PANTHERS (5-9-1) at BRUINS (8-7-2)
Last 10 -- Panthers 4-5-1; Bruins 5-3-2
Season series -- This is the first of four meetings this season. In 2008-09, Boston won three of four contests, taking two on home ice and one on the road, and outscoring the Panthers 14-5. Michael Ryder (2-2), David Krejci (1-3) and Marc Savard (1-3) each scored 4 points for Boston, and Tim Thomas has two victories. Radek Dvorak scored twice for Florida.
Big story -- The Bruins are chugging along without key components Marc Savard and Milan Lucic, and enter with a 6-4-1 home record and a two-game winning streak. The Panthers actually play better on the road (3-4-1) than they do at home (2-5-0), and have lost two straight. "We haven't found that rhythm," Florida's Cory Stillman told the team's Web site. "We've won two, lost four, won three, lost three … in this League, right now, you have to be well over .500 to make the playoffs. Hopefully, we'll be playing a lot of games in a short period now, playing every other night, and we'll find that rhythm." If you didn't know Stillman played for the Panthers, you might swear he was a Boston Bruin.
Panthers -- Florida is playing the second game in a two-game road trip that began with a 7-4 loss at Washington last Saturday.
Radek Dvorak (knee), Dominic Moore (nasal surgery) and Kamil Kreps (foot) are expected to return to action in this game, as they have been practicing since the beginning of the week. Gregory Campbell visited with doctors to see if the slap shot he took to the face last Saturday caused anything more serious than two broken teeth. Tests for a fracture were negative. "I anticipate all those guys will be back," coach Peter DeBoer told the Miami Herald. "It'll be nice to have that experience back, for sure."
Tomas Vokoun will be in goal for the Panthers in Boston. He has a 2.99 goals-against and .916 save percentage
"We're 15 games in," DeBoer told Florida's Web site. "We're not where we want to be as a team as far as our record goes, and I know individually there are guys here who are not where they want to be after 15 games. For me, that's good news. If we were 5-9 and playing great we'd be in real trouble."
Bruins -- Boston is completing a four-game homestand that has included a shootout loss against Montreal, a 4-2 win against Buffalo, and a 3-0 shutout victory against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
By defeating the Stanley Cup champion Penguins, the Bruins have won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Thomas stopped 27 shots for his second shutout of the season and the 14th of his career to pass Andy Moog for 10th on the Bruins' list.
"Our defense -- our team defense -- has been playing really well the last 6-7 games,'' Thomas told the Boston Globe. "Now we're getting the offensive production to get the wins, too.''
David Krejci returned to the lineup against Pittsburgh. He sat out against Buffalo and Montreal last week due to the H1N1 virus.
Who's hot -- For the Bruins, Zdeno Chara has 1 goal and 2 assists in his last three games, Patrice Bergeron has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three games, and Derek Morris has 2 assists in his last two games. For the Panthers, Stillman has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last four games, Steven Reinprecht has 4 goals and 3 assists in his last five games, and Dmitry Kulikov has a goal and 2 assists in his last two games.
Injury report -- For the Bruins, Savard (broken foot) and Lucic (broken finger) are on long-term injured reserve. For the Panthers, left wing David Booth (concussion) and winger Nick Tarnasky (orbital bone) are on injured reserve, and center Dominic Moore (nasal surgery) is day-to-day.
Stat pack -- On Tuesday, Mark Recchi of the Bruins became the 18th player in NHL history to record 900 regular-season assists. … This is the 60th all-time meeting between these clubs. Florida is 28-23-6-2 and has outscored the Bruins 170-166. In Boston, the Panthers are 15-11-4.
Puck drop -- "It's the first time all season we've had back-to-back wins, and it's nice to get over that hump," Matt Hunwick told the Boston Herald. "That's what we have to do with the position we've put ourselves in. We have to start putting games together and climb in the standings."