|Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. (Getty)|
BOSTON -- Peter Chiarelli might not have been literally licking his chops as he spoke to the media on Thursday morning, but the Bruins GM relishes the opportunity that now lies ahead of his team.
Boston will have a chance to avenge last year's historic collapse against the Flyers, as they'll take on Philadelphia in round two of the playoffs after dispatching the Canadiens in seven games.
"Claude [Julien], I think he mentioned it to them at one point prior to the game, that here’s a chance, one chance to redeem yourselves," Chiarelli said. "There’s an interesting note, I believe in Game 7 of last year, there were nine players in that game that are on our roster now.
"So there’s been over half the team that’s turned over. But definitely the core players also lived through that, so you’d have to ask them. It’s been a consistent theme this year. It’s fitting that we’re playing them."
The Flyers will a completely different animal for the Bruins tobecome accustomed to after taking on a Habs squad built on speed and finesse.
"Well they’re bigger, first and foremost," said Chiarelli. "I think that’s a huge difference. You saw that Montreal stretched the ice, and they’re always coming at you. These guys don’t stretch the ice as much, but they can go to the weak side a lot in their neutral zone, and they’re coming in rushes, but they don’t stretch it as much.
"They’re like North-South, they’re like us, to a certain degree. They’ve got skill players, they’ve got some heavy players. Obviously there’s more similarities between us and them than there are between us and Montreal."
Chiarelli exuded confidence, but he knows there are certain areas in which his team can be better. While Nathan Horton did finish the series with two tremendously clutch tallies in overtime of Games 5 and 7, the production of his linemates was lacking throughout the series.
"They had their ups and downs," the GM said. "They are a top line, they face the top matchup. I’ve seen their game coming around. I see Krech [David Krejci] make more plays when he’s moving. I see Looch [Milan Lucic] make more plays as he’s trapping better, the forecheck, he made a terrific play on the overtime goal last night."
And of course the Bruins woeful power play must be addressed, as Boston managed to go 0-for-21 on the man advantage over the course of seven games.
"I was waiting for that question," Chiarelli said. "I was thinking about this last night and trust me, this is a topic that we have addressed all year, every day. And I see a group of guys that, beaten down is the wrong word, we’ve been on them so much to succeed and have different looks. And you reach a point where you are diminishing returns as far as trying to make changes so it’s been a frustrating exercise.
"Last night, the give away (by Mark Recchi) that… we tried to change the entry [to] a delayed entry, and it didn’t work. Because we’re having trouble getting set up. So it’s frustrating for me to watch, I know these guys want to succeed at it, I know the coaching staff, that’s been at the top of their list and it’s been at the top of your list too, everyone’s list. And we’re going to figure it out."
One reason for Chiarelli to remain positive is the fact that the Bruins have shown an ability to figure things out in the postseason. After falling behind 0-2 in their series with Montreal, the Black and Gold showed a wealth of resilience and made the proper strategic adjustments to overcome the deficit.
"You see this quiet confidence and you try and bottle that and have them do it and display it," said Chiarelli. "Maybe that’s it because I felt we showed it this last series. And listen, this was a tightly fought series and it could have gone either way. And I got to give credit to Montreal because they just kept coming.
"But having said that, we earned three overtime games and we won those three. That's like the highest pressure point in playoffs, and we managed to win those three."
If the Bruins can win four games in any way, shape or form against the Flyers over the next few weeks, you can bet Chiarelli will be more than happy to discuss another successful series.