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Preview: The Tour de Florida continues as the Bruins visit the Panthers

Large bear vs. Florida Man

1996 Stanley Cup Finals - Game 3: Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7 PM

Where: BB&T Center - Sunrise, FL

How to follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Litter Box Cats

Know your enemy

  • 33-26-7, 73 points, 5 points out of second Wild Card spot
  • Goals: Mike Hoffman, 27
  • Assists: Jonathan Huberdeau, 55
  • Points: Huberdeau, 77
  • Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky, 23-19-6, 3.23 GAA, .900 save percentage

Game notes

  • More Florida! Get the Bruins out of this state before they have a run-in with the famous Florida Man.
  • The Panthers and Bruins have split their two games thus far this season. The B’s beat them in Florida last time out, but it was the season’s first meeting that really stands out. In that game, the B’s blew a 4-0 lead in the third period and lost in a shootout. At home, too. NOT IDEAL.
  • Things certainly haven’t gone to plan this season for the Panthers. They made a decent push for the playoffs last season, but fell short. In response, they went all out this summer, signing big-name free agents and getting a marquee coach. So far, it hasn’t worked out. They’re certainly not out of it, but the Panthers are 5 points off the Wild Card pace, with two other teams between them and that last spot.
  • Part of the problem? A 3-6-1 record in their last 10. As the Leafs have stumbled a bit, the Panthers had a chance to gain ground. Instead, they joined the Leafs in those stumbles.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t exactly lived up to his big contract this season. Brought in to be a serious difference-maker, Bobrovsky is currently sporting a save percentage that’s getting dangerously close to the 80s. Not what you want from your big-money signing.
  • Prepare yourselves for a deluge of “shuld of kept Archari” takes tonight! The former Bruin is having a season that he likely didn’t expect in his wildest dreams, recording 20 goals already. There may have been people who said the Bruins would miss Acciari, but not a single person expected him to go to Florida and score 20. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying.
  • Frank Vatrano is having himself a decent season as well, with 16 goals so far. He should crack the 20-goal mark for the second consecutive season.
  • It’ll be interesting to see what Bruce Cassidy does with the lines tonight. Chris Wagner did OK on the third line in Tampa, but the Bruins have other guys looking to get in the mix (Anders Bjork, Karson Kuhlman, etc). It’s a nice problem to have, but Cassidy will likely not want to let anyone get too rusty.
  • These two teams will meet again for the fourth and final time this season in a little more than 3 weeks back at the Garden.