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Bruins search for more offense vs. Panthers

by Mike Battaglino

PANTHERS (13-25-6) at BRUINS (26-12-5)


Last 10: Florida 4-6-0; Boston 5-4-1

Season series: This is the last of three meetings. The Boston Bruins won the first two, each 4-1, with goaltender Tuukka Rask stopping 63 of 65 shots (.969).

Big story: The Bruins play the second in a stretch of six games in nine days to close the regular season, with a schedule redrawn after the events surrounding the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Boston is on a four-game losing streak but has lost little ground to the Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast Division race.

"Now it's, hopefully, time to work ourselves into trying to get things back to normal again, but it will always leave a scar somewhere," Boston coach Claude Julien said, according to The Associated Press.

The Florida Panthers have lost the first three of this four-game road trip, outscored 17-5, and five in a row overall, outscored 27-8.

Team Scope:

Panthers: Florida was looking ahead to this game earlier in the week due to the circumstances in Boston.

"It is obviously very scary for the city of Boston and their residents," Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, who played four years at Boston College, told the team's website Friday. "At this point we have to focus on playing New Jersey [on Saturday] and continue to watch what happens with this ongoing situation."

The Panthers lost to the Devils, 6-2, and close the season with three games in Florida, at home against the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, and at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"As this season is working toward Game 48, our commitment to defense has waned and hasn't been strong enough," coach Kevin Dineen said Saturday. "We're too easy to play against, and hence we are giving up five or six goals every game on this road trip."

Bruins: Boston has not scored more than two goals during its four-game losing streak and 13 of its past 17 contests.

"This is where we have to get better," Julien said Saturday after a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. "We need to score a little bit more at one end, and we need some timely saves at the other. If we can fix those two kind of things, it'll certainly help our record."

In an effort to boost the offense, center Carl Soderberg, who led the Swedish Elite League in goals this season, made his NHL debut Saturday. Forward Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch after scoring two goals in 27 games.

"I thought he handled himself well for his first game," Julien said of Soderberg, who played 16:10. "The one thing he is, is a smart player and he's going to figure it out pretty quickly."

The Bruins have allowed six power-play goals in the past three games after giving up five in the prior 21.

"Right now, it just seems like they're getting some opportunities and they're going in, before maybe the pucks have hit a stick or we get a lucky bounce or what not," forward Brad Marchand said. "But we do have to work on getting pucks out a little more. We're giving them a few too many opportunities."

Who's hot: Panthers forward Marcel Goc has four points in the past three games. … Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has four goals in his past five games. Marchand has four points in the past four games.

Injury report: The Panthers are without goaltender Jose Theodore (groin), defensemen Ed Jovanovski (hip), and forwards Sean Bergenheim (groin), Eric Selleck (concussion), Kris Versteeg (knee) and Stephen Weiss (wrist). … Bruins forward Nathan Horton (upper body) left the game Saturday in the first period after a fight with Penguins forward Jarome Iginla.

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