Game Day: Panthers-Bruins; Battle of the Goaltenders

The Florida Panthers look to get a second crucial win in back-to-back nights as they head to TD Garden, to take on the Boston Bruins. This will be the last game before the all star break for both teams.

The Panthers currently sit 6 points back of 8th spot in the East. They managed to secure a massive 4-3 victory Tuesday night, as Mike Weaver scored a rare goal late in the third for the victory, the Panthers relinquished a 3-1 lead before Weavers goal, which ironically was the only shot by the Panthers in the third. Tomas Vokoun preserved the victory as he turned faced 35 shots, turning away 32, while the Panthers only tested Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist a mere 17 times.

Tonight’s game will be the third on a long 6-game road trip, the longest of the season for the Panthers. The currently have a record of 1-1 after a disappointing 5-2 loss to the surprisingly hot New Jersey Devils squad.

The Bruins on the other hand will look to bounce back from a 2-0 shutout loss Monday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. They will try to finish strong before the all star game after struggling to find consistency in their games, as they have gone 3-3 in their last 6 games.

The Panthers will try to hold off the sweep by the Bruins in the season series, as Boston has had Florida’s number all season by taking a 3-0 lead in the series so far. The last meeting between the two clubs was on December 27th, as the Bruins beat Florida with a 3-2 shootout victory.

The last time the two clubs faced off in Boston, the Bruins shutout Florida by a 4-0 tally courtesy of Tuukka Rask, and a hat-trick Milan Lucic.

The game tonight will no doubt be a tight, goaltending duel as Panthers’ Tomas Vokoun has gone 2-0-2 in his last 4 stars, while Bruins’ Tim Thomas has gone 3-1-0 in his last four. It is also important to note that five of the last 10 games between the two clubs have resulted in shutouts, including a pair of 1-0 victories by the Panthers against the Bruins last season. Three of the last seven have ended in shootouts, with the Bruins being the victors in the last two.

Breakdown:
Boston Bruins: (27-15-7, 61 PTS) (12-9-3 Home)
Florida Panthers: (22-21-5, 49 PTS) (11-13-0 Away)

Power Play: BOS (17.7%, 17rd NHL) – FLA (11.4%, 30th NHL)
Penalty Kill: BOS (84.9%, 3rd NHL) – FLA (84.0%, 6th NHL)

GF/GA: BOS (149GF, 7th NHL / 106 GA, 1st NHL) – FLA (128GF, 22nd NHL / 126GA, 9th NHL)

Key Injuries:

Boston Bruins: Marc Savard (concussion)
Florida Panthers: Bryan McCabe (facial surgery), Mark Cullen (Achilles surgery)

Adam Reid
Adam_mapleleafs@hotmail.com