The Boston Bruins go south to Florida to look for a win in the warm weather. They are coming off a bad 4-2 loss to the Red Wings at home. Boston have to be better than that if they want to be taken seriously. Losing to the Red Wings on their home ice is not a good look and has Bruin fans rolling their eyes again. They’ve been up and down and have played like a team who will be fighting to reach the postseason as a bottom seed.
Maybe they draw a team like the Maple Leafs in the playoffs and get in their heads. It’s well documented that the Bruins have had the best of the Leafs in recent memory. Talent wise, though, all of the top teams in the Eastern Conference currently have an upper hand on the Bruins.
With the return of Nylander to the Leafs, they just improved an already formidable offensive punch. The Leafs likely wouldn’t make any doubt about it if they meet again. The Bruins have been stationary with a record of 5-5 in their last ten games.
Florida will be hosting their sixth game in a row in Sunrise. The Panthers have running on a treadmill this season, as they are basically in the same spot they were to open the season. They enter tonight at 10-10-3 and are counting down the minutes until Luongo can get back on the ice.
There is a chance he returns tonight against the Bruins. He was holding up well between the pipes, but before hitting the injury report, even Luongo was struggling to fend off the barrage of offence he had to deal with. The Panthers can hope Luongo stays healthy and catches fire, but that may be their only game plan of getting to the playoffs. The root cause of their average team is the lack of support on the blue line. They’ve had too many collapses defensively.
The Panthers have to tighten up, and that begins with Bob Boughner stressing better defence. They weren’t nearly this bad with Gallant directing the ship behind the bench. A younger and healthier Luongo helped as well, but it wasn’t like he was playing like a Vezina candidate to keep the team upright, he was getting help. Head below for our free Bruins vs. Panthers pick.
Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers Pick
Depending on Luongo to save this team is like throwing a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Not to mention the fact that he isn’t going to be able to play a full schedule at his age. Dominik Hasek was one of the rare expectations, as he looked like a 25-year-old towards the end of his career with the Red Wings. Even he got help from Chris Osgood in net. There are two teams worse than the Panthers on defence this season, the Blackhawks and Senators.
With the Panthers allowing 3.56 goals per game, and the Hawks’ 3.68 goals per game, they are in danger of slipping even further. The Hawks at least have an excuse with their elderly blue line. All systems have been a go on offence, though, with 3.24 goals per game to keep them afloat in the 2018-19 season.
The Bruins are the anti-Panthers. What I mean by that is that the Bruins want to grind it out and play tight defence to win games. Getting into wild high-scoring games isn’t really their speciality. 3-1 and 3-2 games are more their thing.
Boston have been strong on the defensive end, as they are 2nd in the NHL with 2.46 goals allowed per game. They’ve given up 2 or less goals in six of their previous ten games. The Bruins have to get going offensively, though. Against the paper-thin Panthers’ blue line, they should be able to match up well here. It doesn’t really matter who is in net for the Panthers. Luongo’s numbers have regressed to a 3.07 GAA and 0.902 save percentage. He was on fire for a few weeks, but eventually the levy will break playing on a team with a putrid defence. The Bruins look like the better option in this matchup in the sunshine state on Tuesday.