The Bruins tonight return to the scene of two of their four straight losses on the way to NHL infamy last spring and the site of David Krejci’s season-ending dislocated wrist in Game 3 of the club’s second-round playoff series with Philadelphia.
Right off the top, Krejci wants to make it clear that the open-ice hit that Mike Richards used to knock out the Bruins center at the Wells Fargo Center (formerly the Wachovia Center) was clean.
“Yeah, I think [it was clean],” said Krejci before leaving for Philadelphia Tuesday. “My hand just got caught in an awkward situation. That’s what happened. Sometimes that happens. I’ve got to be more aware, and all my teammates got to be more aware, of who’s on the ice.”
That would be sage advice for the Bruins when they visit a Flyers team that has carried over its momentum from last year’s run to the Stanley Cup final into this season. The Flyers, although they lost two shootouts over the weekend, have accumulated points in their last five games and are 15-6-4 on the year — good enough for second in the Eastern Conference. Boston will have to be both aware and aggressive to have a chance of leaving Philly with two points.
This is a Flyers team that can still beat you up as well as beat you, led by Richards and Chris Pronger. Philly’s offense and defense both rank third in the NHL, and their top-10 penalty kill again leads the league in shorthanded goals. Not only will the Bruins have to keep their heads on a swivel in preparation for getting hit, they’re going to have to move the puck with some often-lacking diligence, even when they’re on the man-advantage.
The type of slow start that has plagued the Bruins lately — they’ve allowed the first goal five straight games — cannot be tolerated either. If the sight of the orange-and-black sweaters on the ice and in the stands, and the memories of last year’s demise don’t motivate Boston to get out of the box quick, maybe nothing will.
“I think there’s a lot of bad memories from a lot of guys last year,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid, who also suffered an injury in Game 3 of that series and did not return. “We get a chance to somewhat redeem ourselves, sort of, from what happened last year. But they’re a good team, they’re playing well this year and they have a lot of depth. So it’s going to be a challenge and we’re going to have to be ready.”