Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Coming off a nasty 3-2 loss to the Penguins, the Bruins have a big opportunity to regroup and reset tonight against the struggling Panthers.
Just the Facts
Game time: 7:00 PM EST, TD Garden, Boston, MA. TV Broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN). Radio broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub
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Projected Panthers Lines:
Mueller - Huberdeau - Shore
Kopecky - Matthias - Skille
Fleishmann - Goc - Rheault
Smithson -Santorelli - Parros
Kuba - Strachan
Gudbranson - Campbell
Yonkman - Robak
Projected Bruins lines:
Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Lucic - Krejci - Horton
Caron - Peverley - Pandolfo
Paille - Campbell - Thornton
Chara - Boychuk
Seidenberg - Hamilton
Ference - McQuaid
To say that the Panthers are struggling this season would be a slight understatement. They've lost their starting goaltender to injury, their backup has proven to be incredibly unreliable, so they've thrown their AHL goale, Jacob Markstrom, into the fire. Up front, they've lost Stephen Weiss for the season, and now it looks like Kris Versteeg will miss significant time after taking a Radko Gudas shot to the knee against the Lightning on Tuesday:
Their most skilled line right now is the Skille-Matthias-Kopecky line, who've managed to find the back of the net a few times in the last few games; two other bright spots in the form of skilled forward Jonathan Huberdeau and rugged defenseman Erik Gudbranson are proof that this team has pieces in place to build around. But that's pretty much it. Huberdeau's linemates, Mueller and Shore, have played well too, and likely will be part of the rebuild, but this is a sacrificial season for the Panthers - they just need to get through this without too many long term injuries, and they'll eventually be okay.
From Bruins practice today:
Remember when Rammer coached the Thrashers? That was pretty neat.
On the Bruins' side, looks like things will be much the same as they were against Pittsburgh, with Jay Pandolfo skating on the third line in Chris Kelly's absence. With Kelly having fractured his leg, I'm surprised the Bruins didn't call someone coughSpoonercough up from Providence yet - this would be the perfect game for someone toeing the NHL/AHL line to get in some quality ice time.
I don't believe this is a trap game - if anything, it's a game the Bruins can use to work on some of the problems they've had lately, boost their confidence, and take what they've learned into a back-to-back this weekend against the Capitals and the Penguins again.
Seguin channeling his inner Bergeron!