The Florida Panthers got off to the best start in franchise history last season by winning their first eight games.
One of those victories came against the Boston Bruins, the seventh win of that 8-0 start and the one most famously remembered in what would be Florida’s final game with Joel Quenneville behind the bench.
Florida is not close to that kind of a start just yet in this new season under new coach Paul Maurice, but you can only play the next game on the schedule and the Panthers (2-0) will do so tonight in Boston against the Bruins (2-0).
The Panthers, as we pointed out way back in August, should try and take advantage of what appears to be the easiest month of their season here in October.
Of the first nine games, only two come against teams which made the playoffs last season.
Boston is one and that game is tonight; the second team is Tampa Bay. Florida plays host to the Lightning on Friday night.
While everyone knows there are no easy games in the NHL, the Panthers have things pretty well spaced out and, with a win tonight, can finish off the opening road trip of the season with three wins.
That would be a nice way to kick things off.
Sergei Bobrovsky will be back in net tonight after taking Saturday off.
No other lineup changes are expected — because, with just 20 players on the roster, there are not any to make.
The Panthers have won three of their past six games in Boston with points in four of those games.
Since April 8, 2018, the Panthers have converted on six of 16 power play chances at the Garden.
Against Boston last season, Gus Forsling led Florida with a goal and four points with three other players (Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Anthony Duclair) getting three each.
— Reinhart has 20 points (8-12, 20) over 31 career games against the Bruins.
— Sasha Barkov has 17 points (7-10, 17) in 24 career games against Boston.
— In 25 games against the Bs, Ekblad has 15 points (2-13, 15).
— Last year, the Panthers ranked second in the NHL with 53 goals and 213 points coming from their defensemen.
In the first two games this season, both Ekblad and Brandon Montour have a goal.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- DraftKings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-135); Puck line (-1.5, +185); Over/Under 6.5 (-120/+100)
- Last season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Boston leads 58-36-6, 6 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
19 Matthew Tkachuk // 9 Sam Bennett // 38 Rudolfs Balcers
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 6 Colin White
94 Ryan Lomberg // 21 Nick Cousins // 70 Patric Hornqvist
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Matt Kiersted (LBI), Zac Dalpe (UBI), Justin Sourdif (UBI)
PROJECTED BOSTON BRUINS LINEUP
71 Taylor Hall // 37 Patrice Bergeron // 12 Craig Smith
18 Pavel Zacha // 46 David Krejci // 88 David Pastrnak
11 Trent Frederic // 13 Charlie Coyle // 10 A.J. Greer
17 Nick Foligno // 92 Tomas Nosek // 94 Jakub Lauko
27 Hampus Lindholm // 6 Mike Reilly
28 Derek Forbort // 75 Connor Clifton
67 Jakub Zboril // 44 Dan Renouf
35 Linus Ullmark
1 Jeremy Swayman
Injured: Brandon Carlo (UBI); Charlie McAvoy (LTIR-shoulder); Jake DeBrusk (UBI); Brad Marchand (LBI)
Other: Anton Stralman (visa delay)