To avoid their longest losing streak of the season, the Boston Bruins will have to rebound from their worst defensive showing in more than nine years. They’ll look to do it against a Philadelphia Flyers team playing without one of its top players.
The Bruins try to snap a three-game skid Saturday when they host the Flyers, who will again be missing Peter Forsberg, in the first meeting between the teams this season.
Boston (19-16-3) led Thursday’s game entering the second period, but allowed nine unanswered goals en route to a 10-2 defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the most goals allowed by the Bruins since a 10-5 loss to the Florida Panthers on Nov. 26, 1997.
“We are embarrassed. It was almost like we gave up,” Bruins defenseman Brad Stuart said. “We weren’t mentally or emotionally prepared and you can’t go much lower.”
“We’ve lost our mojo,” Bruins coach Dave Lewis said. “This is caused by a combination of breakdowns, but even in the dark days we have to stick together.”
The Flyers (11-25-4) struggled to generate offense Thursday without Forsberg, losing 3-2 to the New York Rangers and snapping their season-high three-game winning streak. The All-Star center, who has seven goals and 16 assists in 27 games this season, sustained a groin injury Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for at least a week.
Philadelphia is just 0-10-3 without Forsberg on the ice this season.
“It’s not an excuse,” Flyers forward Simon Gagne said. “We are a good team with Peter and we’re a good team without him. You never know when Peter is going to be in the lineup, so you have to be ready for it.”
The Flyers have typically been ready to play on the road this season more often than at home. Philadelphia, which is making the sixth stop on a season-long eight-game road trip, is 8-14 away from home but just 3-11-4 at the Wachovia Center.
However, the Flyers are still tied for the most regulation losses ther in the NHL and have the league’s fewest points overall. Philadelphia netminder Robert Esche is 1-4 with a 3.36 goals-against average in six career starts versus the Bruins.
The Flyers took three of four matchups between these teams last season.
Bruins rookie Phil Kessel, who has been sidelined since Dec. 11 after surgery to treat testicular cancer, was assigned to Providence of the AHL Friday for three games. He will be recalled Sunday night after the conditioning stint, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said.