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Bruins aim to extend recent success over Panthers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins hope their recent mastery of the Florida Panthers can help them get back on track when the Atlantic Division foes meet in Beantown for Thursday's battle at TD Garden.
The Bruins have lost two straight and four of their last five games, but wins have been easy to come by whenever Boston faces the Panthers. The B's have claimed four straight, six of seven and 10 of the past 12 meetings in this series overall and Florida has lost three in a row and five of six on the road against Boston.
Thursday's tilt is the second of five scheduled meetings this season between these divisional opponents. Boston posted a 3-2 victory on Oct. 17 in Florida, as Reilly Smith scored with 58.7 seconds to play to lift the B's. Former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas started for Florida in that contest, but the two- time Vezina Trophy winner won't get a chance to play tonight in Boston due to a lower-body injury that has him on injured reserve.
Boston is coming off recent setbacks against the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars, but the Bruins haven't lost three in a row since an 0-4-0 slide from March 10-15, 2012.
After dropping a 3-1 road decision against the Islanders on Saturday, the Bruins were dealt a shootout loss by the visiting Stars on Tuesday. Former Boston forward Rich Peverley scored in the fourth round of the shootout to help Dallas earn the 3-2 decision at TD Garden.
In the fourth round after David Krejci shot wide of the net, Peverley skated in on net and buried a wrister between the pads of Tuukka Rask for the win.
Milan Lucic and Torey Krug scored for the Bruins, while Rask turned aside 34 shots.
"Not to take anything away from them but I like to think we're a better team than we showed tonight," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "We just didn't play hard tonight and gave them that win."
Tuesday's contest marked the start of a five-game homestand for Boston, which is just 4-3-1 as the host this season.
While Boston is aiming for its second win in six trips to the ice, the floundering Panthers are trying to halt a season-worst six-game slide. Florida has recorded a point four times during the 0-2-4 slide and lost after regulation in each of its past two tilts.
Florida had a pair of six-game losing streaks during last year's lockout- shortened campaign, but the club last went seven straight without a win during a 10-game slide from March 19-April 8, 2011.
After dropping a shootout decision Saturday in Washington, the Panthers lost in overtime Tuesday against visiting Edmonton. Mark Arcobello scored his first two NHL goals, the second coming on a power play 1:55 into overtime, to lift the Oilers to the 4-3 win at BB&T Center.
Florida forward Scottie Upshall forced overtime with a pair of third-period goals, but tripped Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 32 seconds into the extra session. Arcobello then planted himself in the left circle and hammered home a feed from Ales Hemsky to beat Jacob Markstrom for the win.
Markstrom was beaten four times on 27 shots in the loss and Marcel Goc added a goal and an assist.
"We got into a little giving chances to get chances and that's not the way we play and that's not the way we play when we're playing at our best," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said.
Thursday's contest kicks off a three-game road trip for the Panthers, who have lost five straight as the guest and are 1-4-1 away from South Florida this season.
11/07 10:58:33 ET