Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers: Back Home Again
In the same week, the Boston Bruins are playing two of the NHL‘s most injured teams. First, they dispatched the Ottawa Senators by a 3-2 score. Now the Florida Panthers–minus a lot of their lineup–are coming into TD Garden. The Cats are missing at least nine players, including Kris Versteeg, who was re-injured just two days ago after already missing some time with injuries.
Aside from the indefinite loss of Chris Kelly, the Bruins are a healthy bunch by contrast.
They also beat the Panthers in their only meeting this season before this evening, putting up a 4-1 win in Sunrise. That game saw production from many different sources: defensemen, top-liners, third-liners and the Merlot Line.
By the looks of it, the Bruins are determined to change course after the way they collapsed in rather shocking fashion in the dying minutes of their most recent game. In fact, Patrice Bergeron was at a loss trying to explain exactly what happened with his teammates in that forgettable third, but he did pronounce it unacceptable.
Speaking of Bergeron, he has a productive record against Florida: nine goals and 13 assists in 29 games. His linemates have smaller bodies of experience, but both are pretty good: Tyler Seguin has only put up assists in his nine games, five of them, but keep in mind that he has produced four goals in the past four games–save for the Ottawa game, where he didn’t score. Brad Marchand, though, is almost a point-per-game producer against the Panthers with five goals and three assists in nine games played.
Two top-liners, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, have produced in half their games played against Florida: six goals and three assists in 18 games for Lucic, four assists in eight games for Horton. The two of them and David Krejci (four goals, 10 assists, 24 games) could stand to be more productive.
On the third line, it looks like Jay Pandolfo is going to be back in to sub for Kelly. Note that Adam McQuaid will not be playing tonight as he is day-to-day with an injury.
Look for Tuukka Rask to be in net tonight. He played the Panthers last time and holds a 5-1-0 record, a 0.98 goals-against average (yes, that is lower than even 1.00, let alone 2.00) and a .969 save percentage against them.
The game starts at 7 p.m. on NESN.