December 23rd, 2011 by

Gameday: Bruins look to reclaim first place in East

Nathan Horton, Jose Theodore, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins

(Getty Images) Nathan Horton and the Bruins will look to beat Jose Theodore and Florida Panthers when the Southeast Division leading Panthers head into Boston tonight.

After a few days off, the Bruins hit the ice tonight where they host the Florida Panthers. The Bruins have not lost a hockey game since the Panthers came into the Garden two weeks ago and shut out the Bruins 2-0.

The Bruins catch the Panthers in the second leg of back-to-back games. Florida lost in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa last night. The Bruins haven’t played since Tim Thomas made 33 saves helping the Black and Gold beat Northeast Division rival Montreal Canadiens 3-2.

Game Details:
Puck Drop: 7 p.m
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
2011-12 season series: Panthers 1-0
Expected goalie matchup: Tim Thomas vs. Jose Theodore

What to watch for Bruins:

After sitting out the Bruins 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens Monday night due to a suspension that was given to him after a hit on Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo Saturday afternoon, Milan Lucic returns to the Bruins lineup. The six-foot-three power forward has 24 points in 31 games this season, including 11 goals atop the Bruins number one line. In 14 career games against the Panthers, Lucic has just four goals, and three assists.

Third-line-forward Rich Peverley missed yesterday’s practice, the second day in a row that he has done so, and did not partake in Bruins morning skate. The combination of the two means Peverley will not suit up toight. Bruins head coach Claude Julien stated that Peverley was not at 100 percent and could use the Holliday break to get healthy.

Since being benched for the entire third period during the Bruins November 21st 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, a different Beniot Pouliot has been skating around with the number 67 stitched on his jersey. In 13 games since the benching, Pouliot has four goals and two assists and scored the game winner in the shootout against the Buffalo Sabres, just one game after his benching.

What to watch for Panthers:

With Scott Clemmensen getting the start for Florida last night it looks like Jose Theodore will get the nod for the Panthers, and honestly why wouldn’t they? Since the NHL lockout, Theodore is an impressive 9-0-1 against the Bruins. Most of those starts came when Theodore was between the pipes for the Canadiens.

The Panthers will have a few new faces in the lineup tonight as forwards Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson missed last night’s game in Ottawa, and are not expected to go tonight as well. This morning the Panthers ruled out second leading scorer Stephen Weiss due to a upper-body-injury.

Bruins gameday links:

New England Hockey Journal’s Jesse Connolly hangs out with Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas

Go and vote for Days Of Y’orr for the Sports Blog of The Year.

Lucic eager to return from suspension. (Nancy Marrapese-Burrell/Boston Globe)

 

Panthers gameday links:

Chris Roberts from litterboxcats.com takes a closer look at last night’s loss in Ottawa.

David Rodriguez of The Rat Trick touches on all the Panthers injuries.

 

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