Flyers seek payback for January defeat vs. Bruins

Scott Hartnell (center) celebrates his goal. He said "everyone benefited" from an unscheduled off day.
Scott Hartnell (center) celebrates his goal. He said "everyone benefited" from an unscheduled off day. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 31, 2014

The Flyers will try to avenge one of their ugliest losses of the season Sunday afternoon when they host arguably the NHL's best team, the Boston Bruins.

Boston is on a 14-0-1 run and hasn't lost a road game in regulation since Jan. 9, a 4-2 defeat in Los Angeles.

The Bruins scored three power-play goals, chased starter Flyers goalie Steve Mason, and rolled to a 6-1 win when the teams met at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 25.

"Obviously our last game against them wasn't as planned," captain Claude Giroux said. "But we need to be more responsible and take that challenge and have fun with it."

The Flyers used the one-sided loss to Boston as a wake-up call. In the 20 games since that embarrassing loss, they have gone 14-5-1 and climbed into the playoff hunt. They are one point behind the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

"It's going to be a good challenge for us," Giroux said. "Every time we have a good team coming in town, I think we take that as a challenge and start playing well."

In recent weeks, the Flyers have defeated three NHL powers at the Wells Fargo Center: Pittsburgh, Chicago, and St. Louis.

Boston, which got two goals from Jarome Iginla and clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 4-2 win over Washington on Saturday, is No. 1 in the league in goals allowed (2.4 per game), and No. 2 in goals scored (3.18 per game).

"We know what kind of game they bring, and we're going to have to match their intensity," said Mason (2.53 goals-against average, .916 save percentage). He is expected to face Tuukka Rask (2.01 GAA, .931), a strong candidate for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender.

Sunday's matinee marks the return of former Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was traded to Boston for a conditional third-round draft pick - it could become a second-rounder - on March 8. In eight games with the Bruins, Meszaros has a goal, three assists, and a plus-6 rating.

Breakaways. Steve Downie (upper-body injury) skated at practice Saturday and said he was close to being ready, but coach Craig Berube said the winger won't play Sunday. Berube said he will probably use the same lines as he did in Friday's 4-2 win over Toronto. . . . In the last 10 games, the Flyers have killed 36 of 37 penalties. . . . Entering Saturday, the Flyers and Colorado were the only teams with five 20-goal scorers.

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