The Philadelphia Flyers have the worst record in the NHL, but that didn’t stop them from being one of the most active teams leading up to the trading deadline.
Philadelphia shook up its roster with several moves over the past two weeks, starting with the trade of star center Peter Forsberg to Nashville on Feb. 15. The Flyers (16-37-10) also acquired defenseman Lasse Kukkonen and a third-round pick from Chicago for forward Kyle Calder on Monday night.
The following day as the deadline approached, Philadelphia sent a second-round pick to Buffalo for Biron, who was the backup for the Sabres but is expected to see plenty of time in net for Philadelphia, which has struggled with goaltending all season.
“This is an opportunity for us to acquire a goaltender that we really like,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “He certainly would have been on our list come July 1. This is just an opportunity for us to jump the gun and get our hands on him quicker.”
Biron, who is 12-4-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average this season, can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and was seeking a trade after losing the No. 1 job in Buffalo to Ryan Miller. He could immediately become the starter with the Flyers because Antero Niittymaki has only nine wins in 48 games while Robert Esche has played just 18 games and is likely to find himself as the odd man out.
The Bruins won’t be happy if Biron gets the start on Thursday. Boston won the first two meetings with Philadelphia this season, with Esche and Niittymaki each taking a loss. Biron is 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average against the Bruins this season and has won his last five starts against them.
Poor goaltending is one reason the Flyers have slumped to the bottom of the league with just 42 points. They’ve lost five straight—a streak that began with a 6-3 loss to Boston—and fell 6-5 in overtime to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game road trip.
Philadelphia has gone 0-for-15 on the power play during the losing streak.
The Bruins (30-28-4) have lost two straight following a four-game winning streak and made separate deals for two defensemen on Tuesday. Boston acquired Aaron Ward from the Rangers for Paul Mara and got Dennis Wideman from St. Louis for Brad Boyes.
Ward was a member of Stanley Cup champion Carolina last season and also won two Cups with Detroit. Wideman had five goals and 17 assists for the Blues this season, his second in the NHL.
“Both these moves were to shore up our defense,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “We’ve given up a lot of goals and we felt these were moves that put us in the right direction.”
Boston has allowed 10 goals in its last two games and 224 for the season, third-most in the NHL. Only Philadelphia (241) and Washington (225) have given up more, and those teams have the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins, who finish a three-game homestand on Saturday against Montreal, are eight points out of a playoff spot.