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  • Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Panthers


    Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Panthers

    Tim Rosenthal April 1, 2017

    Five games left for the Boston Bruins as they continue to fight for their playoff lives for the third straight season. This afternoon, they hope to take care of business again against a Florida Panthers team who will be making their tee times relatively soon in the Sunshine State.

    Coming out of the Bruins bye week, it appeared that the Panthers would be right with the Bruins fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Injuries and inconsistent play over the last two months, however, have plagued the ‘Cats as they only sit three points ahead over the Red Wings, who are dead last in the Atlantic Division.

    Today is the first of the last back to back of the season for interim coach Bruce Cassidy and company. Tomorrow, they head to Chicago to take on the red-hot Blackhawks in a game where Anton Khudobin will likely get the start.

    With Tampa Bay, Ottawa and Washington on next week’s docket – all at TD Garden – the Bruins, for the final time in 2016-17, hope to avoid a letdown against a team beneath them in the standings.

    Gametime: 1:00 pm
    TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
    Records: Bruins 41-30-6 (88 points), Panthers 33-33-11 (77 points)
    Location: TD Garden

    Bruins projected lines

    Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
    Drew Stafford-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
    Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Jimmy Hayes
    Riley Nash-Dominic Moore-Noel Acciari

    Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
    Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
    Colin Miller-Kevan Miller

    Tuukka Rask
    Anton Khudobin

    Panthers projected lines

    Jonathan Huberdeau-Denis Malgin-Jaromir Jagr
    Jussi Jokinen-Vincent Trocheck-Reilly Smith
    Thomas Vanek-Nick Bjugstad-Jonathan Marchessault
    Shawn Thornton-Derek McKenzie-Colton Sceviour

    Keith Yandle-Jason Demers
    Michael Matheson-Alex Petrovic
    Mark Pysyk-Jakub Kindl

    Reto Berra
    Adam Wilcox

    Today’s storylines

    – As noted above, with Khudobin likely getting the start tomorrow, the Bruins will go with Tuukka Rask this afternoon. After a week full of criticism from social media and sports radio, Rask has quieted his doubters over the last two games having just allowed one goal in that span. Given his lifetime success against the Panthers (19-3-1, .951 save percentage, 1.46 goals against average and four shutouts), Rask couldn’t have asked for a better chance to carry over his success from the last two starts as the Bruins hope to separate themselves from the rest of the teams fighting for one of the last three postseason spots.

    – Speaking of those teams, the Bruins will be doing some scoreboard watching tonight when they arrive in Chicago. The Sens (at Winnipeg), Maple Leafs (at Detroit), Lightning (home vs. Montreal), Flyers (home vs. New Jersey) and Hurricanes (home vs. Dallas) are all in action this evening. According to Sports Club Stats, the Bruins playoff chances – which currently stand at 77 percent – can go up as much as 18 percent if they win and every one of the aforementioned teams falls in regulation. A regulation loss to Florida however, would result in their postseason chances going down by nearly 17 percent alone. Saturday’s game is certainly winnable on paper, and those on paper wins have come rather easily for Cassidy and company. The Hub of Hockey is hoping that isn’t the case today and avoid a bad April Fools Day altogether.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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