Flyers in Boston for St. Patrick's Matinee

Flyers in Boston for St. Patrick's Matinee
March 17, 2012, 8:45 am
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While the Phillies are wearing their annual greens and the nation drowns in celebration of St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA Tournament, the Flyers have themselves quite a matchup as well. Lavvy's boys are in Boston to face the Bruins (1 PM, CSN), who are not the same team they were when they lifted the Cup last spring, nor even for the first half of the season. Ottawa now holds the top slot in the Northeast, though they've played two more games than the Bruins, who have held first place since November. 
Boston has lost four straight, and the Flyers' current surge, Pittsburgh's amazing run of 10 consecutive wins, and the Devils' doing well, the top four teams in the Atlantic currently have more points than any team from either the Northeast or the Southeast. 
Wasn't long ago anyone in their right mind would have taken Tim Thomas over Ilya Bryzgalov. How about now? 

Bryz is the owner of a shiny new franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes, though he'll rightly deflect any praise to the guys in front of him. The goaltending has been outstanding, but so too has the defense. The acquisitions of Nick Grossmann and, when he's been healthy, Pavel Kubina, have paid huge dividends already. The team is blocking shots well, and getting between shooters and the goal without too much screening. 

The Bruins, meanwhile, have been leaking like a sieve. In their last six games, they've allowed fewer than four goals only once, and their previous two games have been losses in which their opponents scored six goals while the Bruins managed only one and two, respectively.
Thomas' game has been shaky, and his proven backup is hurt. The team has signed Marty Turco temporarily. Joe Haggerty of CSN New England says Thomas will start today, which is no surprise despite his seeing action in 11 straight games. He'll face Bryzgalov, who could start back-to-back games with Pittsburgh on the docket for tomorrow. Bob's had success against the Pens though too, so Lavvy could opt to give him the Sunday start. 
Boston is a team very self-aware of their need to improve before the playoffs begin, and they're still obviously plenty dangerous. They know they're not playing to their potential. They also know what that potential is, and they could turn it around at any time. Hopefully not today… 
Sorry, but, giving the circumstances, had to play this. 
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