The Boston Bruins are returning home after a brief two-game road trip where they could have finished 2-0 and took a possible four out of four points. Instead they let Tuesday night’s game get away late in the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins and went 1-1.
The Black and Gold will host the unimpressive Florida Panthers on Thursday night. The Panthers went from having a spectacular year last season to the bottom of the barrel in the Eastern Conference this season.
Coming off the stunning loss in Pittsburgh where they let a two-goal lead slip away, the Bruins have a great opportunity to bounce back and stay within striking distance of the first place Montreal Canadiens. They currently stand in fourth in the Eastern Conference through the midway point of the season with 37 points (17-4-3).
The Panthers, losers of two straight, come off a 3-2 loss to in-state rival Tampa Bay and are 3-7-1 on the road in 2013.
The Bruins will be without third-line center Chris Kelly, who suffered a broken left tibia against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, and defenseman Adam McQuaid, who is day-to-day with a minor injury. Aaron Johnson will take McQuaid’s place on the Bruins’ blue-line, while Jay Pandolfo – for the second straight game – fills Kelly’s void on the third line.
After the jump: lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7 p.m.
Location: TD Garden
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (17-4-3, 37 points), Panthers (7-14-6, 20 points)
Bruins’ projected lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Jordan Caron-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Aaron Johnson
Panthers’ projected lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau-Drew Shore-Peter Mueller
Tomas Fleischmann-Marcel Goc-Kris Versteeg
Tomas Kopecky-Shawn Matthias-Jack Skille
Mike Santorelli-Jerred Smithson-George Parros
Brian Campbell-Erik Gudbranson
Filip Kuba-Tyson Strachan
Colby Robak-Nolan Yonkman
Bruins to watch
I guess we are back to watching Tyler Seguin every night. Seguin now has nine goals and 11 assists on the season and has scored at least one goal in five of his last seven games. He is playing “his game” and not trying to do too much while shooting when given the opportunity, which he was not doing earlier in the season. Seguin certainly has the linemates and teammates to get going and he finally has the monkey off his back. To put simply: Tyler Seguin is back
On the other hand, ex-Panther Nathan Horton has not recorded a point in his last four games and is a minus-two in the last two contests. If the Bruins want to bury their opponents and not let two goal leads slip away, this man must bury his chances.
Panthers to watch
The Bruins will need to keep tabs on Tomas Kopecky. Despite his minus-seven rating – which can easily be attributed to the Panthers’ defensive problems – the former Chicago Blackhawk has 11 goals on the year, including three in his last five games He has scored goals in three of his last five games and is always a nuisance.
And then there’s Jonathan Huberdeau, who leads the Panthers in goals on the year (12). The third overall pick from the 2011 Draft was named Rookie of the Month for February and this was not an accident. Huberdeau is lethal and the Bruins defensemen must play a lot better than they did in the final minutes of their contest Tuesday night.
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty says the Bruins’ third period meltdowns must end soon.
Justin Aucoin of Days of Y’Orr posts about Kelly’s injury.
With Kelly out indefinitely, Peter Chiarelli will likely observe the trade market according to ESPN Boston’s Joe McDonald.
Josh Lile of SB Nation talks about how they may be selling as the trade deadline approaches.
The Sun Sentinel previews Thursday’s tilt.
Tweets of interest
After signing Anthony Camara to an entry-level contract today, The Hockey Writers’ Ian McLaren has a clip of the Bruins prospect laying a brutal hit during the World Junior Championships.
— Ian Cameron McLaren (@iancmclaren) March 14, 2013
And our own Anthony Travalgia doesn’t know how to react on Chris Kelly’s tibia having his own Twitter account.
There is a twitter account about Chris Kelly’s Tibia. Not sure how I feel about this. @legbracekelly
— Anthony Travalgia (@A_Travalgia) March 14, 2013