The Florida Panthers will try for their first winning streak of the season tonight although it will be a tall challenge against the host Boston Bruins.
Florida, which won its final three games of its first-round playoff series in Boston last spring, could have some help as Sam Bennett may be back tonight.
Coach Paul Maurice said Bennett will be a game-time decision after he took part in the morning skate at the Garden.
Bennett has been out since sustaining a lower-body injury in a preseason game in Tampa on Oct. 5.
“He is possible for tonight,” Maurice said. “We have had two or three really good days with him, kept him off the ice and then got him back. He feels very strong. We’ll see how he comes back to the rink tonight.”
As for Boston bringing back good memories, the Panthers say all that ends when the two teams meet once more.
“Our focus is on tonight,’’ Sam Reinhart said. “Our start is critical against a team like this.’’
Captain Sasha Barkov will tie Jonathan Huberdeau for most games played in franchise history with No. 671.
Barkov will set the record Thursday in Detroit.
Huberdeau passed Stephen Weiss when he played his 655th game with the Panthers in 2022.
“It would be impressive if he was 35 but at his age, to reach milestones for a franchise that has been around for 30 years at a young age tells you the impact he has had on this team and in hockey,” Maurice said on Sunday.
— Steven Lorentz will play in his eighth game with the Panthers tonight — but No. 200 in his NHL career.
“It is definitely very special,” he said. “All I wanted to do since I was a little guy was play one NHL game. To make a career out of it would be a dream come true; 5-year-old me would be over the moon right now.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS @ BOSTON BRUINS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Boston Garden
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida/ESPN+
- Radio: WAXY 790-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932; NHL App
- DraftKings odds — Bruins Favored: Money Line (-166); Puck line (-1.5, +145); Over/Under 6.5 (+102/-122)
- Last Season — Regular Season: Tied 2-2; Playoffs: Florida won 4-3 (first-round)
- This season: @Boston Monday, April 6; @Florida Nov. 22, March 26
- All-time Regular Season Series: Boston leads 60-37-7, 6 ties
- All-time Postseason Series: Florida leads 2-0 (1996, 2023)
- Up Next for the Panthers: @Detroit; Thursday, 7 p.m.
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (4-3-0) LINEUP
17 Evan Rodrigues // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk
27 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 21 Nick Cousins
94 Ryan Lomberg // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 18 Steven Lorentz
42 Gus Forsling // 91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson
77 Niko Mikkola // 7 Dmitry Kulikov
28 Josh Mahura // 26 Uvis Balinksins
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
41 Anthony Stolarz
Scratched: Mike Reilly, Will Lockwood
Injured: Aaron Ekblad (LTIR-shoulder), Brandon Montour (IR-shoulder), Jonah Gadjovich (UBI)
PROJECTED BOSTON BRUINS (7-0-1) LINEUP
63 Brad Marchand // 16 Pavel Zacha // 88 David Pastrnak
21 James van Riemsdyk // 13 Charlie Coyle // 74 Jake DeBrusk
11 Trent Frederic // 51 Matt Poitras // 39 Morgan Geekie
19 Johnny Beecher // 38 Patrick Brown // 62 Oskar Steen
48 Matt Grzelcyk // 73 Charlie McAvoy
27 Hampus Lindholm // 25 Brandon Carlo
28 Derek Forbort // 12 Kevin Shattenkirk
35 Linus Ullmark
1 Jeremy Swayman