The Bruins hope to get back on track in their push for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots when they visit the Flyers on Saturday in the final meeting between the teams this season.
Boston (32-30-5) has dropped five of its last seven games to fall to 12th in the tightly contested East, but are still very much in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Bruins are trying to avoid missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
The Bruins have mustered just one goal in back-to-back losses, and are averaging 2.1 goals over the last seven contests. Boston only avoided being shut out in Thursday’s 2-1 defeat to the Minnesota Wild because of Brandon Bochenski’s goal with 1:36 left in the game.
“We’ve encountered some pretty hot goaltending the last few games,” Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward said. “The biggest mistake we could make right now would be to worry where these losses put us in the standings.”
Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel—the Bruins’ top three centers—have not scored a goal in six straight games. Boston’s offense took another blow recently with the news that two of its top forwards, Glen Murray (lower body) and P.J. Axelsson (broken wrist), are out indefinitely.
The Bruins haven’t had as many losses away from home recently, going 7-2-0 in their last nine road games following a seven-game losing streak. They’ll be facing a Philadelphia squad that is an NHL-worst 6-19-7 at home.
The Flyers (18-38-11) are concluding a three-game stretch at the Wachovia Center after falling 2-1 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Dmitry Afanasenkov scored first for Philadelphia, but the Panthers scored two unanswered, including Chris Gratton’s fluky game-winner.
“We had enough quality chances to win the hockey game but I think if we want to be a really good team, that’s not good enough,” said Flyers coach John Stevens, who squad is last in the NHL with 47 points.
Philadelphia hopes acquiring Biron from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline will make them a better team in the future. The veteran goaltender beat Boston in his first start with the Flyers, 4-3 in overtime on March 1. He is 4-0-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average versus the Bruins this season and has won his last six starts against them.
Philadelphia lost the other two meetings this season, and leading scorer Simon Gagne has no points in the season series.
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas was in net for all three matchups and will likely make his 100th career appearance on Saturday.
The Bruins have lost just twice—one in overtime—in their last nine visits to Philadelphia.