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2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Playoff GameDay No. 2: Lines, Betting Odds for Panthers at Bruins

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The Florida Panthers will have Alex Lyon back in net as Sam Bennett returns for Game 2 against the host Boston Bruins tonight. // Photo courtesy Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

The Florida Panthers will receive a big boost to their lineup heading into Game 2 against the Boston Bruins.

Sam Bennett will return to the Panthers lineup from a groin injury that has kept him out since March 21.

Florida lost three of the first nine games Bennett missed before going 6-1-1 to end the regular season.

They appeared to be missing his dynamic, two-way style in Game 1, failing to generate many chances in front of the net.

Bennett — a known net driver — should help in that endeavor.

“We spent a lot of time behind the net without the puck and we would sometimes have three guys at the net but never actually in front of the goaltender,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said of his team’s performance in Game 1.

“They have some size and they have some weight back there but our original positioning at the net has to improve.”

Bennett’s style of game has been known to translate well to the chippy style that is needed to win in the postseason.

The 26-year-old centerman has 13 goals and 27 points in 45 career playoff games, including five points in five games in his first year as a Panther in 2020-21.

His return also gives Florida a big advantage down the middle with Patrice Bergeron still out with an injury.

Sasha Barkov struggled to capitalize off of the opportunity afforded to him last game — failing to register a shot — but Bennett’s return should ease the pressure off of him even more.

”That line, as a group, can drive pucks to the net a little bit differently than they did,” Maurice said of his top line.

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“I think the pressure on them to score changed that game in some ways. What I would like to see is instead of the expectation [Barkov] is going to go coast-to-coast in one of these playoff games, is that he’ll settle in and grind.

“He has to be patient, smart and take the game that’s in front of him. Don’t feel like you have to break the game open every time you touch the puck.”

Alex Lyon will start in net for the Panthers in Game 2 after stopping 26 of 29 shots in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1
BOSTON BRUINS (ATL1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 2 (Bruins lead Best-of-7 Series 1-0)

PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP

23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair

27 Eetu Luostarinen // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk

94 Ryan Lomberg // 15 Anton Lundell // 13 Sam Reinhart

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 // 18 Pavel Zacha // 74 Jake DeBrusk

59 Tyler Bertuzzi // 46 David Krejci // 88 David Pastrnak

71 Taylor Hall // 13 Charlie Coyle // 11 Trent Frederic

17 Nick Foligno // 92 Tomas Nosek // 21 Garnet Hathaway

81 Dmitry Orlov // 73 Charlie McAvoy

27 Hampus Lindholm // 25 Brandon Carlo

28 Derek Forbort // 75 Connor Clifton

35 Linus Ullmark

1 Jeremy Swayman

Injured: Patrice Bergeron (lower-body)

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