Just the facts
Who: Boston Bruins @ Florida Panthers
When: Tonight, 6 PM
Where: FLA Live Arena - Sunrise, FL
How to follow: NHL Network, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Rival SBN site: Litter Box Cats
Know your enemy
- 23-21-6, 52 points, 5th in the Atlantic Division
- Matthew Thachuk: 25G-37A-62PTS; Aleksander Barkov: 13G-30A-43PTS; Carter Verhaeghe: 25G-16A-41PTS
- Sergei Bobrovsky: 12-13-2, 3.24 GAA, .897 save percentage
- The Bruins looked uncharacteristically sloppy against the Lighting Thursday night. They look to turn the tide and maintain not losing two games in regulation in a row all season.
- This season series against Florida so far looks like this: a 5-3 win in Boston on Oct. 17, then a 5-2 loss in Sunrise just before Thanksgiving.
- The Panthers are playing streaky hockey as of late, winning both in Montreal and hosting Minnesota before losing a back-to-back gamer road trip in Manhattan and Pittsburgh. Tonight’s tilt is the second leg of back-to-back home games for Florida; the LA Kings defeated the Panthers last night, 4-3.
- Goaltending behind Sergei Bobrovsky has been a bit of a carousel of change lately. Spencer Knight was loaned to the AHL, so in his place is former Yale standout Alex Lyon. Lyon tended net last night, so expect to see Goalie Bob between the pipes for the Panthers.
- Special teams will be a significant advantage for the Bruins in this tilt. The B’s sport the league’s third-best PP conversion rate at 26.8%, while the Cats garner the league’s 26th-ranked PK at 74.2%. Boston holds the league’s top PK unit, converting at 86.4%, while Florida’s powerplay is a league-ranked 12th at 23.6%.
- The Panthers have to bring their all tonight. Sitting right outside the wild card bubble, the next month of games will be pivotal as to whether they’re buyers or sellers this coming trade deadline. Regression was to be expected with Paul Maurice taking over for Andrew Brunette and the top-end forward turnover (even with Matt Tkachuk being the team’s lead point-getter), but I don’t think Barry Zito and co. expected it to be this steep a dropoff from last season. Expect these Panthers to try and sharpen their claws against some stiff competition.
- Is Mark Staal ready to go up against David Pastrnak again?
- Still no word on Jake DeBrusk, so we can only hope his progress continues to be positive. This may be an opportune time for Marc McLaughlin to slot into the fourth line, as well.
- I’m surprised that this is a national TV game (technically), so if you live outside New England, NHL Network is where you’ll get to see the game. No word on whose broadcast they’ll simulcast.
We’ll be right back here just before puck drop!