15 things to ponder about the Boston Bruins

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The Bruins upset the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the playoffs. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Get out your 2010 NHL playoff bracket. Did you pick the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference to get ousted in the quarterfinals?

If so, you are probably on your way to being very wealthy. If not, and you're a fan of the seventh-seeded Flyers, you've got to be pretty psyched, especially after they easily dispatched the second-seeded New Jersey Devils, four games to one, in Round 1.

A matchup against the sixth-seeded Boston Bruins in the semifinals for the right to likely meet the fourth-seeded - and now top-seeded - Pittsburgh Penguins, for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup? Another Keystone Clash?

Seems like a dream scenario.

But these Bruins are no pushover. Here are 15 things about Boston:

1. Like Philadelphia, special teams were also the key to No. 6 Boston's four-games-to-two upset of No. 3 Buffalo in the quarters. The Bruins were a perfect 19-for-19 on the penalty kill vs. the Sabres, while converting at a 27.3 percent clip on the power play.

2. Rookie goaltender Tuukka (pronounced TOO-ka) Rask stole the show in Boston's first-round shocker, outshining U.S. Olympic hero Ryan Miller. In six games against Buffalo, the 23-year-old Finn went 4-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He carried Boston into the postseason (22-12-5, 1.97, .931). Not bad for a kid who was supposed to be a short-term fill-in for starter Tim Thomas, who injured his hand against the Devils in late November.

3. From one team that can't score to, well, another. The Bruins scored the least amount of goals in the NHL during the regular season (196). However, they gave up the second fewest (191). That trend continued in the playoffs as Boston potted just 16 goals, but surrendered only 15.

4. No wonder the Bruins play fourth fiddle in Beantown. Their series win against the Sabres was just their second since the 1998-99 season.

5. And Flyers fans thought they had it bad. Boston, one of the NHL's Original Six teams, hasn't hoisted the Stanley Cup since 1971-72.

6. Zdeno Chara isn't just one of the best defensemen in the NHL (44 points, plus-19 in the regular season). The 33-year-old Czech native, who plays for Slovakia in international competition, is also the league's tallest player, standing 6-9 when not on skates.

7. To really drive that point home about a lack of offense, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci tied for the Bruins' regular-season lead with 52 points - tied for 87th among NHL scoring leaders.

8. Three players on Boston's roster have Stanley Cup rings: former Flyer Mark Recchi, Shawn Thornton and Miroslav Satan. The Flyers only one: Chris Pronger.

9. Bergeron, Krejci, Recchi and Satan each posted five points vs. the Sabres in Round 1.

10. Boston will be fortunate to have playmaking center Marc Savard back in its lineup for the second round. The 32-year-old veteran (696 points in 782 games) has been out since March 7, when he sustained a concussion. He isn't expected to see top-line minutes, however. The Flyers, meanwhile, will be without top penalty killer Ian Laperriere.

11. The teams split their four regular-season meetings. The Bruins beat the Flyers, 2-1, in overtime before a crowd of 38,112 at Fenway Park in the 2010 Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

12. The last time they met in the playoffs was 1978. The Bruins defeated the Flyers four games to one in the semifinals.

13. There's no question the Bruins miss sniper Phil Kessel's offensive production in their lineup. However, when the American star decided he wanted to be paid a king's ransom, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli shipped Kessel up north to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2010 and 2011 as well as a '10 second-rounder. Kessel got his money (5 years, $27 million), but the Leafs were awful and the Bruins now hold the second pick in the '10 NHL draft. They will likely select one of two Canadian-born stars to be: center Tyler Seguin or winger Taylor Hall.

14. Oh, and while we're at it, Rask was drafted No. 21 overall by the Leafs in '05. However, before he played a game with Toronto, the Leafs shipped his rights to Boston in June '06 for Andrew Raycroft. Pure genius.

15. The Flyers were linked to Thomas, 36, during the season - especially after he lost his starting gig to Rask. The 5-year veteran (17-18-8, 2.56, .915) is currently in the first year of a 4-year, $20 million contract he signed in the offseason after winning the Vezina Trophy in 2008-09. He's set to make $6 million in '10-'11 according to nhlnumbers.com. Time will tell if the cap-strapped Flyers revisit these talks in the offseason. *