PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins’ upcoming Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia, which starts this afternoon, could play to Brad Marchand’s strengths.
Or he could be a detriment to the team’s cause, if he lets his agitating ways go to far. With Game 1 at the Wells Fargo Center looming some 2 1/2 hours away, the Boston rookie addressed his approach to chirping and irritating in this series with the Flyers.
“I think it’s just a timing factor. They have a lot of guys over there that play the same kind of role. You want to try to use to your advantage to get them off their game, but they’re pretty good at it too,” he said. “If you let them get the better of you, then you’re going to wind up taking penalties. So I think we’re going to see more of it as the series goes on just because it’s going to be an emotional series. But there’s no way you can really block it out when you’re playing on a good team like Philly.”
Boston’s first-round opponent Montreal had its share of talkers too, and the Canadiens did other things to get under the Bruins’ skin. But the Bruins managed to stay relatively disciplined by putting the Habs on the power play 27 times in seven games.
In order to prevent the Flyers from grabbing too much momentum and maybe keep their power play from revving up, the Bruins are going to have to match Philadelphia’s physicality without parading to the penalty box.
“They’re definitely more physical,” said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg in comparing Philly to Montreal. “But nonetheless, we’ve got to stay our course and just play physical within the whistles and skate away after. And don’t get sucked into other stuff and just focus on our game.”
Defensemen in particular must limit their time in the sin bin. The Flyers’ offensive firepower dwarfs that of the Habs, and Boston can’t afford to have its blueliners sitting and watching while the ones on the ice struggle to contain the Flyers and see their minutes increase.
“They’ve got three lines that are very good lines,” said defenseman Johnny Boychuk. “You’ve just got to make sure to be at your best. Because, especially with the last change, you’ve got to make sure to take care of business and if you have to, get a change if you can. But they have three good lines and it’s going to be a challenge for us. Last series, [Montreal] had two good lines, now it’s three good lines, and that’s what good teams, I guess, have nowadays.”