The Florida Panthers have one final game remaining in this regular season against a team which will be in the upcoming playoffs and it looks like they are going to bring their best to Boston tonight.
The Panthers will ice most of their regulars tonight, perhaps for the final time before the postseason starts for them Monday or Tuesday in Sunrise.
According to coach Andrew Brunette, Florida will be without Mason Marchment due to maintenance but will have former Boston star Joe Thornton and Carter Verhaeghe in the lineup.
Thornton spent parts of his first eight NHL seasons with the Bruins before being traded to San Jose; this could be his final game at the Garden.
Ryan Lomberg will be in the press box watching after being suspended on Monday.
Sergei Bobrovsky will be in net.
“I don’t think we’re looking too far into it,” Brunette said from TD Garden on Tuesday morning while his team took an optional morning skate.
“We’re just trying to play a good, solid road game here tonight. As for looking too far ahead, we’re still in this day-to-day grind. Who knows what is going to happen? We have to make sure we tighten our game up.”
Both teams have something to play for as they jockey for positioning within the Eastern Conference.
Boston, which has three games remaining, is currently three points back of the Lightning for the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins look like they will end up the first wild-card — which would put them in the Metropolitan side of the playoffs — with a first-round series against either Carolina or the New York Rangers.
”This is a big game for them and will be a really good test for us,” Brunette said. “They are as good as any team in the league. We expect them to play at their best.”
Florida can clinch the Presidents’ Trophy which is given to the top team in the NHL at the end of the regular season. That comes with home ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Panthers can lay claim to the top spot tonight with a win in Boston and a Colorado loss to the Blues.
Florida can also clinch with a overtime/shootout loss tonight and a regulation loss from the Avs.
Bobrovsky can win his 40th game tonight against the Bruins.
“He has been huge, just having him in the room,” Sam Reinhart said. “To see someone work that hard on a daily basis and earn the trust of the group is really important. That’s obviously another milestone for him and another reason to show up tonight, try and come out on top.”
Tomorrow is the 26th anniversary of the biggest single goal in Panthers’ history and it is fitting that Florida is in Boston tonight.
Bill Lindsay scored after being tripped up by Ray Bourque while coming around the right side and was able to score to give the Panthers a 4-3 win over the Bruins and a series victory in Game 5 of the 1996 opening round.
Lindsay had a lot of things to say about that goal — and how we would love to see the Panthers make some more memories in these playoffs. And bring the Stanley Cup to Fort Lauderdale.
— The Panthers are finally going to see some television money again after agreeing to a new carriage deal with Bally Sports. Read all the details HERE
— We’re hosing a watch party for tonight’s game on the second floor of the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. Specials throughout the game. Come and join us!
— Are players coming up from Charlotte to join the lineup Thursday or Friday night? We think so.
— Miss why Lomberg was suspended and Brunette fined for Sunday night’s fight in Sunrise? You can watch it all right HERE
— Anthony Duclair is the Panthers’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his play on the ice — and his work off of it.
— The Boston Bruins are turning their focus to the upcoming postseason.
You had to know that Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand were going to give a little Boston Bruins reminder of exactly what they can do prior to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: TD Garden, Boston
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- Draft Kings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-130); Puck line (-1.5, +175); Over/Under 6.5 (-130/+110)
- Season series — Panthers lead 1-0-1: @Florida 4, Boston 1 (Oct. 27); @Boston 3, Florida 2 SO (Oct. 30)
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Boston leads 57-35-6, 6 ties