SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers flew off to Boston on Tuesday afternoon without a starter named for Game 5 against the Bruins.
The Panthers opted to start Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4 after Alex Lyon allowed three goals in each of the first three games. But it did not help much.
Bobrovsky gave up five goals on 30 shots in a loss which put Florida down 3-1 in the series.
With his team’s back against the wall, coach Paul Maurice has not rushed into making a decision on a starter.
“I have complete confidence in either one of them playing,” he said.
“We’ve got two really good goaltenders and the decision will be mine.”
Maurice has two choices in front of him: the guy who got him there and the guy with a proven track record.
Lyon came into the postseason as the starter after going 6-1-1 with a .943/1.87 while Bobrovsky was dealing with an illness.
He is arguably the reason the Panthers are in the postseason to begin with.
While his NHL playoff experience does not extend past this season, he has shown that he can handle himself in adverse situations numerous times.
And a 3-1 deficit would provide another test for the 30-year-old.
Bobrovsky, while building the reputation as an elite postseason goaltender in the past, presents an interesting case.
Before coming in to relieve Lyon late in Game 3 — and stopping five of the six shots he faced — he had not played since March 27.
And he has been known to come off long periods of rest looking very rusty, as he did in Game 4.
But he was the goaltender who earned them their first playoff series win since 1996, posting a .911/2.70 in 10 postseason games last year.
”The challenge is that they both play a similar game and they are both very, very volatile,” Maurice said.
”They both have had ones they’d like to have back and they’ve both made big saves.”
Anthony Duclair and Aaron Ekblad are both “good to go” for Game 5 after missing Sunday’s Game 4 with undisclosed injuries, per Maurice.
Ryan Lomberg and Sam Bennett were both missing from Tuesday’s practice with minor injuries.
Maurice said that one of them will definitely be in the lineup while the other will be a game-time decision.
He did not specify which of the two is the game-time decision.
Both Lomberg and Bennett have been playing a physical game in vastly different fashions.
Lomberg has been roughing it up in scrums with Boston’s grinders all series while Bennett has two goals and three points while driving the net hard since returning to the lineup from a groin injury in Game 2.
— As expected, the Panthers are heavy betting underdogs going into Game 5 — here is a list of quick and hassle-free withdrawal casinos.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1
BOSTON BRUINS (ATL1) VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS (WC2)
GAME 5 (Boston Leads 3-1)
- When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- 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: Florida 6, @Boston 3; Game 3: Boston 4, @Florida 2; Game 4: @Florida, Sunday; Game 5: at Boston, Wednesday, 7 (BSF, ESPN); Game 6*: at Florida, Friday; Game 7*: at Boston, Sunday, April 30. (*) — If Necessary.