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2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Picks – Bruins vs. Flyers

NHL Playoff Betting – Bruins vs. Flyers Series Preview & Pick

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2011 EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS | #2 Philadelphia vs. #3 Boston

Saturday, April 30 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m., NBC, CBC
Monday, May 2 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m., VERSUS, TSN
Wednesday, May 4 at Boston, 7:00 p.m., VERSUS, CBC
Friday, May 6 at Boston, 8:00 p.m., VERSUS (JIP), CBC
*Sunday, May 8 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m., NBC, CBC
*Tuesday, May 10 at Boston, TBD, VERSUS, CBC
*Thursday, May 12 at Philadelphia, TBD, VERSUS, CBC

Odds To Win Cup: Boston 8/1, Philadelphia 8/1
Bruins vs Flyers Odds To Win 7 Game Series: Bruins -110, Flyers -110

YES. Flyers Bruins, baby. If I were describing to an NFL fan what we can expect from this series, I’d say Steelers-Ravens. These two smashmouth teams are ready to kill each other. For the Bruins, the series offers a chance at revenge after the Flyers rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to beat them in last year’s Eastern Conference final.

This is an extremely difficult series to call. Both teams are physically punishing at the forward and defense positions; both teams have tremendous depth at forward; and both teams have at least one glaring flaw.

The Boston Bruins are the better team at keeping pucks out of their net, bar none. They have a massive goaltending edge with the stylistically ugly but tremendously athletic Tim Thomas leading the way. After setting an NHL single-season record with a .938 save percentage this regular season, he had a solid .926 mark in seven games against Montreal. If Thomas falters for whatever reason, Tuukka Rask is as good a safety net as any team has.

The Bruins also have a rock-solid defense by committee. Zdeno Chara is the shutdown guy but he has a fearless group of rough, shot-blocking supporters like Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference.

Where Boston falters is in the offensive finish department. The B’s have powerhouse wingers in Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton and fantastic two-way centers like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci but they lacked touch against the Habs to say the least. Boston was 0 for 21 on the power play against Montreal over seven games. How on Earth did it win a series without scoring a goal with the man advantage? Tomas Kaberle has to be better. If he isn’t helping the power play, what is he good for?

Now – it’s important to note that Montreal’s best penalty killer was Carey Price. He stoned the Bruins in a way no Philadelphia goalie can. That’s the Flyers’ glaring weakness in this series. Yes, Brian Boucher came up big when it mattered in Game 7, but he’s still as inconsistent as goalies come. The Flyers used three different netminders in the first round.

The Flyers present a new challenge to the Bruins in that their forwards are much more up to the task of physically matching their defenders. Mike Richards, Scott Hartnell, and even hard-nosed speedsters like Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux are more likely to mix it up with Chara and company than guys like Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri were.

Still – overall, the Flyers just look like a slightly worse version of Boston to me. Montreal was almost a more awkward matchup for the Bruins in that the Habs could match Boston’s goaltending and their slippery forwards really tested their footwork and discipline.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are inferior in goal. Their power-play was almost as bad as Boston’s in the first round, too. Only Chris Pronger seems capable of quarterbacking it and, though he returned late in the series against Buffalo, he’s nowhere near 100 per cent. The Flyers don’t have their equivalent of Chara ready to rock in this series.

I’d expect another war but conquering the Habs may have actually been a tougher challenge for Boston. Look for the Bruins to ride their goaltending and overall defensive superiority to victory over the Flyers.

Flyers vs Bruins prediction: Bruins in six

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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