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Florida
Panthers
35-31-16
Boston
Bruins
35-41-6

36 SOG
21 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
FLA
BOS
game preview

Panthers-Bruins Preview

Saturday, 12.16.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Panthers-Bruins Preview
Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins

The slumping Florida Panthers have struggled to score away from home. Visiting Boston could be a good way to help end their problems.

The Panthers hope to avoid a fifth loss in a row Saturday when they try to beat the Bruins for the fifth straight time.

Florida (10-18-6) is averaging a league-low 1.72 goals per game on the road. The team has gone 1-4-2 in its last seven road games, scoring only nine times.

The Panthers, however, have scored 21 goals in winning their last four games against the Bruins, including a 3-2 victory at Boston on Nov. 20 in the most recent meeting.

Boston has given up at least three goals in seven of its last nine games, and is allowing 3.41 per game this season to rank fourth-worst in the league.

Part of Florida's problem offensively has been injuries. Normally dependable point producers Todd Bertuzzi (back spasms) and Juraj Kolnik (shoulder) have been out for extended periods of time, and center Stephen Weiss (shoulder) recently was injured. Plus, veteran Joe Nieuwendyk retired on Dec. 6 due to a chronic back problem.

Florida lost 2-1 to Buffalo on Thursday, scoring just one goal for the second time in three games. The Panthers are 0-for-12 on the power play in their last three games.

"It's frustrating, but at the same time were missing a bunch of people," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "You can't fault the effort. You just hope to get more production."

There is hope, though, against the Bruins on Saturday. Six of Florida's 11 goals in two wins over Boston this season have come by players who are not injured.

Nathan Horton, second on the team with nine goals, has scored in both matchups with the Bruins. Martin Gelinas scored his only goal in his past 12 games in the last meeting.

Olli Jokinen leads the Panthers with 13 goals, but has none over the past four games.

"We have to find a way to win and find a way to score some goals," Jokinen said.

One of the reasons Boston (15-12-2) has struggled against the Panthers this season is because it's 1-for-14 on the power play in the two games. The Bruins have improved in that area recently, going 5-for-11 with the man advantage over the past two games after going 0-for-16 in their previous six.

Leading goal scorer Glen Murray has three of his 14 goals against Florida this season. However, he did not score for a fourth straight game Thursday in Boston's 5-3 win over New Jersey.

Patrice Bergeron scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season for the Bruins, who took a season-high 45 shots and scored three times on the power play. Boston blew an early 2-0 lead, but scored twice in the third period to avoid a third straight loss.

"Our guys didn't falter," Boston coach Dave Lewis told the team's official Web site. "They showed good patience, good poise. And they just continued on with what we wanted to do. And the result was a positive one."

The Bruins have lost four of five at home against the Panthers.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 24 '07BOS 2 at FLA 7N. Horton
Dec 16 '06FLA 6 at BOS 3J. Stumpel
Nov 20 '06FLA 3 at BOS 2J. Nieuwendyk
Oct 06 '06BOS 3 at FLA 8J. Nieuwendyk
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%