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Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers - Game 44 Preview

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Florida: 21-14-8 (50PTS)
Boston: 28-12-1 (57PTS)
Season Series: 1-1-0
Game Time: 7:30 PM EST
Television: Fox Sports Florida, NESN
Radio: 560 WQAM

Tonight is a big night for the Cats. They played a lackluster game against the Penguins on Friday and lost a needed two points. The Panthers have seen their eight point lead on the Washington Capitals evaporate through the second half of December and first half of January. The Caps are now tied with the Panthers and have pushed the Cats to seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers are not playing like a playoff team right now, winning only three of their last ten. Now is the time for the Cats to get it in gear and pick up some wins before the All-Star break. The Cats handed the Bruins a rare home loss at the beginning of December, but the Bruins utterly destroyed the Panthers 8-0 right before Christmas and the Cats still haven't recovered. Tonight is a good chance for them to prove the beginning of the season wasn't a fluke.

More from our Boston cohorts at Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Bruins vs Panthers coverage at SB Nation.
SB Nation Preview.
LBC Game Thread will open 30 minutes prior to puck drop.

News and Notes

Last meeting

The Panthers shut out the Bruins 2-0 in their first visit to Boston in early December, one of a very home losses for the B's in November and December. The Bruins returned the favor by blowing out the Panthers 8-0 at the end of the month.

Last game

The Panthers lost 4-1 to the Penguins on Friday night. The Panthers' effort was lackluster and the first line players were benched for parts of the game, with Kris Versteeg taking only one shift in the third period.

Lineup

There do not appear to be any lineup changes tonight. Brian Foster is still up from San Antonio and word is that Jose Theodore will not dress tonight. The remaining injured non-goaltenders were all skating in non-contact jerseys at the morning skate. Most are believed to be going on the upcoming road trip.

Injuries

  • F Scottie Upshall (hip), 11/10, 6 to 8 weeks
  • F Jack Skille (shoulder), 12/16, at least a week
  • F Sean Bergenheim (groin), unknown
  • F Marco Sturm (concussion), unknown
  • G Jose Theodore (lower body injury), two weeks
  • G Jacob Markstrom (knee), 1/7, 4 to 6 weeks

Healthy Scratches

  • D Keaton Ellerby OR
  • D Erik Gudbranson

Starting goaltenders:

Scott Clemmensen will most likely be facing Tukka Rask. Rask is 3-1-0 with a 0.74 GAA, .975 SV% and two shutouts, including one earlier this season. Clemmensen is 5-3-1 with 2.24 GAA, .929 SV% and two shutouts.

Projected Lines

Forwards
  1. Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg
  2. Samuelsson-Goc-Kopecky
  3. Matthias-Madden-Repik
  4. Barch-Santorelli-Bradley
Defense
  1. Campbell-Garrison
  2. Jovanovski-Gudbranson/Ellerby
  3. Kulikov-Weaver