NHL

Flyers-Bruins Preview

Since being stunned by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, the Boston Bruins have had their number.

Now Boston would like to play a role in keeping the Flyers out of the playoffs altogether and boost its own chances of qualifying by completing a season sweep Saturday at TD Garden.

The Bruins (31-22-10) enter the final five weeks of the regular season clinging to a two-point lead over Florida for the East's final wild-card spot.

"We have to get points and get ourselves going and really try to separate ourselves from the bottom pack and gain some ground there," goaltender Tuukka Rask told the team's official website.

Philadelphia (28-25-12) is within four points of Boston but trails in the first tiebreaker - four fewer regulation wins - and has lost the second one, having lost the season series with a 2-1 defeat Oct. 8 and 3-1 on Jan. 10.

The Flyers have dropped the past five meetings but are excited by the chance to gain ground on the Bruins.

"If we can grab those two points from them, that's two more points that they can't get, so it's in our favor," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "We have to be really prepared for that game and start right from the drop of the puck."

The Bruins own a 16-3-1 record against the Flyers, including a 2011 playoff sweep en route to the Stanley Cup, since blowing a 3-0 series lead - and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 - against Philadelphia in 2010.

Still, the Flyers are very much looking forward to getting another shot at them.

"They are fun games to be a part of, but this is a time of year where playing hockey is extra fun just because there is so much on the line," goaltender Steve Mason said. "Especially for us right now when every game is a must-win."

Both clubs are 2-0-1 in their last three games, with the losses coming to Calgary. Philadelphia followed its overtime defeat with a 3-1 win over St. Louis on Thursday, the same night Boston fell to the Flames 4-3 in a shootout.

The Bruins have lost all seven of their shootouts since the beginning of December. They've converted a league-worst 13.0 percent of their shots in tiebreakers (6 of 46), scoring once in the last 26 attempts.

"It's such an emotional difference between winning and losing in a shootout, and this season we haven't been really good at them," Rask said.

It's hard to blame Rask, who stopped Calgary's first six attempts before giving up back-to-back goals. He allowed one in a 12-round shootout loss to Edmonton on Feb. 18.

"Tuukka has been really good in the shootout giving us a chance to win, but at the end of the day it's up to us to make sure it doesn't even get there with the opportunities we're creating," winger Milan Lucic said. "We have to do a better job of bearing down."

Rask has started all five games between these clubs since the beginning of last season and won them all, posting a 1.57 goals-against average.

Mason left the last meeting with a knee injury and eventually needed surgery, but he's been solid in four games since returning with a 1.96 GAA. He is 7-1-2 with a 1.45 GAA in his last 12, but only two of those games came away from home.

He's won only once in 15 road starts, and Philadelphia has one of the league's worst road records since Christmas at 3-8-3.

The Flyers have killed a dreadful 70.4 percent of opponents' power plays on the road. Boston is also struggling in that department, with its last eight opponents going 8 for 24.

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