Following a statement win in game four, the Boston Bruins enter game five on Wednesday night with a 3-1 series lead and the chance to punch their ticket to the second round on home ice.
With the Florida Panthers on the ropes and a chippy ending to game four, look for tensions to be high and expect a lot of hard hitting and physical play on both sides. Something worth noting is that Brandon Bussi and Oskar Steen, two emergency call-ups during the series, have been re-assigned to Providence. The Bruins are getting healthier.
The biggest addition to the lineup is obviously Patrice Bergeron. He practiced in full on Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, signifying his imminent return to the lineup. If you haven’t already heard, Bergeron was acting as a coach from his couch in games three and four, sending messages to assistant coach Chris Kelly on his observations from the game.
The insertion of Bergeron into the lineup is likely going to be the only change made by Jim Montgomery, as the Bruins have two straight wins under their belt. As for who comes out, it’s a toss up between Jakub Lauko and Nick Foligno. I personally think that Lauko comes out as Montgomery will probably give the edge to Foligno’s leadership and playoff experience.
Missing games three and four in Florida, Montgomery also confirmed that center David Krejci will be out for game five as well. He skated on his own before practice and could be available if a game six is needed.
I think it’s safe to say based off how this series has gone that as long as he’s healthy and not being removed for trying to fight Matthew Tkachuk (the refs should’ve just let it happen), that Linus Ullmark will be in goal for the Bruins. He’s coming off two impressive games in Florida.
The bigger question is who’s in net for the Panthers. After they yanked Alex Lyon in game three, Sergei Bobrovsky got the start in game four but got hit for five goals. It will be interesting to see who Panthers coach Paul Maurice chooses to start in game five with Aaron Ekblad and Anthony Duclair returning to the lineup.
Game five puck drop is set for 7:00 on Wednesday night on ESPN. A spot in the second round for the Bruins is on the line. Grab your popcorn and let’s go Bruins!