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Panthers-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Florida Panthers (31-30-9) at Boston Bruins (28-32-12).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

Olli Jokinen and the Florida Panthers seek their season-high sixth straight victory when they visit the struggling Boston Bruins.

Florida has won eight of its last nine games to get back into playoff contention with 12 games left. Jokinen has four goals and eight assists during that stretch, including two game-winning goals.

The Panthers captain also scored in the third round of the shootout Saturday to lift his team to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers. It marked his fifth shootout goal.

"We deserved a good two points," Jokinen said. "We knew if we kept working hard we would get our chances."

Goaltender Roberto Luongo, who is 7-1 with a 2.91 goals-against-average over his last eight starts, made 26 saves and also stopped Rangers star Jaromir Jagr on a shootout attempt just before Jokinen's game-winner.

"It was one of the most exciting games I've ever played in," Luongo said. "I really didn't stop him, I think he just ran out of room. He's got so many good moves. You just close your eyes and hope the puck doesn't go in."

The Panthers and Bruins have not met since Dec. 28, a 6-4 Florida victory. That began a three-game winning streak for Florida, which was tied for its longest of the season before this current run.

"Florida is playing very well right now," Boston coach Mike Sullivan said. "We haven't played them in quite a while and they're a team that has gotten healthy recently and been able to take advantage of that."

The Bruins play their second game since the general manager Mike O'Connell was fired Saturday. Assistant GM Jeff Gorton will run the club the rest of the season.

Boston's difficult season has included the November trade of popular Joe Thornton to San Jose and a deal sending Sergei Samsonov to Edmonton earlier this month.

The Bruins are mired in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings after a 5-4 victory over Buffalo on Saturday that ended a three-game losing streak.

"I thought the focus was where it needed to be and that was on the hockey game," Sullivan said. "They responded and played extremely hard. Fortunately for us, we got the result."

Brad Boyes had a goal and two assists and Marco Sturm scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period for Boston. Boyes has 13 points in his last nine games.

STANDINGS: Panthers - 71 points, 4th place, 27 PB, Southeast Division. Bruins - 68 points, 5th place, 34 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Jokinen, 33 goals, 43 assists and 76 points; Chris Gratton, 94 PIM. Bruins - Sturm, 27 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 39 assists and 63 points; Hal Gill, 112 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Panthers - Power play: 15.1 percent (54 for 358), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (362 for 435), 14th. Bruins - Power play: 15.4 percent (58 for 377), 25th. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (358 for 426), 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (30-26-9, 4 SO, 2.95 GAA); Jamie McLennan (1-4-0, 0, 2.95). Bruins - Tim Thomas (11-8-6, 1, 2.55); Andrew Raycroft (8-19-2, 0, 3.71).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 28; Panthers, 6-4. At Sunrise, Fla., Jokinen had two goals and an assist to extend his points streak to eight games and Luongo made 35 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 9-21-5 on the road; Bruins - 15-14-7 at home.

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