The Florida Panthers will have their hands full again against the league-leading Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden.
And the injury bug will not do them any favors.
The last time the Panthers made the trip to Boston, they had to play a man down with Brandon Montour nursing an injury and later had to play with four defensemen after Aaron Ekblad sustained a groin injury.
This time, they will be without captain Sasha Barkov, who is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered via a stick to the knee in Saturday’s win over the New Jersey Devils.
The good news is that they will not have to play shorthanded this time with Colin White returning from an upper-body injury.
The bad news is that Barkov’s presence will surely be missed against a well-rounded Bruins team.
Boston is headlined by David Pastrnak, who currently ranks sixth in points (42) and is one of eight players to hit the 20-goal mark 30 games into the season.
They also feature one of the best goaltending tandems in the league in Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.
Ullmark, who comes into the night with a 17-1-1 record and a league leader in save percentage (.938) and goals-against-average (1.83) is their weapon of choice tonight.
Charlie McAvoy leads a deep core of blueliners, ranking eighth among NHL defensemen with 17 points in 17 games since returning from a shoulder injury on Nov. 10.
With their stars complemented by a deep complement of scorers, the Bruins are first in the league in goals against and penalty killing while ranking in the Top 5 in goals for and power play percentage.
The Panthers will try to combat that with a penalty kill that ranks eighth in the NHL in the month of December led by a player that they will rely heavily on over the next couple of games.
Eetu Luostarinen will step up as the team’s first-line center in Barkov’s absence.
His defensive prowess and tenacity on the puck could prove to fit well next to Carter Verhaeghe, who currently ranks 15th in the NHL in goals, and Sam Reinhart, who has four goals in six points through his active three-game goal streak.
FLORIDA PANTHERS INJURY UPDATES
- Spencer Knight (8-4-3, .919, 2.64) will make his first start since missing the last six games with an illness.
- Radko Gudas is a game-time decision for the second game in a row to return from a concussion he suffered on Dec. 3.
- Anton Lundell was a full participant in Monday’s morning skate and is close to returning from an upper-body injury (and illness) he suffered on Dec. 1.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: TD Garden, Boston
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Draft Kings odds — Bruins favored: Moneyline (-190); Puck line (-1.5, +140); Over/Under 6.5 (-110/-110)
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Tied 1-1): Boston 5, Florida 3 (Oct. 17); Florida 5, Boston 2 (Nov. 23)
- Last season: Boston won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Boston leads 59-37-6, 6 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 13 Sam Reinhart
19 Matthew Tkachuk // 9 Sam Bennett // 6 Colin White
94 Ryan Lomberg // 12 Eric Staal // 21 Nick Cousins
20 Aleksi Heponiemi // 22 Zac Dalpe // 14 Grigori Denisenko
42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad
18 Marc Staal // 62 Brandon Montour
28 Josh Mahura // 7 Radko Gudas*
30 Spencer Knight
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Injured: Anthony Duclair (LTIR-Achilles), Patric Hornqvist (LTIR-concussion), Anton Lundell (UBI), Colin White (UBI), Chris Tierney (UBI), Sasha Barkov (LBI)
Scratched: Matt Kiersted
*Radko Gudas is a game-time decision after missing each of the last six games with a concussion.
PROJECTED BOSTON BRUINS LINEUP
63 Brad Marchand // 37 Patrice Bergeron // 74 Jake Debrusk
18 Pavel Zacha // 46 David Krejci // 88 David Pastrnak
71 Taylor Hall // 13 Charlie Coyle // 11 Trent Frederic
17 Nick Foligno // 92 Tomas Nosek // 12 Craig Smith
48 Matt Grzelcyk // 73 Charlie McAvoy
27 Hampus Lindholm // 25 Brandon Carlo
28 Derek Forbort // 75 Connor Clifton
35 Linus Ullmark
1 Jeremy Swayman
Boston Bruins lines via Fluto Shinzawa