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Bruins at Panthers preview

Boston eyes fourth straight win; Florida looks to end home losing skid

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

BRUINS (42-13-12) at PANTHERS (33-26-7)



The Game

The Florida Panthers will look to end a seven-game home winless streak when they play the Boston Bruins at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Florida is 0-6-1 at home since a 4-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 16, including a 3-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky did not practice the past two days after being scratched from his scheduled start against Calgary because of a lower-body injury sustained in warmups, but coach Joel Quenneville didn't rule him out against the Bruins.

Sam Montembeault started against the Flames and goalie Chris Driedger was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

Florida is five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division and five points behind the New York Islanders for the second Wild Card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins have won three in a row and are 14-3-0 in their past 17 games. They have a nine-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference after their 2-1 victory at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.


Players to watch

Bruins forward Brad Marchand has a four-game goal streak, and 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) during a 10-game point streak.

Panthers forward Noel Acciari has an NHL career-high 20 goals and leads the Panthers in even-strength goals with 19 after scoring 18 goals (17 even strength) in 180 games with the Bruins.


They said it

"I can't comment on what [the Panthers'] game plan is, but they typically want to outscore teams. That's the way they're built. We have to force them to defend in their own end, defend the slot." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy

"We're going to have to play our best game, and we need that right now. We sort of need everybody going again, scoring goals and contributing any way we can. What better way to do that [than] against one of the top teams in the League to get our confidence back?" - Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Nick Ritchie -- David Krejci -- Ondrej Kase

Jake DeBrusk -- Charlie Coyle -- Chris Wagner

Sean Kuraly -- Par Lindholm - Joakim Nordstrom

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Jeremy Lauzon

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman, John Moore, Anders Bjork

Injured: Connor Clifton (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee)


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman -- Erik Haula -- Frank Vatrano

Dominic Toninato -- Lucas Wallmark -- Brett Connolly

Colton Sceviour -- Noel Acciari -- Mark Pysyk

MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad

Riley Stillman -- Anton Stralman

Keith Yandle -- Mike Matheson

Chris Driedger

Sam Montembeault

Scratched: Josh Brown, Aleksi Saarela

Injured: Sergei Bobrovsky (lower body), Brian Boyle (upper body), Dryden Hunt (lower body)


Status report

Neither team had a morning skate. … Marchand is expected to play despite missing practice Wednesday because of an illness, which kept him to a season-low 14:36 ice time against Tampa Bay. … Boyle will miss his 15th consecutive game, but the forward practiced the past two days and Quenneville said he could return to the lineup next week.


Stat pack

Chara will play in his 1,551st NHL game and move past Alex Delvecchio for sole possession of 15th place on the all-time list. … Haula leads the NHL in faceoff win percentage (66.7) since Feb. 22 among players with at least 50 faceoffs.

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