THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.
Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins
|Panthers ||Bruins |
|Record ||23-31-7 ||38-17-5 |
|Points ||53 ||81 |
|Place ||7th in Atlantic ||1st in Atlantic |
|Snowfall This Winter ||0" ||A lot |
The Florida Panthers wrap up a three-game road trip tonight when they take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET. This will be the fourth of five matchups between the two Atlantic Division rivals, with the final game coming this Sunday in South Florida. The B’s are a tough out, especially at home where they have a record of 23-7-2 but records do not mean anything once the puck drops and anyway, I’m feeling pretty good about this one, so…
Here’s the lowdown:
RED Hot Cats to Watch
Shawn Matthias: Matthias got another hot start to the month of March as he put up five points in the Panthers two weekend games. Matthias tallied a goal and an assist on Saturday and topped that performance off with two goals and a helper on Sunday.
Scottie Upshall: Upshall put in a three-point performance of his own on Sunday netting a goal and two assists. The three points gave Upshall 30 points (11-19-30), and a two-point cushion over Brad Boyes for the team’s scoring lead.
Bruins to Watch
#11 Gregory Campbell: The former Panther has gained a reputation in Boston as a legendary grinder. He can also score a goal or two in a pinch as evidenced by his pair of goals in Boston’s 6-3 win against the Rangers on Sunday. With an assist Saturday against Washington, the Bruins’ fourth line center has a nice little point streak going for himself.
# 27 Dougie Hamilton: Acquired with one of the first round draft picks the Bruins received in the Phil Kessel trade, the 20-year-old Dougie Hamilton has developed into a steady defenseman for the Boston Bruins. Hamilton averages right around 20 minutes per game for the B’s and he is on a two-game scoring streak during which he has amassed four points (1-3-4). On a side note he is also gifted with some of the better flow the NHL has to offer.
Mandatory pre-game watch:
Return of Tim Thomas…again
Tonight will be the third appearance at TD Garden for the Florida Panthers. Former Bruin Tim Thomas who was out with an injury during the first Boston game, is expected to make his second start in Boston against his former team since moving on to the Panthers.
One would think that the luster of the “Thomas’ return” storyline would fade over time but as a former Boston resident, I can assure you that the fade will not be happening anytime this season. I was in attendance when the Scott Clemmensen-led Panthers took on the Bruins in Boston back in November and the Tim Thomas tribute from the fans was still extremely moving despite the fact that Thomas was in the press box and not in the crease.
It does not take long in Boston before you realize the importance of Thomas to a lot of Bruins fans. For a city like Boston that really adopts its stars into the family, the return of Tim Thomas will be a big story for the foreseeable future.
Gearing Up For the Long Haul
With their back-to-back games over the weekend, the Panthers kicked off their month of March that see them play 17 games in 31 days including a four-game mid-month west coast road swing. With such a tight schedule there will be little time for the players to rest, kind of like that time in college when you had to go out five nights in a row. There may have been a lot to do in a short amount of time but somehow someway you managed to get up every morning and do what you needed to do to get through the day.
The Bruins were founded by grocery store tycoon Charles Adams in 1924. The Bruins’ brown and yellow colors come from Adams’ grocery store chain, First National Stores, which also had the brown and yellow color scheme.
That’s all for today, enjoy the game everybody…
Let’s go Cats!