I love the Flyers, and no other team. I want us to win a Cup, and there is no other team that I accept as an alternative. There are 29 other fanbases that feel the same way about their own club. We all have one goal, and we all have an effect on one another. Since our Fansided Network is doing a 30 day preview to get ready for the 2011-12 season, I’ll be looking at how much of a threat each team is to our own Cup hopes. Today, we have the Boston Bruins.
En route to winning the Stanley Cup last season, the Boston Bruins completely steamrolled our Philadelphia Flyers. The way that they dismantled us is the primary reason for all of the changes we underwent in the offseason. We are completely following their formula for success: stud goalie, tough defense, physical players, and a group scoring effort. This season, we’ll get 4 opportunities to see how well we match up with the champs, including their home opener on October 6. After that, we see them on December 17, which gives us a chance to see how the team is coming together after a few weeks together. January 22nd is the third matchup, in which there should be no more excuses regarding chemistry. And March 17th is the final matchup, during the stretch of games where playoff positions are determined.
I don’t even have to reach far back into history to look at this rivalry. The last two playoffs have really reignited things between the Flyers and B’s. We’ll always have the amazing 3-0 comeback in 2010, but they got the ultimate revenge in 2011 with a 4-0 sweep. They don’t have any really significant roster changes. Marc Savard is still dealing with post-concussion syndrome, and will likely miss the entire season. But they went through the playoffs last year without him, so it won’t be much of an adjustment. Tim Thomas is still really old, but if he’s healthy, he’s one of the best netminders in the game (if not the best). Zdeno Chara is a force that can only be defeated with more force. Unfortunately, nobody was able to overcome that last year.
Milan Lucic is the most popular name in the forward department. They have other guys that can chip in goals as well. While Thomas, Chara and Lucic get a ton of the credit, this group won because they played as a team. Every line contributed to the scoring a bit. Every line played tough, physical defense. Everyone played an important role during their Cup run. On paper, they were up against a far superior opponent in the Vancouver Canucks. Yet, by the end of the series, they had imposed their will and forced the games to be played at their pace.
Like most seasons, the games against Boston will be circled on most fans calendars. It’s never and easy matchup. And as I highlighted above, each game comes at a different point in the season, giving us a good chance to see how the Orange and Black are coming along. I hope it doesn’t end during the regular season though. One more playoff matchup, regardless of what round it’s in, would be a lot of fun.
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Tags: 2011 Playoffs 2011-12 Nhl Season 2011-12 Season Boston Bruins Champions Marc Savard Milan Lucic NHL Philadelphia Flyers Previews Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Champions Tim Thomas Vancouver Canucks Zdeno Chara