3 Keys FLA-BOS game 6

(1A) Panthers at (2A) Bruins

Eastern Conference Second Round, Game 6

7 p.m. ET; MAX, truTV, TNT, SN, TVAS, CBC

Florida leads best-of-7 series 3-2

BOSTON -- Brad Marchand’s potential return could give the Boston Bruins a boost when they attempt to avoid elimination again in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Friday.

Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Marchand will be a game-time decision after the forward missed the past two games with an upper-body injury he sustained in a collision with Panthers center Sam Bennett in the first period of Game 3.

Boston lost three consecutive games to fall behind 3-1 in the best-of-7 series before winning 2-1 in Game 5 at Florida on Tuesday to force Game 6. That victory gave the Bruins some momentum and confidence.

“I think the emotions and momentum in playoffs is a funny thing,” Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “You want to stay even keel, but you certainly need good things in order to pick up your morale, and we made that happen down in Florida. So we know what’s in front of us [Friday] at home, in a great position to keep this thing going and keep our season alive and we can’t wait for the opportunity.”

The Panthers have won five straight Stanley Cup Playoff games at TD Garden, dating to their first-round series against the Bruins last season, which they came back to win in seven games after trailing 3-1. A sixth straight postseason victory in Boston would send Florida to the Eastern Conference Final for the second consecutive season.

Another Bruins win would extend the series to Game 7 at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Sunday.

“I thought our last game was a little sluggish and we felt that as well,” Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour said. “They’re playing hard. We’ve got to play just like that and stick to our game and be ready to go tonight.”

Florida is 2-1 all-time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when leading a best-of-7 series 3-2; Boston is 4-23 all-time when trailing a best-of-7 series 3-2, including 1-12 when opening on the road.

Here are 3 keys for Game 6:

1. Marchand’s return

The Bruins captain had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 playoff games before he was injured, including a team-high six points (two goals, four assists) on the power play. Boston’s sagging power play is 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) in the series, so Marchand could give it a much-needed lift.

Getting Marchand back also could provide the Bruins an emotional spark.

“He’s our leader obviously,” forward Jake DeBrusk said. “If he’s back, I think that it just brings a vocal guy back on the bench. Obviously his skill set speaks for itself. I think it’s one of those things where he does a lot of things differently for this team when it comes to special teams and even 5-on-5, so to have back a really quality player like that and a leader of our team, only helps your group.”

2. Forecheck pressure

The team that generated more sustained offensive-zone pressure with its forecheck won each of the first five games. The Panthers dominated in that area in winning Games 2-4, outshooting the Bruins 107-50 and holding them to 18 shots or fewer in each of the three games.

Boston did a better job on the forecheck in Game 5, particularly in the first period, when it pressured Florida into turnovers and outshot it 13-4.

“I think that’s a big key for both us and them,” Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “We want to get the forecheck going and turn pucks over, take it to the net. That’s really how you create.”

3. Road warriors

This would obviously apply to Florida, which is the visiting team and has won five consecutive playoff games at TD Garden. It’s also pertinent to Boston.

The Bruins are 2-4 at home in the playoffs and 4-2 on the road, including two wins at Florida in this series. Boston has had more success when it simplifies its game on the road or plays at home as if it's on the road, as it did in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round.

“It’s just sometimes you’ve got to be patient,” Montgomery said. “As players, you’ve got to play through that. It’s easier to be patient on the road. You can be down 1-0 [and] you can still play your game.”

Panthers projected lineup

Vladimir Tarasenko -- Aleksander Barkov -- Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe -- Sam Bennett -- Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen -- Anton Lundell -- Evan Rodrigues

Ryan Lomberg -- Kevin Stenlund -- Nick Cousins

Gustav Forsling -- Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola -- Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Dmitry Kulikov

Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz

Scratched: Steven Lorentz, Kyle Okposo, Tobias Bjornfot, Uvis Balinskis, Josh Mahura, Jonah Gadjovich, Spencer Knight, Rasmus Asplund, Mike Benning, Magnus Hellberg, Matt Kiersted, William Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich, Justin Sourdif

Injured: None

Bruins projected lineup

Jake DeBrusk -- Morgan Geekie -- David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand -- Charlie Coyle -- Trent Frederic

Danton Heinen -- Pavel Zacha -- Justin Brazeau

James van Riemsdyk -- John Beecher -- Pat Maroon

Hampus Lindholm -- Charlie McAvoy

Mason Lohrei -- Brandon Carlo

Parker Wotherspoon -- Andrew Peeke

Jeremy Swayman

Linus Ullmark

Scratched: Matt Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jakub Lauko, Jesper Boqvist, Joey Abate, Patrick Brown, Brandon Bussi, Michael Callahan, Michael DiPietro, Trevor Kuntar, Marc McLaughlin, Jayson Megna, Georgii Merkulov, Ian Mitchell, Oskar Steen

Injured: None

Status report

Reinhart and Bennett each missed practice Thursday, but will play. ... Cousins and Lomberg each will enter the lineup, replacing forwards Lorentz and Okposo on the fourth line; Cousins has been scratched the past three games and Lomberg will play for the first time since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. ... Marchand was a full participant in practice Thursday, but if he cannot play, Lauko, a forward, would be expected to enter the lineup, moving the other left wings up a line.

NHL.com independent correspondent Joe Pohoryles contributed to this report