Skip to main content

Bruins go for sweep of Panthers

by Sean McCullen

BRUINS (41-17-5) at PANTHERS (24-32-7)


Last 10: Boston 7-1-2; Florida 3-7-0

Season series: The Boston Bruins will go for a sweep of the season series against the Florida Panthers. Boston has outscored Florida by a combined 14-4 in three games. Bruins center David Krejci has five goals and two assists, including a hat trick in a 4-1 win at TD Garden on March 4.

Big story: Roberto Luongo will likely get another shot at the Bruins following the trade that sent him from the Vancouver Canucks to the Panthers on Tuesday. The 34-year-old goalie made 25 saves in a 2-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, his first game back with the Panthers.

Luongo, who played with the Panthers from 2000-01 through 2005-06, probably thought he was done with the Bruins for the season after Vancouver and Boston wrapped up their season series Feb. 4.

Luongo, of course, struggled against the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, when Boston defeated Vancouver in seven games, and was pulled in two of three games at TD Garden. Despite earning two shutouts, he had a 3.42 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in the series.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Boston has won four straight after rallying to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night. Reilly Smith scored the only goal in the tiebreaker after the Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit. Johnny Boychuk, Carl Soderberg and Daniel Paille scored for Boston, which moved within a point of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference.

"We really had to work hard," coach Claude Julien said. "We fell behind 2-0 on some poor defensive decisions, but the character part of our team showed up, and we had a great comeback."

The game Sunday is the second of a three-game road trip that concludes Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Panthers: Florida is 2-3-0 in its past five games, including the shutout victory against Buffalo on Friday in which top prospect Vincent Trocheck made his NHL debut. The 20-year-old center had three shots on goal and one hit in 17:35 of ice time.

Coach Peter Horachek knew Trocheck before he was recalled Wednesday; he coached him with the San Antonio Rampage, the Panthers' American Hockey League affiliate, earlier this season before he replaced Kevin Dineen in South Florida.

"I thought Vinnie was really good," Horachek said, according to the Miami Herald. "He was a young player, stepped up, really competitive, smart, really good with the puck, good passer. I saw him playing the same way here.

"By the third period I thought I would be using him against the other team's best line, so that's a big step for a young player in his first game to give me that kind of confidence."

Trocheck was leading San Antonio in scoring when he was called up. He had 16 goals and 41 points in 54 games.

Dmitry Kulikov gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the third period Friday with a rare goal on the power play. The Panthers are last in the NHL on the power play, converting on 21 of 215 opportunities (9.8 percent). It won't help moving forward that rookie center Aleksander Barkov, who is tied for the team lead with three power-play goals, has not played since the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics ended and remains out indefinitely. Barkov hurt his knee playing for Finland and is out indefinitely.

Who's hot: Soderberg has four points (two goals) the past four games for the Bruins. Right wing Loui Eriksson has four points (one goal) the past three games. … Panthers center Nick Bjugstad has four points (three assists) the past five games.

Injury report: Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid (strained quad) has been shut down for the next few weeks. … Besides Barkov, Florida is without forward Tomas Kopecky (upper body), who was injured playing for Slovakia in the Olympics.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.