Game #64: Boston Bruins (41-17-5) vs. Florida Panthers (24-32-7)
Location: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Flor.
Time: 4:00 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
The Boston Bruins will look to extend their winning streak to five games on Sunday against the Florida Panthers. The Bruins will also be seeking the season sweep of their divisional foe. Boston has handily beaten Florida in their previous four meetings, outscoring them 14-4. A win will give the Bruins a 9-0 record against the state of Florida this year.
A win would also propel the black-and-gold into first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla have dominated the Panthers this season. Krejci has scored five goals, inlcuding a hat trick in his last time out against them on March 4.
Tim Thomas had allowed a combined total of 1o goals to the Bruins in his previous two starts. He’s no longer manning the crease after being delt away at the deadline. Old nemesis Roberto Luongo will be in goal. Florida traded to acquire the former Panther earlier in the week. Luongo versus the Bruins is all always an entertaining matchup given his performance in the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Luongo won his first game back with the Panthers on Friday, blanking the Sabres 2-0.
The Bruins are amidst a three-game road trip that will conclude on Wednesday in Montreal.
All four lines have been producing in one way or another for the Bruins of late. Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson have found their stride. Soderberg has two goals and two assists in his last four games. Eriksson has four points in his last three.
Then there’s Boston’s fourth line. They’ve been performing above and beyond expectations in recent games. With five goals in five games, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton are on quite a run of it.
Boston did take a step back defensively in their win over the Lightning on Saturday night, despite overcoming a two goal deficit to earn a victory. Expect to see Andrej Meszaros making his Bruins debut in this tilt. Claude Julien will likely be eager to see what he can contribute after he saw some of his younger d-men falter.
If Boston can dial it up on the defensive end and turn that intensity into offensive chances, then they’ll have little problem in dispatching this reeling Florida club.