The Bruins will try for a third time to finish off the Flyers tonight in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. They have an extra hour to prepare for Game 6 at the Wachovia Center because of an 8 p.m. puck drop.
Here are three keys for the Bruins to end this thing without the drama of a Game 7:
1. Stay out of the box. The Bruins cannot compete with any team if they don’t keep their feet moving and avoid useless penalties. The Flyers with Simon Gagne have proven to be a quicker team, and with a resurgent Scott Hartnell have proven to be a tougher group to keep away from the net. Boston has to refocus its positioning and team play in its own end.
2. Hit somebody. The Bruins have to show the Flyers early on that they’re ready to handle anything Philly throws their way in terms of physicality. That doesn’t mean Shawn Thornton dropping his gloves or Steve Begin running someone from behind. That means Milan Lucic or Mark Stuart doing what they do best — lining someone up for a clean hit along the wall or in the open ice. Those types of hits always seem to get the Bruins refocused as a team when they happen in the first five, 10 minutes of the game.
3. Get to the net. Michael Leighton might be just out of moth balls after two months off, but any NHL goalie can stop shots from the perimeter they can see regardless of their recent activity. It’s time for Lucic, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder and even Daniel Paille to do what Mark Recchi does every night and carve out some space in front of the crease to make Leighton’s life difficult. It’s amazing how a few games with high goal totals can completely erase the Bruins’ memory of how they got those goals. None of them is or ever will be Alexander Ovechkin. Leave the highlight-reel goals for guys like that and muck it up to score some tonight.