2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Playoff GameDay No. 2: Lines, Betting Odds for Panthers at Bruins
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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.
“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)
- When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: T.D. Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN/ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM/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 (-215); Puck line (-1.5, +125); Over/Under 6.5 (+105/-125). Series: Boston -700/Florida +500.
- 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: at Boston, Wednesday, Game 3: at Florida, Friday, 7:30 (TNT); Game 4: at Florida, Sunday, April 23, 3:30 (TNT); Game 5*: at Boston, Wednesday, April 26; Game 6*: at Florida, Friday, April 28; Game 7*: at Boston, Sunday, April 30.
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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Here we go, not only does having Benny back bring the obvious to the lineup, more grit, size and legit net front presence, but it also allows everyone else to slot back down to positions more suitable to their particular strengths and talents. This is, short of not having Hory and there, this is as close to our optimal lineup as we can get.
We need Barky to start showing up for the playoffs. We talk all year that the D is the weakness of the team, which is accurate, but then come PO time, we cant have the goal scoring dry up again like in the past. Getting 1 goal a game isn’t going to get it done. Hopefully everyone being slotted back where they belong will get the F group going and showing up on the scoresheet.