Event: Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers
Date/Time: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 7 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 17,565), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Friday's game between the Bruins and the Panthers will be broadcast live on NESN. The game can also be heard on the 98.5 the Sports Hub Radio Network, with Dave Goucher providing play-by-play, and Bob Beers providing analysis.
Last Time Out: The Bruins seem to have found their way back to the winning side of things, after putting up two consecutive wins against the Flyers, who they beat 6-0 on Saturday, and the divisional rival Montreal Canadiens who fell to the B’s 3-2 on Monday.
Forward Benoit Pouliot scored his second goal in as many games to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first period. David Krejci and Brad Marchand also netted goals.
The Panthers on the other hand played just last night against the Ottawa Senators where they came out short in a 4-3 overtime loss. However, impressively enough they came back from goal deficits three different times--two on the power play--to tie it up and muster a point out of it.
Tomas Kopecky scored the tying goal in the third period to send it to the extra frame, but Senators forward Bobby Butler put the game away in overtime.
Storyline: The Bruins haven’t seen much in the way of defeat in the last few months, and while the first part of December was a little shaky for them, they managed to get through the month with only two losses to their name. Unfortunately for them, one of those losses was to the Florida Panthers.
Back on December 8, Kopecky once again performed his magic and picked up the game winning goal in Boston, to give the Panthers the lead over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference at the time. Florida currently holds first place in the Southeast Division, but currently sits behind the Bruins now in the Conference.
Jose Theodore came up big in the last meeting, matching Tim Thomas’ recorded saves, and in fact faced 40 shots, but didn’t allow a goal for his second shutout this year. Thomas had 33 saves that night.
Players To Watch: Benoit Pouliot has been making a name for himself the past couple of games, so it will be interesting to see if he can expand on his past few performances. Tyler Seguin holds a team high 14 goals and linemate Brad Marchand has been hitting the back of the net as well.
Meanwhile, Rich Peverley will be out of the game for undisclosed reasons, but everyone else on the team should be back in action.
However, the Panthers have been on the short end of the injury stick, as they lost their seventh forward to injury last night in Ottawa. Stephen Weiss left in the first period with an upper body injury. While they proved last night that they can still score, even with their forward problems, doing so against Thomas will be a task for them.
Prediction: With the amount of injuries the Panthers have taken and with Tim Thomas in net, it will be hard for Florida to keep up with the way the Bruins have been scoring. However, Theodore has been notorious for being able to stop the B’s so it should be a low scoring, but fun game. Final Score: Bruins 3, Panthers 1.