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Boston Bruins Visit Florida Panthers: Game 70 Preview

Florida welcomes the slumping Bruins to The BAC tonight in a preview for what could become a possible first round playoff matchup.

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The Panthers host the Boston Bruins tonight at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. This is the fourth and final meeting this season between the Eastern Conference foes. Florida has gone 1-1-1 against Boston, Winning 2-0 and losing 8-0 at Boston in December, and losing a shootout 3-2 at home in January. Right now, they're playing in the third game of an important four game homestand. They shut out the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-0 on Sunday and defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2 on Tuesday. They finish up on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Bruins will be finishing out a three game roadtrip. They lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-2 on Sunday and the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-1 on Tuesday. They return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Florida is 18-9-8 at home, while the Bruins carry a 20-13-1 road record into Sunrise.

The last meeting between the two happened on January 16th. Patrice Bergeron (13) lit the lamp at the 1:20 mark of the first to open the scoring, and Patrice Bergeron (14) added a power play goal in the second. For the Panthers, Jason Garrison (12) and Shawn Matthias (8) scored. Tukka Rask (38-of-40) and Scott Clemmensen (33-of-35) would send the game all the way to the shootout before David Krejci ended it in the fourth round. Rask had faced four breakaway's through the course of the game, preparing him for the skills competition at the end,

"I can't remember the last breakaway I had, actually," Rask said. "I guess it's a better thing to take them all at once than every now and then. Today they had four, which is really uncharacteristic for us. It's a good thing we got a win."

Bruins @ Panthers 01/16/12 (via NHLVideo)

In Florida's last game, Jose Theodore stopped 26-of-28 shots to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2. Sean Bergenheim (15, 16) tied then later surpassed his previous career high in goals scored. Marcel Goc (9) and Tomas Kopecky (7) each connected on the power play, and Jason Garrison (15) tied a Panther record for defensemen goal scoring. For the Leafs, Tyler Bozak (15) and Mikhail Grabovski (22) provided the offense. The Panthers continued to dominate opposing goaltender James Reimer, who allowed four goals on 26 shots. Panther's coach Kevin Dineen spoke about the Panthers tendency to "wake up" against Toronto,

"I can't explain against the Leafs what the difference is," Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. "Sometimes during the course of the season you find a way to get a team's number. Very fortunate for us this has been one of those teams. There’s other teams … we beat the Rangers early and then they spanked us three in a row. The thing flip-flops a little bit, but it's nice being on the good side of those, that’s for sure."

Maple Leafs @ Panthers 03/13/12 (via NHLVideo)

New goaltender Marty Turco surrendered four goals on 12 shots in the first period, as the Bruins were dominated by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Tampa Bay totalled six goals on only 17 shots in their 6-1 defeat of Boston. Jordan Caron (7) scored the only goal for Boston. For the Lightning, Tom Pyatt (8), Nate Thompson (9), Ryan Shannon (4), Victor Hedman (4), and Steven Stamkos (49, 50) provided the fireworks. Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 33-of-34 Boston shots in victory. Stamkos spoke afterwards about scoring 50 goals for the second time,

"Getting 50 goals is something special," Stamkos said. "It's a magic number in hockey, and it's so special to do it in front of your home fans with a big win. That makes the memory last even longer and better. It's a great feeling and something that no one can ever take away from me."

Bruins @ Lightning 03/13/12 (via NHLVideo)



Florida Panthers: 33-23-13, 79 points, first Southeast Division, third Eastern Conference, 15th NHL, on pace for 94 points. Last five: W-L-O-W-W. Playoff odds: 88.7%

Boston Bruins: 40-26-3, 83 points, first Northeast Division, second Eastern Conference, 10th NHL, on pace for 99 points. Last five: W-W-L-L-L. Playoff odds: 99.99%

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.