- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- When the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers meet at center ice, it doesn’t matter if the game is played in Beantown or in the City of Brotherly Love, it’s always going to be a good, physical game.
The teams will play the first of three games this season when the puck drops at 1 p.m. on Saturday at TD Garden.
Boston is 15-3-3 and one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has struggled this season and has a 11-13-1 record.
“It’s a team we always have good games against,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It’s a team that matches up well against us. They’ve got pretty good skill, but they’ve always been a pretty gritty team. They’ve had their ups and downs this year.”
The Bruins snapped a two-game losing skid with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at the Garden. Meanwhile, the Flyers had a three-goal lead on Thursday but eventually lost 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
An interesting aspect of Saturday's matchup is the play of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The last time Rask faced the Flyers was during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, when Boston had a 3-0 series lead, only to lose the best-of-seven conference semifinal series in seven games.
Since that series, Tim Thomas has played every Bruins game against Philadelphia, including a four-game sweep in the 2011 playoffs.
Even though the teams are having different levels of success in this lockout-shortened, 48-game season, the Bruins will not take this game lightly.
“We’ve always taken them extremely seriously, as far as knowing that we’ve always had to be at our best to beat them,” Julien said. “There have been some interesting games. Both teams don’t mind playing each other because there’s not necessarily a rivalry that we have against some other teams, but there’s certainly something there that makes these two teams a good matchup.”