Commentary

Bruins know they're not on Easy Street

Updated: May 2, 2011, 8:54 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

PHILADELPHIA -- It's always tough, almost unfair, to compare previous teams and historical statistics to the present-day teams.

Neither the Boston Bruins nor Philadelphia Flyers care that Boston is 6-0 lifetime in Game 1s against Philadelphia. It doesn't matter that the Flyers have won three of the teams' previous five playoff matchups. It's about the here and now.

[+] EnlargeTim Thomas
Rob Christy/US PresswireTim Thomas isn't expecting things to be as easy as they were in Game 1 against the Flyers.

The Bruins hold a 1-0 series lead after Saturday's 7-3 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Boston played well, while Philadelphia was almost nonexistent.

It's a safe bet the Flyers won't produce a similar subpar performance again in this series. When the puck drops for Game 2 on Monday night, they figure to be physical in attempting to grab the early momentum.

"We expect and we know they're going to come out a lot better. There's no doubt there, no secret to that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We have to be ready for it. We anticipate it and we know it's coming. As a hockey club, you've got to be ready to face that. We're going to have to be as good as we ocan tomorrow and come out as the better team."

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas made 31 saves in Game 1 and clearly was locked in. He was able to see a lot of the shots thanks to the solid job by his defensemen of clearing out traffic in front. He knows the Flyers need to crash the net with reckless abandon and expects things will be totally different than they were in Game 1.

"I expect them to play very, very hard," Thomas said. "They'll give us as hard of a game as they possibly can. We'll try to be prepared for their best, knowing that's what they're going to bring. We have to bring our best and see what happens."

The Bruins received major contributions from their whole roster in Game 1. After a 20-minute practice Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center, the Bruins said they need to continue to play that way because the Flyers were embarrassed.

"We're upbeat. We're optimistic," Philadelphia defenseman and former Bruin Sean O'Donnell said after Sunday's practice at Voorhees, N.J. "I think to have success you need to have a short memory in this game, whether it's a good game or a bad game. I think guys were more dejected and bummed out after the game.

"But you get a chance, you go home and you sleep on it. You wake up the next morning and there's nothing you can do about it. You've got to get ready for Monday's game. I think the guys are ready to come and atone for [Saturday's loss] and hopefully tie this thing up 1-1."

O'Donnell compared Saturday's game to the Flyers' loss to the Buffalo Sabres in their first-round series.

"It's funny, the first game against Buffalo we lost 1-0 and the guys were optimistic because we felt like we had outplayed them and the chances were heavy in our favor," O'Donnell said. "We just ran into a hot goalie and we lost. We said we don't have to change a whole lot. We can just keep doing what we are doing.

"We couldn't say that after Game 1 against Boston. We also feel optimistic because it was very uncharacteristic. We were very sloppy in our end. Boston played a good game. We made a lot of mistakes, blown coverage and things that were very uncharacteristic of us. We feel like that can be fixed so we're ready for [Game 2]."

So just because the Bruins completely dominated Game 1, don't expect that trend will continue for the rest of the series. It's the Stanley Cup playoffs and anything can happen. The Bruins certainly know that.

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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