The Bruins will continue their yearly Florida trip tonight, facing off against the Florida Panthers. The Bruins have looked defensively dominant during their current three-game winning streak, and will look to build on those habits tonight. The Panthers still fighting for a wild card spot have dropped their last three games and will undoubtedly come out desperate for a win. With the team’s splitting the season series to this point it’s anyones game tonight.
With Bobrovsky still dealing with an injury it looks like the Panthers will turn the net over to Chris Driedger. Driedger is 5-2-0 on the season with a goals-against of 2.35 and a .932 save percentage. Chris is just returning from an injury himself, and has not played in an NHL game since January 16th. After a hot start Driedger gave up four goals in his last two appearances before the injury. Will there be some rust to shake off his game after the month and a half absence?
For the Bruins Jaroslav Halak will be in net. Halak comes into tonight’s game with a 17-6-6 record, a 2.44 goals against and a .917 save percentage. Halak will be looking to extend his current six game winning streak as a starter. Jaro has not been his sharpest lately, giving up three goals in each of his last three appearances. Hopefully he can regain his form against a dangerous Florida offense.
Players to Watch
The Panthers have some serious star power when it comes to their forward group. One player the Bruins defense will have their eyes on is Johnathan Huberdeau. With five points in his last six games, and a total of 77 points on the season, Huberdeau has been and is always a threat to hit the score sheet. Another Panthers forward stepping their game up for the playoff push has been Mike Hoffman. With five goals and eight points in his last six games Hoffman will be another main focus of the Bruins defense.
For the Bruins Jake Debrusk is one player I would keep an eye on. After his impressive goal last game I would not be surprised if he continued to bust out of his recent slump. Another player to watch is Brad Marchand, who continues to have a fantastic season. With four goals and seven points in his last five games look for another big night from him and the top line against a weak Panthers defense. Make sure to keep an eye on the Krejci line as well. They have been getting better over the last few games, and playing against a poor defensive team in Florida could be just what they need for a breakout game.
With how the Bruins have been playing over the last three games this should be another W. However, when a team is desperate like the Panthers anything can happen. While weak defensively, Florida currently has the fifth ranked offense and the eighth ranked power play in the league. The Bruins defense and Halak will need to sharp to prevent the Panthers from getting any early momentum. The Bruins need a win today to keep their momentum going before a rematch with Tampa on Saturday. A win today and Saturday could secure the Atlantic Division for the Bruins, meaning players will get some valuable rest at the end of the season. As always don’t forget to check out our other team pages to keep up to date on all things Boston sports.
Featured image courtesy of Joel Auerbach/ Getty Images.