The Boston Bruins still haven’t lost back-to-back games this season.
Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers must halt another extended losing streak.
Looking to rebound from just their sixth regulation loss, the visiting Bruins aim to get back on track by handing the Panthers a season-high fourth straight loss on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla.
The NHL leader with 80 points, Boston took a six-game winning streak into Thursday’s 3-2 loss at Tampa Bay. Though the Bruins were held to fewer than three goals for the first time in seven games, they haven’t allowed more than three during all 12 games on the new year.
“We know every team is gonna give us their best now,” said Boston forward David Krejci, who has nine points in his last six games. “They look at us as a statement game. We talk about it a lot. We try to get ready for every game.”
Boston last suffered consecutive defeats during a three-game slide from April 10-14 of last season. It last happened on the road in February 2022.
The Bruins have won two of three meetings with the Panthers this season. However, they fell 5-2 at Florida on Nov. 23.
Looking in at the Eastern Conference playoff picture from the outside, the Panthers followed a 4-0-1 stretch by allowing 17 goals during their current 0-2-1 rut. Florida nearly rallied from a 3-0 hole to Los Angeles on Friday but fell 4-3 at home.
“We’ve got to find a way,” Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, who has three goals with nine assists in his last 12 games, told Bally Sports Florida and Bally Sports Sun.
“These points are huge, and we just lost another two. We’ve got a tough game (Saturday), and we’ve got to be ready.”
Though inconsistency has plagued Florida in several areas this season, Carter Verhaeghe remains consistent with seven goals and three assists during a seven-game point streak. Matthew Tkachuk has recorded eight goals and 13 assists in the last 13 games. However, the two combined for five points against the Bruins this season.
Boston’s Brad Marchand has three goals with six assists during a seven-game point streak. He has recorded four assists in two games versus Florida in 2022-23.
Patrice Bergeron has three goals with three assists against the Panthers this season, but all came in the two home meetings. Meanwhile, All-Star David Pastrnak, three goals shy of his third 40-goal campaign, recorded one in each of the three with Florida. He also has seven points in the last three games overall.
Boston’s Linus Ullmark, the NHL leader in wins (25), save percentage (.937) and goals-against average (1.86), stopped 74 of 80 shots in those two home games versus Florida. Backup Jeremy Swayman has a 1.20 GAA while 5-0-0 as a starter in 2023 but allowed four goals at Florida in November.
Florida’s Alex Lyon made 30 saves while making his fourth straight start Friday.
However, Sergei Bobrovsky (3.24 goals-against average), out since Jan. 19 due to a lower-body injury, and Spencer Knight (3.05 GAA), out since Jan. 8 because of personal reasons, both practiced Thursday and could be available.
Knight, who made 37 saves in that home win over the Bruins but yielded all seven in a loss at Boston on Dec. 19, has made two recent rehab starts in the AHL.
–Field Level Media