Bruins Already Preparing for Primetime Revenge Game vs. Panthers Next Season

Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Six
Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins - Game Six / Rich Gagnon/GettyImages

The Boston Bruins left the ice for the final time this season on May 17 after being eliminated by the Florida Panthers in front of the TD Garden crowd for the second consecutive season. A Gustav Forsling goal with 1:33 left in regulation brought an unceremonious end to the Bruins' centennial season.

Bruin hearts had also been broken by Florida in 2023 in Game 7 at home, after Boston blew a 3-1 series lead in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins were coming off of a historic regular season in which they set the NHL record for wins and points but conceded a game-tying goal in the last minute of regulation before Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers 8:35 into overtime.

High-stakes matchups between the two teams has led to bad blood and a rivalry brewing. Well, the latest NHL schedule release likely isn't going to help ease those tensions.

The Bruins will open up their season in Sunrise on Oct. 8 and be forced to watch the team that has ended their last two seasons raise their 2024 Stanley Cup banner.

Florida etched their names into the Stanley Cup with a Game 7 win over the Edmonton Oilers, after nearly catastrophically crumbling from a 3-0 series lead. It was the first Cup win in franchise history.

The bad blood between the Bruins and Panthers escalated during this season's playoff meeting. In Game 3, Florida's Sam Bennett sucker punched Boston captain Brad Marchand, forcing the Bruins' leader to miss Games 4 and 5 of the 2024 series. Bennett was not penalized for the play and received no supplemental discipline.

Following the Bennett play, Boston's Pavel Zacha eyed increased physicality and revenge:

"I think we have to really go after their top guys. To let them know it’s not OK. To go after our captain; that’s not OK with us. We’re ready to be physical again today and be a little bit harder on them."

Pavel Zacha on May 12

Towards the end of a Game 2 6-1 blowout win by Florida, things got out of hand (to put it mildly). The teams combined for 148 penalty minutes and 13 misconducts, the first playoff game since 2015 in which both teams surpassed 70 penalty minutes. Bruins star David Pastrnak turned heads when he dropped the gloves with Panthers agitator Matthew Tkachuk.

Needless to say, there is little love lost between the two dressing rooms.

The Bruins will play their own home opener on Oct. 10 against their archrival Montreal Canadiens. Boston and Montreal will also clash on Dec. 1 for the "Centennial Game", commemorating the Bruins first ever game against the Montreal Maroons on that date a century ago.

When Boston takes the ice on Oct. 8, there will be some new faces on both sides after an eventful beginning to free agency.

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