NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 4th (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (23-31-7) at Boston Bruins (38-17-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins aim to build off their first victory since the Olympic break as they play host to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
The Bruins dropped a pair of contests coming out of the hiatus, one in overtime, before doubling up the New York Rangers 6-3 on Sunday. Boston's road win gave it 81 points on the season, six more than the second-place Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.
Gregory Campbell scored twice to lead a Bruins offense that saw six skaters record at least two points. Dougie Hamilton added a goal and two assists, while Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic finished with a goal and a helper each.
"We just needed to get over that hump," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "Once we scored that first goal, it just seemed like everybody relaxed and we got better."
Tuukka Rask posted 39 saves for the Bruins and has been dominant in his career versus the Panthers. He is 10-1-0 with a 1.08 goals against average, .964 save percentage and three shutouts in 11 meetings, including all three victories this season.
Boston has won six straight and 12 of its last 14 versus Florida overall while going 18-4-2 in the previous 24 meetings. The Bruins have won five straight and seven of the previous eight encounters in Boston.
The Panthers take aim at their first winning streak tonight since claiming back-to-back contests on Jan. 20-21. They snapped a four-game slide on Sunday, rallying past the New York Islanders 5-3.
Shawn Matthias scored twice, including one of four third-period goals for the Panthers. Marcel Goc, Scottie Upshall and Jimmy Hayes all netted goals in the frame as well, while Tim Thomas made 35 saves. Eleven of those came in a spotless third period.
"This is a fun building to play in. You see right off the bat it's going to be a tough game," said Upshall. "Those are always fun to play. We stuck up for each other, we believed in the process and tonight was a big win."
The Panthers halted a five-game losing streak on the road and won for just the second time in their last nine games overall (2-7-0).
Thomas could face his former Bruins team for the third time in his career and for just the second time in Boston. The 39-year-old helped the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and also won a pair of Vezina Trophies and a Conn Smythe award during his tenure with the club.
Thomas has lost both of his previous meetings with the Bruins, including a 6-2 setback in his return to Boston on Jan. 28.
03/04 10:51:11 ET