude Giroux skates back into a play for the Flyers.

Underappreciated players that will make a difference

During the playoffs, certain players will heat up and bring their game and their team to the next level. This year is no different than any other in this area. For the Bruins Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly are going to be important players in any type of success the Bruins have. Kuraly and Coyle consistently score big goals in important moments that lead the Bruins to victory. These two big forwards also provide a physical edge the Flyers will have a hard time playing against. 

Charlie Coyle celebrates a goal during the 2018-19 Stanley Cup final.

The Flyers also have some players that usually fly under the radar but will explode in the playoffs and really push the team to the promise land. If Shayne Gostisbehere gets the opportunity to play during the playoffs and the seeding game against the Bruins look for Gostisbehere to jump up into the play provide lots of offensive chances for the Flyers. Another player to watch out for on the Flyers is Oskar Lindblom. Lindblom recently defeated cancer which is a major accomplishment. Lindblom is going to keep trying to achieve big accomplishments during 2020 as he is hopeful to return for a Flyers playoff run. The Flyers Lindblom will want to have a fantastic first game back against the Bruins.

Oskar Lindblom is impressed when looking back at the previous play.

Overview of the game  

After a competitive regular-season series the Bruins and Flyers will provide an action-packed first game in the seeding games. The star players will battle it out to ultimately try to make their team the highest seed in the playoffs.

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