A year ago, the Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to return from a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff series in seven games, and they did it against the Bruins in the Conference Semifinals.
Now in 2011, the teams face off yet again in the second round, but this time, a few things are different. It was the battle of the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds in 2010, but this year, each team has been considered a strong favorite for the Stanley Cup at various points. Nothing has changed now that we're in the playoffs, even if both teams are supposed to get out of the East with different styles.
Both teams are all about balance. The Bruins have strong depth at forward and decent depth on defense, mostly thanks to a few midseason acquisitions. The Flyers are probably a deeper team at both forward and defense, but the big, clear edge Boston holds is in goal, where Tim Thomas reigns supreme.
Brian Boucher holds the same position for Philadelphia, but that wasn't all that clear cut as late as the start of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Buffalo. It's been a roller coaster -- as usual -- for the Flyers, but they believe that if they get simply decent goaltending, the rest of the club's strengths can take over.
Meanwhile, Thomas can obviously steal a game and even a series if he's up to the task, and so far in the 2010-11 season, the Vezina favorite has been up to every task that's been thrown his way. Still, though, even if the Bruins can't match the offensive attack the Flyers have, they're going to need to get more than what they mustered in the first round against Montreal.
Game 1: at Philadelphia - Saturday, April 30 - 3 p.m., NBC, CBC
Game 2: at Philadelphia - Monday, May 2 - 7:30 p.m., VERSUS, TSN
Game 3: at Boston - Wednesday, May 4 - 7 p.m., VERSUS, CBC
Game 4: at Boston - Friday, May 6 - 8 p.m., VERSUS, CBC
Game 5*: at Philadelphia - Sunday, May 8 - 3 p.m., NBC, CBC
Game 6*: at Boston - Tuesday, May 10 - TBD, VERSUS, CBC
Game 7*: at Philadelphia - Thursday, May 12 - TBD, VERSUS, CBC