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Surging Bruins host improved Panthers

by John Kreiser

PANTHERS (8-8-0) at BRUINS (10-5-1)

TV -- 7:00 PM ET FS-Florida (HD); NESN (HD)

Last 10 -- Florida 5-5-0; Boston 6-3-1

Season series -- It's the first of four meetings this season between the Eastern Conference rivals. The teams split their four games last season, with the road team winning all four. Florida won both visits to Boston by the same score -- 1-0.

Big story -- The Bruins go for their third win in four nights and fourth in a row overall, but they're playing a team that has bedeviled them at the TD Garden. Florida has won nine of its last 12 visits to Boston. This is the first meeting between the teams since the offseason deal that sent forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell to Boston and defenseman Dennis Wideman and a first-round pick to Boston.

Team Scope:

Panthers -- Florida won for the third time in four games with a 2-1 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday. Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves and the Panthers played the kind of disciplined, smart hockey that coach Peter DeBoer has been preaching.

"We're not doing anything different, but we finally are being rewarded," Peter DeBoer said.

Bruins -- Boston's 3-2 win at New York on Wednesday was one for the ages. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead in the second period on a goal by 18-year-old Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 pick in the Entry Draft last spring. The eventual game-winner was scored by 42-year-old Mark Recchi, who had won a Stanley Cup before Seguin was born in 1992.

Seguin scored his fourth goal of the season but his first in eight games.

"I'm getting more confidence every day and I'm learning all the little things that come with this league," Seguin said.

Who's hot -- Vokoun is 3-0-0 in his last three starts and has allowed just one goal in each game while stopping 92 of 95 shots. … Recchi has 2 goals and 6 points in his last five games.

Injury report -- Panthers forward Steve Bernier is out for three weeks with a fractured orbital bone. Defenseman Jason Garrison remains day-to-day with a groin injury and forward Byron Bitz is on injured reserve recovering from sports hernia surgery. … Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (forearm/wrist) could return, but center David Krejci (concussion) is out.

Stat pack -- Florida has won three of its last four visits to Boston by shutout. Five of the last nine games between the teams have ended in shutouts -- including a 1-0 overtime game and another than ended 1-0 in a shootout. … Horton, who recorded 142 goals and 153 assists in six seasons with Florida, leads Boston with 8 goals and 15 points, including an assist in the win at New York.

Puck drop -- The win at New York gave the Bruins a 7-1-0 record on the road, but they are just 3-4-1 at TD Garden. They'll have to find a way to score against the Panthers -- something they haven't done since Feb. 24, 2009. Florida is playing good hockey after a slow start and won't make things easy for the B's.

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