Game #61: Florida Panthers (23-31-7) vs. Boston Bruins (38-17-5)
Location: TD Garden, Boston
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
The Boston Bruins got a much needed day off Monday following back-to-back games over the weekend. Tuesday they’ll welcome old friend Tim Thomas and the Flordia Panthers into TD Garden for an Atlantic Division tilt.
This meeting will mark the fourth of five slated contests between the two sides this season. Boston won each of the three previous games. The black-and-gold outscored Florida in those games 13-5. Tuukka Rask absolutely dominated them as well. He posted a 3-0 record, a .940 save percentage and a stingy 1.67 goals against average in the victories.
Tuesday night presents a perfect opportunity for Boston’s top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla to feast on a Panthers club that has been brutally pitiful in the defensive department in recent games. Florida has allowed an eye-popping 19 goals in their last four outings.
Lucic has notched 12 points in his last six games and Iginla has points in four of his last five games. Krejci, the facilitator, is fresh off of a two assist perfromance against the Rangers.
Tim Thomas was torched for six goals in his last visit to the Garden back on Jan. 28. Boston’s top line combined for nine points in their 6-2 victory. Both Lucic and Krejci scored twice in the game.
Dougie Hamilton and Loui Eriksson, along with Boston’s fourth line, are worth watching as well. Hamilton recorded his first career three-point game against the Rangers, Eriksson had two assists, and the gritty work of the grinding trio resulted in two goals for Gregory Campbell.
The Panthers have dropped seven of their last 10 games and that comes as good news for Boston. Claude Julien‘s club has looked sluggish in returning from the Sochi Winter Olympic break. Granted the Bruins did hang six goals on the Rangers Sunday night, it was a far cry from the near flawless hockey we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
Zdeno Chara appears to be rundown, Boston’s young defenseman have been inconsistant in their own end, and the injuries to Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg seem to be catching up to them. They’ve allowed far to many scoring oppurtunites and have committed an abundance of turnovers in their last three games. They even allowed an alarming 42 shots on Sunday.
You better believe Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli will be keeping close tabs on the performance of his defensive corps with Wednesday’s trade deadline looming. Rumors have been running rampant surrounding the club.
Veteran blue-liners Stephane Robidas of the Dallas Stars and Chris Phillips of the Ottawa Senators are two guys rumored to be on Boston’s radar. A trade could be realistically on the horizon if Chiarelli is underwhelmed in any way following Tuesday’s showing.