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Panthers try to avoid sweep by Bruins

by John Kreiser /
PANTHERS (22-21-5) at BRUINS (27-15-7)

TV -- FS-Florida (HD); NESN (HD)

Last 10 -- Florida 4-3-3; Boston 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the fourth and final meeting, and the Bruins are going for a sweep. Boston won 4-0 at home on Nov. 18, then beat the Panthers 3-1 and 3-2 in a shootout at the BankAtlantic Center.

Big story -- The Panthers are trying to make this a successful road trip -- after losing 5-2 at New Jersey on Sunday, they stole a 4-3 win at New York on Tuesday despite being outshot 35-17. The Bruins are back home after splitting a two-game trip, winning 6-2 at Colorado on Saturday but losing 2-0 at Los Angeles on Monday.

Team Scope:

Panthers -- Mike Weaver can count the goals he's scored in his 388 NHL games on the fingers of two hands with a few left over. His seventh career goal came Tuesday night in New York and proved to be the game-winner. Not that it was a rocket -- his slapper was going wide before it hit Rangers center Artem Anisimov in the back and deflected into the net on what turned out to be Florida's only shot on goal of the third period.

"Looking at the replay, it was going wide," Weaver said with a laugh. "Hey, these things are…if you're not shooting, you're not getting an opportunity to score. Eyes closed, head down. A lot of luck."

"I'm not a point-getter. Get a shot on net. It worked out great."

Bruins -- While the Bruins were willing to tip their cap to Kings' goaltender Jonathan Quick for his play in Monday's 2-0 win, they were more than willing to criticize their own effort and emotional level.

"He made some big saves … in the crucial times of the game he made saves for them," captain Zdeno Chara said of Quick. "But it obviously was one of those games where we should have been better and probably more emotionally attached.

"We had some chances throughout the game and didn't capitalize," Chara said. "We were maybe one or two steps behind the spot we should have been,"

Who's hot -- Florida's Tomas Vokoun is 2-0-2 in his last four starts and made 32 saves in the win at New York. … Boston's Tim Thomas has allowed just six goals while going 3-1-0 in his last four starts. He leads all NHL goalies in wins, goals-against average and save percentage, and is tied for the League lead in shutouts.

Injury report -- Florida is without captain Bryan McCabe, who's out with facial fractures after taking a shot in the face 10 days ago. Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov returned Tuesday after missing two games because of a rib cage injury, while forward Chris Higgins was back after sitting out eight games with an injured hamstring … Boston center Marc Savard is out with a concussion sustained on Saturday at Colorado.

Stat pack -- Five of the last 10 games between the teams have ended in shutouts, including a pair of 1-0 victories by the Panthers at Boston last season. Three of the last seven have ended in shootouts, with the Bruins winning the last two.

Puck drop -- Former Bruin Willie O'Ree, the first black to play in the NHL, will cap a day of "Hockey is for Everyone" activities when he and two youngsters conduct the ceremonial opening faceoff. O'Ree is the National Hockey League's Director of Youth Development and ambassador for NHL Diversity, a post he has held since January 1998.

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