Game Day Preview: Bruins at Panthers
The Boston Bruins are coming off one of their best games of the short season where they handled the Arizona Coyotes 6-0 behind two goals from David Krejci. Five different Bruins lit the lamp while 11 players recorded at least one point. Tuukka Rask stopped all 24 shots he faced en route to the B’s first home victory of the season.
The Black and Gold will try to bring that momentum into Florida where they will face the Panthers who have won three out of four at home.
David Pastrnak looks like he will be back in the lineup after missing the final nine minutes of action on Tuesday while forward Joonas Kemppainen and defenseman Kevan Miller will be game-time decisions.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 4-3-1 (9 points), Panthers 5-3-1 (11 points)
Location: BB&T Center
Bruins projected lines
Loui Eriksson-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
Chris Kelly-Joonas Kemppainen-Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara-Kevan Miller
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow-Colin Miller
Panthers projected lines
Jonathan Huberdeau-Nick Bjugstad-Jussi Jokinen
Brandon Pirri-Dave Bolland-Reilly Smith
Connor Brickley-Vincent Trocheck-Quinton Howden
Logan Shaw-Derek MacKenzie-Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell-Aaron Ekblad
Dmitry Kulikov-Alex Petrovic
Willie Mitchell-Erik Gudbranson
Matchup to watch: Krejci versus the Panthers defense
No one has been able to stop Krejci. His 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in eight games ranks him in a tie for second in the league with former Bruin Tyler Seguin. With the superb playmaking ability and health from their top center, Krejci has the B’s atop the league in goals per game at just a little over four.
Not only is Krejci thriving, but he is maximizing the potential of linemate Loui Eriksson in the process. Eriksson has two goals and seven assists in eight games. He is tied for second in points on the team with Patrice Bergeron.
The Panthers are stingy on defense allowing two goals per game. It will be a tough test for Claude Julien’s team away from TD Garden even though they have played their better hockey away from Boston.
Storyline to watch: Who will have a bigger impact: Reilly Smith or Jimmy Hayes?
Dorchester’s own Jimmy Hayes returns to Florida for the first time since being traded last summer while Reilly Smith will face his former team for the first time.
Hayes has started to find his rhythm with the Black and Gold tallying three goals and five assists in his first eight games while Smith has four goals and three assists in his first nine games with his new team.
Many fans in Boston believed Smith was too inconsistent to be a key piece for Julien, and that sometimes his effort wasn’t there. But in his first nine games with his new team, Smith is showing signs that he may be the player of 2013-2014 with the B’s where he had 20 goals and 31 assists in 82 games.
Players always play with a chip on their shoulder against their former teams. We will see who has the bigger impact Friday night.