– The Bruins will be looking to get back into the win column tonight at TD Garden, when they face the Florida Panthers, who come in themselves trying to get their game back on track.
The Panthers have lost four straight and seven of eight, but the B’s won’t be looking past Florida just because they have been struggling of late.
“I don’t think so,” said Daniel Paille, when asked if it will be hard to not look at the Panthers’ record. “I think when you start overlooking a team they just come out here and dominate you so for us they got a younger squad now especially with the injuries, but look at Ottawa.
“Ottawa’s the same way and they managed to battle through everything and still be in the position that their in so, no, you can’t overlook that at all.”
While Head Coach Claude Julien has prepare for what the Florida Panthers will bring tonight, he’s focused more on making sure that his team has corrected its third-period mistakes from Tuesday’s loss to Pittsburgh.
“Well, to be honest with you, it’s what I expect from our team more than theirs right now,” Julien said following the B's morning skate at TD Garden. “Not to say anything about their team, we know they’re banged up, we know they’ve had a lot of injuries and they’ve had their fair share of struggles, but in this league there’s no such thing as an easy game. We should know that by now.
“Teams come in and there’s upsets every night on the schedule. It’s more about how are we going to bounce back from a real disappointing loss. I thought our decision making wasn’t as strong as it should have been. Whether we use the fatigue element, which is hard to ignore when you play three in four nights, but you’ve still got to overcome those things.
“We need to be able to bounce back with a strong outing, the 60 minute performance that we keep talking about. Hopefully, that will get us back on track.”
Florida, who won the Southeast Division last season, has lost 109 man games to injury this season and today learned that forward Kris Versteeg would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered in the Panthers’ loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The Panthers are also missing center, among others, Stephen Weiss (out for the season), defenseman Ed Jovanoski, winger Sean Bergenheim, and winger Scottie Upshall.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are without Chris Kelly (broken left tibia) and Adam McQuaid ("minor injury," day-to-day), and Paille knows they'll need to step up in their absence.
"We had some injuries in the past and we’ve been able to battle through that," said Paille. "With Kells being out, he’s definitely one key element for us but I think we need to fight for when he comes back that we’re in the same position we’re in when he does come back."
On the Florida side, injuries haven't affected rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, who is leading Florida in goals (12) and points (17) said that he hopes playing a team like the Bruins will give his team some extra motivation.
“Yeah, we lost a lot of games lately, so we just want to get back on track and win some games,” said the rookie, who also is first among rookies in goals. “I think it can start tonight, it's a great challenge. It's a good team, we're going to be ready for them."
“It's a great team, especially at home. They're very good. They haven't lost a lot this year, we've got to prepare. What we want to do is, we haven't had a great start to a lot games, but that's what we want to do. It's important for us.”
Tomas Kopecky, who is tied with Huberdeau in points (11 goals, 6 assists), echoed his teammates’ remarks on the challenge the B’s present. Though, he, too, said the Panthers have to focus on themselves and not the Bruins.
“We know they have a good team and we come in here and take it as a good challenge for us,” he said following the Panthers’ morning skate. “We know what we need to do to be successful and we are focusing in on ourselves.
“We have a great bunch of guys here, we believe in ourselves and believe in the group we have here right now, and the bottom line is just to outwork the other guy across from you so that’s the bottom line.
“We look at the Boston, a very good team, to beat this team it’s not going to be easy so it’s not an easy building to play in, but we’ve got to deal with it and every time you beat a very good team you’re confidence as a team builds up so it’s a good challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.”