With time winding down on the 2013/14 NHL regular season, it’s time to look at the potential Playoff opponents for our Boston Bruins. The standings are very tight, so there are no clear teams to definitively say will be facing the B’s in the first round. With that, I will pull a few teams out of the pile and dissect how they match up against our Bruins. For this article the team of interest will be the Philadelphia Flyers (or Philly for short).
At this time the Flyers sit in sixth place (89 Pts) and would not face the Bruins. They only have a one point lead over Detroit and two points on Columbus, with games yet to be played, so they cannot be eliminated as a potential First round Playoff opponent.
On the forward lines these two teams are similar in that Philly has 6 players with 20 or more goals to the Bruins 4 players. Their top goal scorer is RW Wayne Simmonds with 26. Just behind him and his teams leading point producer is Center Claude Giroux with 25 Goals and 79 Points.
Their top scoring Defenseman is Mark Streit with 9 Goals and 29 Assists.
Where the biggest differences lie is in their defensive systems, the Bruins with a far better system under Claude Julien. *More than half of Philly’s team is on the Negative side of the Plus/Minus scale.
As far as the Special teams are concerned, Boston has the better Power Play coming in at 20.8% (3rd in NHL) to Philly’s 19.4% (10th in NHL). The Flyers have the better Penalty Killing unit coming in at 84.9% (6th in NHL) to the Bruins 84% (8th in NHL).
In the Faceoff circle the Bruins have the edge, coming in at 51.9% (7th in the NHL) to the Flyers 50.1% (16th in NHL).
Besides the defensive systems, the most glaring difference between the two teams is in Net. Tuukka Rask (2.04GAA, .930 SV%) is the far superior Goalie to both Steve Mason (2.52GAA, .916 SV%) and Ray Emery (2.87GAA, .906 SV%).
Though I’m sure this would make for a rather physical series, I believe the Bruins would come out the Victor in the end. If the Bruins can’t face Toronto, as I would prefer, then my next choice would be the Flyers. Go B’s!