SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers are taking their series with the Boston Bruins with a couple of advantages behind them.
With the best-of-7 series tied at 1, the Panthers now hold home-ice advantage with a serious chance to swing things in their favor.
Boston will again be without captain Patrice Bergeron as he did not travel with the team for Games 3 and 4 of the series.
Bergeron has been dealing with a upper-body injury he aggravated in Boston’s final game of the regular season in Montreal.
Per Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, he is likely to return for Game 5 when the series returns to Boston.
Standout goaltender Linus Ullmark is also a game-time decision for the Bruins with an injury he has been playing through since April 11.
So, the starting goalies are not known — although Alex Lyon will make his 11th consecutive start for Florida.
Even without Bergeron, the Bruins bring a deep team which set NHL records for wins and points in a season. They are obviously not a pushover.
”We will not be afforded an advantage at any point in this series. It’s just the truth,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.
“People play the underdog card and it is attached to us because we are playing the Boston Bruins. The matchup doesn’t change because we get last change. It doesn’t effect how hard it is for us to battle every shift to win this game. That’s exactly what is going to have to happen.”
Historically, the crowd doesn’t do Florida a whole lot of favors when the Bruins come to town.
Boston fans travel well and Montgomery quipped that he will hear them.
“I’m expecting the Bruins fans to be loud tonight and it will fuel us,” he said.
But the Panthers are expecting a raucous crowd behind them that could be motivated by Montgomery’s comments.
”It’s always fun coming back to Florida and playing in front of our home fans,” Carter Verhaeghe said.
”It’s going to be a good one today and I can’t wait to see how loud the building is.”
Eric Staal is back in the Florida lineup after taking a high hit from Tomas Nosek late in Game 2.
He skated Friday morning in a blue, full-contact jersey and took line rushes.
Ryan Lomberg missed morning skate but is “all good,” per Maurice. He is expected to remain in the lineup.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1
BOSTON BRUINS (ATL1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 3 (Series tied 1-1)
- When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, TNT
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Bruins Favored: Money Line (-140); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6 (-120/+100). Series: Boston -280/Florida +220.
- Regular Season Series (Tied 2-2): @Boston 5, Florida 3 (Oct. 17); @Florida 5, Boston 2 (Nov. 23); @Boston 7, Florida 3 (Dec. 19); @Florida 4, Boston 3 OT (Jan. 28)
- Last Season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 60-38-6, 6 ties
- Playoff History (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 4-1, 1996 (first round)
- First Round Schedule — Game 1: @Boston 3, Florida 1; Game 2: Florida 6, @Boston 3; Game 3: at Florida, Friday, 7:30 (BSF, TNT); Game 4: at Florida, Sunday, 3:30 (BSF, TNT); Game 5: at Boston, Wednesday, 7 (BSF, ESPN); Game 6*: at Florida, Friday, April 28; Game 7*: at Boston, Sunday, April 30. (*) — If Necessary.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
94 Ryan Lomberg // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Anthony Duclair
21 Nick Cousins // 12 Eric Staal // 6 Colin White
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
34 Alex Lyon
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Scratched: Casey Fitzgerald, Mike Benning, Evan Fitzpatrick, Zac Dalpe, Givani Smith
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion)
PROJECTED BOSTON BRUINS LINEUP
63 Brad Marchand // 13 Charlie Coyle // 11 Trent Frederic
71 Taylor Hall // 46 David Krejci // 74 Jake DeBrusk
59 Tyler Bertuzzi // 18 Pavel Zacha // 88 David Pastrnak
17 Nick Foligno // 92 Tomas Nosek // 21 Garnet Hathaway
48 Matt Grzelcyk // 73 Charlie McAvoy
27 Hampus Lindholm // 25 Brandon Carlo
28 Derek Forbort // 81 Dmitry Orlov
35 Linus Ullmark
1 Jeremy Swayman
Injured: Patrice Bergeron (UBI)