On Thursday night, the Boston Bruins lost a game in regulation, and if anyone spent time on social media afterward, the sky was falling. Realistically, the Bruins were not going to win 82 games, and despite their historic first half of the season, they may not break down records. The NHL is ultracompetitive, and losses are bound to happen, so if anything comes out of a Bruins loss, it is the eagerness to right the wrongs.
Recently, the B’s were shut out by the Seattle Kraken, thus ending their home win streak, and the team responded by winning the next six. Furthermore, fans should appreciate the losses because they will keep the team humble and grounded. Moreover, the journey could end rather quickly if Boston waltzed through the regular season and found some hardships in the playoffs, unable to overcome simple losses.
Although those playoff battles are still months away, the Bruins can get back in the win column this evening with the final meeting against the Florida Panthers. In the three previous contests, the B’s won on home ice 5-3 and 7-3. However, they lost in Florida 5-2.
Today’s Bruins Game Notes
Riding the momentum of a six-game win streak, head coach Jim Montgomery decided to tweak the lineup after the team’s victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Even though the adjustment proved unsuccessful against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he chose to stick with it one more night. Therefore, according to lineups posted on DailyFaceoff.com, Taylor Hall is still slated as a top-line winger.
Hall was our previous game player to watch and disappointed us with one shot, compared to a goal and three shots against Montreal on Tuesday. The caliber of talent between the Canadiens and Lightning is vast, yet the former MVP could have taken advantage of the situation he was gifted.
As mentioned, the Bruins should come out hungry tonight after suffering just their second loss of 2023. However, the team was clicking along before a lineup shuffle occurred, and it will be interesting to see if they respond in game two with this setup or stumble again.
Furthermore, there is little time before a late Sunday afternoon contest against the pesky Carolina Hurricanes, so it will most likely be on the fly if further evaluations and alterations are needed.
The Bruins are 8-2-0 in their last ten and will pick up the pieces after a recent loss on Thursday. Despite the one-goal loss, they remain plus-82 in the goal differential as the top team in the Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Panthers are fighting for a chance to be a wild card team, going 5-3-2 in their last ten games, losing 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
Currently, Florida is 23-22-6 with the 21st-best record in the NHL, one season removed from winning the President’s Trophy as the best team. Additionally, they have a minus-six goal difference, ranked 20th in the league, one of just 12 teams with a negative sum.
Bruins & Panthers Players to Watch
Patrice Bergeron only has three points in his last five games and just eight points in his previous ten. Of course, the captain is not called upon to lead the team on offense, yet it’s always a joy to watch when he does. Historically, Bergeron has loved playing the Panthers with 58 points in 64 games, the fourth-best total against a single franchise out of the Ottawa Senators (68), Toronto Maple Leafs (67), and Canadiens (60). It would only be fitting if, following a loss, the captain collects a couple of points and leads his team to victory.
The Panthers are set to host the All-Star Game festivities next weekend, with winger Matthew Tkachuk attending. Interestingly, it was recently announced that Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews would not be attending, so Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov would also be representing the home team.
Currently, Barkov is ranked 57th in league scoring. However, he’s got seven points in his last five games, with 14 points in his previous ten. Historically, he’s got 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 26 games against the Bruins, including a goal and two assists against tonight’s starter Jeremy Swayman.
Bruins & Panthers Historical Notes
Tonight will be the 110th meeting between the Bruins and Panthers, with the black and gold up 60-37-6-6 in the all-time matchup. Additionally, they hold a significant lead on the scoresheet by a 320-278 margin. Furthermore, in 44 games at FLA Live Arena (former BB&T Center), they have a winning record of 25-15-2-2, with a five-goal advantage of 124-119.
As mentioned, the Bruins are ahead in the four-game series this season with a 2-1 record after winning last year’s three-game set 2-1. Nevertheless, the team hasn’t won an away game in Sunrise, FL, since Mar. 5, 2020.
Who’s Next for the Boston Bruins
After tonight’s game, there won’t be much time for the equipment to dry as the boys will hit the road and be on the ice in Carolina tomorrow for a matchup against the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes. The puck drop is scheduled for 5:00 pm EST.
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