Boston Bruins Key Factors To Defeating Florida Panthers

Nov 23, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) moves the puck as Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas (7) defends during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) moves the puck as Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas (7) defends during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

With the regular season all wrapped up, the historic season rolls into the playoffs. The Boston Bruins have a date locked in with the Florida Panthers. These two teams met four times this past season with the Bruins having a 2-1-1 record against them. With the preview of the series underway, here are some Boston Bruins key factors to defeating the Panthers in this series.

Boston Bruins Key Factors To Defeating Florida

Win The Special Teams Battle

The first of the Boston Bruins Key Factors is special teams play. Special team’s is a luxury these days. Look at the Edmonton Oilers and how they make you pay if you take a penalty. While the Bruins do not have the lethal power play that they do, they have the talent to do damage. When you have a power play with Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Charlie McAvoy the goals should come in plenty. However, for a large stretch the unit has been poor. Here’s what it has looked like the last three months:

February: 12.9%

March: 14.5%

April: 31.6%

Granted the sample size is much smaller in April, but a massive improvement from the prior two months. What makes this intriguing is going up against Florida’s 23rd-ranked penalty kill. In addition, the club gives up an average of 3.32 goals per game. Florida has allowed the fifth most goals while being down a man (58). Boston finished the year with the 12th-ranked unit and scored 56 goals on the power play.

Florida may have a weak penalty kill, but they make up for that on the power play. Their unit ranks 10th in the league and has scored 59 goals. Their offence is lethal and they have the players to make you pay. Sam Reinhart and Matthew Tkachuk pave the way for this club. However, they are running into the leagues best penalty kill unit and has been that way all year long. Even without Derek Forbort the penalty kill has remained strong. Boston is tied for second in goals against while short-handed and just smothers you defensively. In fact, Boston was nearly perfect in the month of April and was 85% in March.

In what will be a physical series, winning the special teams battle is crucial when given the chance.

Shutting Down The Panthers Top Line

On the next of the Boston Bruins key factors, the top cats will be watched for. The Boston Bruins are a deep team and there is no denying that fact. They have three strong lines that will cause a matchup nightmare for Florida. However, there is a trio of Panthers that can cause a headache for the Bruins. That trio is Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe, and Sam Bennett. Aleksander Barkov has also seen time in between the two wingers. What makes them lethal is their ability to generate chances. With Bennett in between them, the trio has an xGoals for percentage of 63% (8th in the league). In addition, they average 4.39 expected goals for per 60 minutes. With Barkov it is just as lethal. They average 4.92 expected goals for per 60 minutes and have an xGoals for percentage of 62.5%. Here’s the crazy part; their average xGoals for per 60 rank first and second among all line combinations.

These three have to be on the Bruins radar. The beautiful part is they have the ability to counter that punch with their deployed unit. Boston has an elite shutdown pair of Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo. Together they have the best-expected goals against per 60 (2.17) and average 1.57 goals against per 60. The options are endless as well. Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk can handle the job of top minutes as well. Montgomery has not been shy to have Dmitry Orlov play alongside McAvoy. Regardless of how he goes about it, expect the best shut-down pair to key on those three players.

Depth Shining Through

The final of the Boston Bruins key factors is the depth on the roster. If there was ever a time to shine for depth, it is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The checking is tighter, space is limited, and teams key in on the big boys up front. However, as a depth forward this is your chance to break through and be a factor. With the 2022-23 Boston Bruins, there is no shortage of depth on this roster. You can make the case this is the deepest Bruins team in year’s. Take away Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, David Krejci, and Taylor Hall; here’s how other players performed.

Pavel Zacha came over in a trade from New Jersey and had a career year. In addition, players that looked lost under Bruce Cassidy found their game under Montgomery. Jake DeBrusk had a career year in points and tied his career high in goals. Trent Frederic shattered his career high, while playing in the same number of games as last season. The Mayor Of Weymouth Charlie Coyle produced at the same rate he did last year, but looked more comfortable and confident. Newcomer Tyler Bertuzzi had 16 points in 21 games and turned it on.

At the end of the day, these are all guys that will be looked on to contribute. Each player had a great year and has been a factor in every way possible. And for a team that will look to key in on the big dogs, these guys will have their chance to shine.