Richards: Bruins not out for revenge

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:49 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Richards is looking to find the right words to describe what the Boston Bruins must be feeling.

A year after Richards and the Philadelphia Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to win a post-season series in which it trailed 3-0 in games, they once again will face their humiliated victims of twelve months earlier -- the Boston Bruins -- in the second round.

Surely, the Bruins will be out for revenge.

That's what their fans say.

That's what the reporters say.

But it is not what Mike Richards says.

"I'm not sure revenge is the right word," Richards told the QMI Agency on Thursday. "Both teams have a few different players. It's been a while. I don't see it as that."

Then, what?

Pissed?

Peeved?

Out for blood?

Chips on their shoulders?

Looking to make amends?

"Like I said, I don't really see it as revenge," Richards said.

"Now, are they mad? I'm sure they are."

There's the word.

"Mad."

That's a very good description of how the Boston Bruins likely are feeling heading into Game 1, which will take place in front of the usual raucous throng at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon.

No big deal for the Flyers.

This is a franchise that is accustomed to having opposing teams, fans, even entire cities mad at them dating back to the days of the Broad St. Bullies of the 1970s.

Indeed, the boiling grudge that Bostonians have for the Flyers cuts much deeper than just the events of a year ago.

Remember who Bobby Clarke's Flyers beat in the 1974 finals, thereby bringing the franchise its first-ever Stanley Cup? None other than a star-studded Boston team led by the legendary Bobby Orr and future Hall of Famer Phil Esposito.

Decades later, when the NHL was searching for an opponent for the 2010 Winter Classic at historic Fenway Park, who better to provide the opposition than the Big Bad Flyers?

Of course, Richards and his teammates had to wait a while to find out if, in fact, the long-time rivalry would be renewed. Not until Nathan Horton scored a dramatic overtime goal in Wednesday's Game 7 of the emotional first-round series between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, did the Flyers know that it would be the Bruins.

Again.

"Sure I was watching," Richards said. "I was actually hoping it would go to quadruple overtime."

No such luck.

"I just had a feeling it would be the Bruins," Richards said. "I think the Canadiens have a great team and all but I just thought it would be the Bruins."

Thanks to Horton, it was.

"They have a really good team," Richards said. "They're very good at the back end with guys like Zdeno Chara and Tomas Kaberle. They have guys who can score. And they have a different goalie in there from a year ago. We didn't see Tim Thomas last year, but we know how good he is."

True, in joining the 1942 Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams to complete such an improbable comeback, the Flyers did their damage against Tuukka Rask, not Thomas. But that's not going to change the feeling the Flyers took away from that series, one that they will carry into this next battle against the Bruins.

"It gave us confidence," Richards said. "It showed us that, no matter what, this team never quits.

"Even when we were down 3-0 in Game 7 against Boston last year, we could have just said the season was over. We could have let the clock tick away. But we didn't. We took pride in continuing to fight. This team never gives up."

Nor will it this time around, no matter how mad the Bruins might be.

"If they still have a bitter taste in their mouths after a year," Richards said, "well, they have to get over it."

Easier said than done.


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